Nightly News | September 08, 2013
>>> the nfl is paying a lot of attention to a new force in the game, one not on the field. nbc's janet shamlian on how women are being recognized as football's new power players.
>> with the start of another football season -- fans are as fired up as their tailgating grill. once the province of the boys club , football fandom has a new look.
>> how much do you think you spend at nfl merchandise?
>> thousands of dollars. thousands of dollars.
>> you might call heather and her friends, the league's most valuable. women have flipped the switch on football, now 45% of nfl fans. one-third of ticket holders and it's her hands on the family wallet.
>> a jersey. and a shirt for myself and a tervis tumbler .
>> it used to be slim pinkens, either pink it and shrink it or buy a guy's jersey. today women's clothing is the fastest growing segment of sales. did you ever think women's merchandising would be this big?
>> yes, we have such a great base of female fans and we always felt we were underserving them and not giving them what they need.
>> not any more, this stadium store is boutique-like with soft lighting and plenty of choices. the merchandise in the stadium is just the first down in the nfl 's game plan for fans, female fans, the league is going to them. glossy ads in women's magazine with models and actresses in the latest looks from the sidelines and the staffs of nfl team more closely resemble their fans.
>> how do you think being a father has changed you?
>> this woman is a reporter for the houston texans .
>> the texans have a group of female fans they're trying to bring them into the fold. not participating in the games but every aspect.
>> there's fantasy football , almost six million women played last season.
>> i played fantasy for four years. this is my fourth season. i actually for the first three seasons came in second place all three seasons and i was the only female in the league.
>> the new face of the football fan. now a big player in the nfl . janet shamlian , nbc news, denver.