Pink it and shrink it.
Just a few years ago, that was the idea. That's the amount of thought professional sports leagues put into the products they offered their women fans.
They'd just take the popular men's stuff — the boxy t-shirts, player jerseys, hoodies and such — make them smaller and turn them out in the quintessential girlie color.
As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, football's women fans will have the widest choice ever of fashion forward clothes to support their teams in trendy fits and fabrics.
If you haven't been shopping lately for team fashions, be aware: There's been a revolution.
Pro sports leagues have been madly licensing stylish clothes and new accessories to grab more of the multi-billion dollar team fashion market.
All of the big four professional leagues — baseball, football, hockey and basketball — have seen growth in their fem fan base in recent years.
This explains the availability of nail polish in authorized Major League Baseball team colors, maternity tops with "future fan" printed over the baby bump and a footwear plan under development by the National Football League to license stilettos in the same shades as team football jerseys.
"Our women's business has grown twelvefold since 2001 and doubled since 2004," says Tracey Bleczinski, the NFL's apparel vice president.
"For women, shopping is a pastime and an activity. They're constantly looking for what's new. What's trending," she says. Hence the planned entry into team high heels (and wedges and boots). She says 44 percent of NFL fans today are women.
Major League Baseball has the largest percentage of women fans (45.5 percent) of all pro sports, says MLB spokesman Matt Bourne, and "all the sports leagues have recognized there's an opportunity there" to sell them feminine merchandise to support their teams.
Judging from the items on this page, these include rhinestones, fitted Ts, jewelry, totes and, yes, even team logo'd Mediterranean Sea bath salts to calm you after a particularly painful loss by the team whose logo is emblazoned on your chest, cap, ponytail holder and wristband.
"They are a fan and it doesn't make them less of a fan to wear something with some sequins or a little more fitted … a little more glitz and glam," says the National Hockey League's marketing executive vice president Brian Jennings.
"Overall, our women viewers are up 45 percent this season over last," says Lisa Piken, the National Basketball Association's senior director of apparel licensing.
"We still offer the pink if that's what you want (but) the female consumer spoke up and demanded more," says Piken, like vintage washes, foil graphics, unique fonts and glitter prints. "Things that are very feminine," she says.
That female consumer wanted more but she also wanted to find it at stores where she shops for other clothes, like Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Forever 21, J.C. Penney, Target, Destination Maternity, Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom, all of which now carry team clothing. "We're starting to see more and more traction" at major retailers, Piken says.
Fans' annual logo'd clothing spending totaled more than $4.4 billion — just for teams in the MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA — in the 12 months ending September 2009, according to a survey by the National Sporting Goods Association. And women shoppers accounted for 38 percent of that spending, a phenomenon not lost on pro sports.
Attempting to answer the eternal question, "What do women want?," MLB's Bourne says — when it comes to items to show support for their team — "They want products that are specifically geared to them and not an afterthought."