PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers have known for years their fan base included countless women -- that was evidenced by all the pink official team jerseys they sell and the hundreds who attend their female training camp each summer.
Yes, more than 300 women spend money each year to go through a simulated day of Steelers training camp, complete with blocking and running drills and a trip to the training table. The club also sponsors a Football Knowledge for Women classroom-type course.
Now the Steelers have proof that, when it comes to building a female fan base, Pittsburgh does it better than any other NFL market.
According to a Scarborough Sports Marketing survey of 220,354 residents in 75 United States markets conducted last year, Pittsburgh has, by far, the largest base of NFL fans who are women.
Pittsburgh is the runaway leader, with 34 percent of the women living in the Steelers' market identifying themselves as fans. Green Bay was second with 29.4 percent, but no other market surveyed had even one-quarter of its women identify themselves as fans.
Buffalo was third with 23.7 percent, followed by Cincinnati (22.8 percent), Kansas City (22.4 percent), Jacksonville (21.7 percent), Baltimore and Boston (21.5 percent) and Denver, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Washington, D.C. (20.9 percent).
Nationally, the average was 16 percent, which means that Pittsburgh has more than twice the number of female pro football fans than the average market, based on the survey's results.
Obviously, all those Terrible Towels inside Heinz Field aren't being twirled only by men.
Among men, Pittsburgh was second only to Green Bay in the percentage of fans -- 38 percent of the men in Green Bay identified themselves as fans, compared to 35.1 percent in Pittsburgh. Also in the top 10 were Jacksonville (34.9 percent), Boston and Denver (33.3); Buffalo, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Philadelphia (32.1) and Cincinnati (31.5).
Pittsburgh also placed in the Top 10 in percentage of fans who are college graduates (No. 4, 17.5 percent), percentage of fans with at least one child in the family (No. 6, 23.8 percent) and percentage of fans who are between the ages of 18 and 24 (No. 7, 7.2 percent).
The results were not surprising, at least given the long-standing loyalty of Steelers fans -- the team has sold out every non-strike home game since 1972.
According to a survey also taken by Scarborough Sports Marketing before the February 2006 Super Bowl in which the Steelers beat Seattle 21-10, Pittsburgh was the top market for fan loyalty in the NFL, with 64 percent of all consumers saying they were "very or somewhat interested" in the NFL.
The leaders in other categories in the latest survey:
» Fans between the ages of 18 and 24: Green Bay, 8.0 percent.
» Fans who are college graduates: Washington, D.C., 20 percent.
» Fans who are African-American: Washington, D.C, 12.8 percent.
» Fans who are Hispanic: Miami-Fort Lauderdale, 12.1 percent.
» Fans who earn over $75,000: Washington, D.C., 30.7 percent.
» Fans who earn over $100,000: Washington, D.C., 21.4 percent.
» Fans in households with at least one child: Green Bay, 25.8 percent.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press