The Miami Dolphins announced last night that Sun Life Stadium has a new name after a sponsorship deal was sealed with the Southeastern Division of Proctor & Gamble. Tampax Corporation -- the nation's leading distributor of feminine hygiene products -- now plans to aggressively market season tickets to a female demographic.
The sponsorship deal -- which will result in the stadium being renamed "Tampax Bowl" -- is being hailed by NFL officials as a major move to win over female fans, who already comprise 40 percent of their audience. They point to a recent Harris poll that shows women named football as their favorite spectator sport, besting basketball and baseball.
"We want to reach out to women who often feel alienated by sponsors targeting the male demographic," said Marilyn Connors, a league spokeswoman. "This will provide a welcome reprieve from the beer and car ads that dominate our broadcasts."
Tampax officials are well aware that women are tuning in in ever-growing numbers. "We feel there is already a built-in audience we can immediately tap," said Scarlet Shields, a spokeswomen for Tampax. "And I think more girls would like watching sports if they just tried."
Sun Life Financial reportedly pulled out of a contract deal with the stadium last week, although the reasons are unclear, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
The change marks the third time the stadium has been renamed in the past year, and fans' reactions are mixed. A small group of men gathered in the parking lot this morning to protest.
Barry Toefunk, a 59-year-old Miami native, was dressed in an oversize Dolphins jersey. He banged a football-shaped bongo drum and slurped Jack Daniel's from a flask. In his hand was a large blue sign that read, "Tampons are for pussies!"
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His wife, Maude, seemed embarrassed.
But others, mostly women, hailed the new name as "progressive," "feminist," and even "one giant leap for womankind."
Perhaps the most notable reaction came from newly signed Dolphins wide receiver Dick Sprokett. "I love it!" he says. "They sound tough, like someplace the Greeks would hold war games or something. I can't wait. Once the hitting starts, there will be blood," he said, pumping his fist.