Many of those viewers often find themselves knowing little about the rules and strategy of the game. Now four women from Canada are hoping to change that.
Sisters Jackie, Kim and Nicole Sartor, along with their sister-in-law, Michelle King, have developed a CD-ROM - officially licensed by the NFL - called Football Made EZ.
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It all started when Jackie felt frustrated when she watched football games with a bunch of guys.
"My ex-boyfriend was a football fanatic," says Jackie. "I didn't understand football. I would ask a question, they'd be like, 'Hold on, wait until the play is over.' When the play is over, I'd be like, 'What happened?' They're like, 'You need to learn football.'"
She did learn about football, and later taught Nicole, Kim and Michelle the rules and strategy behind the game.
b>"We thought this would be a great way to help people understand football. We started putting it together," says Kim.
While doing market research, they learned that 40 percent of NFL fans are women.
They also found that "a lot of women will try watching a sport, like football, for instance, but they might not like it because they don't understand the game," explains Jackie.
So they founded a company, Angel Lake Multimedia, based in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Their CD-ROM features animation, narration and music and explains everything about football, from hand signals to statistics. Once they put it all together, they approached the NFL.
Getting a highly coveted NFL endorsement is a rare privilege, as 97% of the companies that go to the NFL get turned down.
Angel Lake introduced the football CD into the marketplace with an ad in Sports Illustrated. They also packaged their CD-ROM with a Wilson football, and Wilson's sporting good stores put the product in their stores.
Football Made EZ is targeted for women and kids, as well as "for men who are afraid to ask for directions," says Jackie, Angel Lake's marketing director. It sells for $39.95.
The entrepreneurs have developed a whole line of sports CD-Roms to explain soccer, hockey, baseball and golf.