Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Do Boxaerobics, Fitness Combat Classes Attract More Women as Spectators to MMA?

Originally published March/2013:

Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga and many other self-defense, combat-oriented classes have been part of the American fitness scene for years.  Over the last few years, many other boot camp, attack strength and boxing style classes have also been absorbed into the fitness genre.

Many of these newer fitness classes are marketed to women for aerobics workouts.  Women of all ages can be seen in gyms boxing and kicking their ways to getting into great shape.

Women are now much more accustomed to the positioning of a fighter than ever before in American history.  They can bob and weave, punch and uppercut, sidekick and frontkick with no problems, left hand or right hand, left foot or right foot.

The strategies for boxing and kickboxing are learned as the workout grinds from start to finish and women have a much better appreciation for the skills than past generations may have had for them.

Ronda Rousey is making a lot of noise in MMA now as her star has risen to the top of the MMA food chain.  There had been questions whether women should participate in MMA.  The chief in charge of UFC, Dana White, had his own doubts about women's participation.  Rousey has erased those doubts for White and for a good percentage of MMA fans.

Women are not competing in MMA to the same rate as the men are, but competition is flourishing as more women than ever are submitting their bodies to the sport.

What effects are all the fitness boxing, kickboxing classes having on participation and on spectatorship?  It would seem women are a demographic open for exploration in these sports.

Boxing is already an Olympic sport for women.  So, the respect has been achieved for sure, but the masses are not gearing up to get in the ring, necessarily.

When it comes to spectatorship, women can make the difference for the future of all these contact sports.  In order for the sports to thrive, television ratings must be high enough to pull in the sponsorships.  Are women watching enough to make a difference?

Or, is there still a significant gap between men and women when it comes to the violence in these full-contact sports?  Women more than men have typically strayed away from watching violence.  But, not all women fit the stereotype and certain entities know this well.

The NFL understands deeply the role of women in its viewership and advertises heavily to them.  Gladiatorship is becoming less and less personal.  Quality entertainment gets the consumer's attention.  For some women, quality entertainment for them is the same as for men.

How soon before the threshold has been breached and MMA becomes mainstream?  Will women be the ones to push it over the top?  Also, how soon before Boxing makes a big comeback?

It may be that with widespread participation from women in combat fitness and boxing aerobics classes in the most popular gyms in the U.S., the television ratings will soon get the bumps they need to further legitimize MMA and to renew more interest in Boxing.

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