COUNT THEM IN | More women than ever express interest in sports | #sports | #elderly | #seniors
Not only do women fill the seats at games, they’re spending billions to show their love for their favorite teams.
HOUSTON — Over the years, you’ve probably seen plenty of ads that suggest women would rather be doing anything than watching the game.
“I’m not listening because I’m like, ‘What?’” laughs Brandy Betancourt.
If you can’t tell from her Zoom setup, she is a pretty big sports fan. So are Debbie the Texan and Janvi Oza. All three women represent the 46 percent of ladies who like sports.
Debbie the Texan found her passion via her daughter Alli.
“She’s super obsessed with football,” Debbie explains. “Once the inception of the Texans came about, she said, ‘Hey, mom, let’s get some tickets.’ I said, ‘That’s a great idea.’”
The rest is history. Now Debbie is one of the most recognizable Texans fans out there.
“I love representing my Texans anywhere I go. Any chance I get to talk Texans, I’m talking Texans,” she says. “I could bore you to death talking Texans football.”
That means she occasionally runs into trouble on social media when someone tries to mansplain the sport to her.
“A lot of men try to argue with me on Twitter, ‘Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ I kinda do, but I’ll just let it slide,” says Debbie.
At the end of the day, she says she’s a Texans fan through and through. She’s loyal to the team and to other Houston sports, including the Astros and Rockets.
During her time in the stands, Debbie says she’s noticed more women filling the seats.
“I like that,” she says. “A lot of ladies are out there and not just with their husbands. They’re with their girlfriends.”
Like Debbie, many of those women are outfitted in Texans gear with plenty of team memorabilia at home. Studies estimate the amount women spend on sports is in the billions. What about for Debbie?
“Oh, gosh. Thousands. Thousands. Yeah, thousands,” she chuckles. “Quite a bit.”
I get the same laugh from Brandy Betancourt when I ask how much she spends on tickets, gear and the like.
“Yeah, it’s a lot. Sometimes I sit and think, ‘We’re going to put our kids through college selling all of it off,'” she says. “We could probably buy an SUV. A nice SUV that drives itself.”
It helps that her husband Lee is passionate about Houston sports too. They went to an Astros game for their first date.
“The first time we went out to dinner, I think our entire conversation was about high school football,” Brandy remembers.
High school was when she fell in love with football, but she was already a fan of baseball and basketball, thanks to her aunt and father, respectively.
“I just enjoy having someone to root for, the attitude and the spirit when you’re in the stadium,” says Brandy. “It’s just the collective camaraderie.”
That’s why she tunes out the sexist messaging that women don’t care about sports.
“We do,” Brandy stresses. “We care a lot.”
University of Houston student Janvi Oza cares enough to want to make sports her career.
“I wanted to be a sports reporter because I love being able to tell the story while the story is happening right in front of my own eyes,” she says.
Oza was a little late to the game. Sports weren’t something her family watched much of. So it wasn’t until she started paying attention to her middle school football team that something clicked. Oza explains once she discovered football, she knew she wanted to work in the sports field, but wasn’t sure about reporting until her junior year of high school.
“These athletes work so hard for their special moments on the field. They’re celebrating that moment on the field with the fans, their coaches and the team,” says Oza. “I have that special honor to be able to share his story and his message.”
While in school, she’s working as a sports reporter for CoogTV and just recently joined the Houston Texans as a Battle Red assistant.
“Girls like me who are watching the game, they see the impact women are making off the field and on the field,” says Oza.