After a decade and a half of franchises failing and relocating, the 1936 season was the first in which every NFL team remained the same city as the previous year. While that indicated some level of stability, the league's attendance challenges were such that the Boston Redskins, hosts of the league championship game due to winning the Eastern Division, moved the game to New York’s Polo Grounds, hoping the Redskins-Packers game would draw a better crowd than they would by playing in Boston. Over 29,000 showed up for the championship game, nearly doubling the largest crowd in Boston that year.
Teams took various steps to boost attendance, including the Packers employing a door-to-door sales campaign in August, but the league needed additional efforts given the many empty seats. One tool the league office used was offering free tickets for ladies provided they were accompanied to the game by a gentleman escort who purchased a ticket.
Ladies’ Days at baseball games and Ladies’ Nights at basketball games were common at the time, with most requiring a male escort. In the NFL's case, only select games were eligible for the promotion, and most of those involved the Redskins, Pirates, and Eagles.
Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the NFL's promotion is unknown since it does not appear to have received any media coverage. Overall, the league saw attendance rise 6.5% over the 1935 season to an average of 8,043 per game. Only the Packers game in Chicago saw more than 30,000 go through the turnstiles. The NFL still had a long way to go before it approached the popularity and status of the college game. But, of course, that day would come thirty-plus years later.
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