If the Super Bowl goes on as usual, women are expected to make up a large portion of its tv audience. Female viewership of the Super Bowl is growing by leaps and bounds, although advertisers haven’t exactly reached out to the growing ranks of women fans.

Between 1975 and 1986, the high point for Super Bowl ratings, the female audience more than doubled, to 36 million from 16 million. That brought the adult female audience up to a whopping 45.6% from 35.5%. The men increased in raw numbers too, from 29 million to 43 million, up 32%.

Last year, San Francisco’s 55-10 rout of the Denver Broncos led to the weakest overall numbers since 1981. Yet of the 7 million more adult viewers in 1990 than in 1981, 5 million were women.

“It’s not so much the guys getting together and watching the Super Bowl anymore,” says Brian Homberg, consumer information coordinator for Coca-Cola, a major tv advertiser.

Advertisers haven’t capitalized on the growing female faction of the audience because each of the last five Super Bowls also has drawn between 35 million and 43 million male viewers. The game remains “an excellent vehicle” to reach men, says Rob Doughty, director of communications for Gillette. Last year, Gillette ran three ads to introduce its new Sensor razor; production was increased 30%. A Sensor ad is scheduled to run again during Super Bowl XXV.

“This year we expect to get 73.4% of all the men and women who are likely to shop for an Audi type of car in the next year watching the Super Bowl,” says Audi spokesman Joe Bennett.

The key numbers, he says, are that nearly 70% of Audi purchasers are male. And, according to Audi’s research, 47.4% of all men ages 25 to 54 in the U.S. watched the 1989 Super Bowl.

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