Monday, November 10, 2008
In-Game Promotions Alter How We Watch Sports
Every year, sports fans are subjected to the saturation of excessive marketing during live games, whether its in person or on live TV. Some fans insist this branding blitz started in the early 90's when major corporations financed stadium construction to slap their names on NBA,NFL and MLB stadiums (I.E. Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tropicana Field , home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays) but now they've also put their brand into the game's atmosphere and environment.
For a good perspective, turn the channel to ESPN Classic and watch any game from the 80's or earlier. You'll notice how bland and the broadcast was, with only the score at the top of the screen. While the graphics were lacking, there was also a nice flow to the game and you weren't bombarded with scores,stats and logos. Now it's reached the point where corporate logos are on the courts,fields and even field goal nets (which are imprinted with Allstate's "In good hands" logo.) Every instant replay,pre-game show,halftime show and post-game show is brought to you by a sponsor.
I've noticed the latest trend is to blend the in-game ads with the big plays and fan lingo. The trend spreads wider than pro leagues like the NFL and NBA, it's also prevalent in major college sports. For example, this past weekend, I went to the FSU vs. Clemson game and every time FSU, (the home team) gained a first down, the stadium's widescreen read ."ADVANCE THE CHAINS! Brought to you by Advance Auto parts!" The graphic was followed by a cartoon version of the first down markers (labeled with the Advanced Auto Parts logo) marching down the field.
As a passionate fan, I've conceded the fact that excessive marketing is here to stay, and I might as well sit back and laugh at the latest over-the-top tactics. In fact, while I was booing a penalty called against the Seminoles, I thought of a new ad that would appease frustrated fans.
I want to see Tic Tac Mints sponsor the "Tic Tac Call of the Game", after a personal foul is called for minimal contact or a questionable violation. (Fans call those "tic tack" calls.) Just imagine if a big play was negated or the hometown superstar fouled out of a game on one of those questionable calls by the ref. The PA announcer could introduce the promo: "Fans, direct your attention to the jumbo screen for the 'Tic Tac Call of the Game' ,with the Tic Tac logo prominently displayed before the replay. Fans would rejoice as the replay rubs it in the ref's face. Tic Tac could even partner with ESPN to feature the "Tic Tac call of the week", which could be voted on by the fans.
Between the Tic Tac idea and my recent post about the Pez dispenser,many of you may wonder if I'm more of a fan of hard candy than sports, but I insist that it's a coincidence.
By Matt O'Hern at 10:22 AM | Comments (1)