8.23.2010

once upon a baseball game: the corporate takeover of our brains continues

As wmtc readers know, I have a problem with advertising. My problem stems more from quantity - from volume - than anything else. Our visual and aural landscape has been taken over by corporate advertising. Trying to escape from constant exhortations to buy, buy, buy informs much of what I do.

Nowhere does advertising saturation bother me more than when I watch baseball. It makes sense: baseball is my greatest escape and relaxation, and it is more heavily polluted by corporate advertising than any other venue I see.

Fenway Park, Boston, 1942

Ads have always been a part of baseball - in old photographs of ballparks, there are always ads on the outfield wall - but in the last couple of decades, following the trends in the larger culture, baseball has become thoroughly permeated with advertising. I explored this in one of my better posts, "invasion of the brain snatchers", and again in a brief follow-up, "i tried to watch some advertising and a baseball game broke out". For some context for this post, I recommend reading those older posts.

Fenway Park, 1941

Fans often note that the amount of advertising in baseball isn't as bad as in, say, auto racing, where the cars are plastered with ads. I disagree; in terms of what a viewer actually sees, baseball is every bit as bad. Just because - so far - Major League Baseball uniforms and helmets are free from advertising doesn't mean we aren't subjected to just as much advertising during games, maybe more.

During one Red Sox game this summer, I documented just how pervasive this trend has become, by writing down every instance of corporate advertising that I saw or heard. Each time I saw an ad onscreen, I recorded the name of the company and how the ad was seen (that is, where in the ballpark or broadcast).

The ads fall under a few different categories, and I made up codes for each:
OF: outfield wall or on walls along the foul lines
DO: dugout - the dugout walls are papered with ads and there is an ad on the railing that prevents players from tumbling into the dugout while making a play
BP: the dreaded behind-the-plate advertising that began in the 1990s
ODB: an ad you see when the camera shows the on-deck batter, i.e., who is batting next
B2B: This pitching change/linescore/player's stats brought to you by... or an inning or an entire game brought to you by...
DTN: ads that are disguised as donations to Red Sox charities
BPN: bullpen - when you see relief pitchers warming up, there are ads on the bullpen walls
IG: the worst of all, the in-game ad, when some action of the game is linked to a particular ad. There are two such in-game ads during this Red Sox season, one whenever a batter reaches second base on a double, and another for the entire fifth inning.
And some miscellaneous ads that didn't get categorized.

Note that I did not include regular commercial breaks - these are only ads that viewers see during games. Also, photographs are for illustrative purposes only, so you can see what behind-the-plate or outfield ads look like. The photos don't correspond to the list of ads for each inning.

In addition, many of these ads are seen repeatedly. For example, the behind-the-plate advertising is seen during every single pitch, plus replays; I only noted each ad once per inning. Similarly, while there have always been ads on the outfield walls, the televised game now includes many more replays of at-bats and plays than it did 40 or even 20 years ago - which means that the ads are shown many more times, too.

* * * *

Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays, June 29, 2010

T1 [top of first inning]

pitching stats B2B Mercedes Benz dealership
BP Lumber Liquidators [twice]
BP Soccer at Fenway
BP Best Buy



OF Redsox.com
OF Ninety Nine
ODB Volvo
ODB Safe and Secure [insurance company tagline]
DO MetroPCS
DO St. Pete Clearwater
OF Soccer at Fenway on sale now
BP Giant Glass [twice]
BP JetBlue.com
BP Soccer at Fenway
B2B [list read by announcer] Southwest, Subaru dealership, Dunkin' Donuts, Ford dealership, AT&T, Kia dealership, Kayem franks


DO Xfinity
DO BankofAmerica.com
OF CVS Pharmacy
OF Waste Management
"The Amica [insurance] Pitch Zone"
OF MasterCard
Linescore B2B Southwest

[This was a 21-pitch inning, so the behind-the-plate ads were seen a minimum of 21 times, plus replays.]

B1 [bottom of first inning]

Inning B2B Southwest.com
Starting lineup B2B local Chevrolet dealership
BP BankOfAmerica.com/redsox [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway on sale now
ODB Safe and Secure
OD Xfinity
DO BankOfAmerica.com/redsox
OF Covidien [health insurance]
B2B Eastern Bank
ODB Ninety-Nine [restaurant]
OF Safe and Secure
OF Waste Management
OF Poland Springs
OF Coca Cola
OF Granite City Electric
Pitch count B2B Southwest
B2B Southwest

T2

B2B Southwest
BP Wise [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
IG Bruins
OF Stop & Shop
OF Solar Blue
OF JetBlue.com
OF Wise
B2B Covidien, F W Webb, Southwest.com


[There were 10 pitches thrown in this half-inning, so the behind-the-plate ads were seen a minimum of 10 times, plus replays.]

B2

B2B Foxwoods [casino], Southwest.com
BP Dunkin' Donuts [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
"Key matchup" B2B Acura dealership
OF Waste Management
OF Ninety Nine
food delivery to broadcast booth: D’Angelo Pizza
wallpaper in booth: Dunkin' Donuts
OF Foxwoods
OF Freecreditscore.com
"Amica pitch zone"
IG: "New York Life Safe and Secure" [batter reaches second base]
OF CVS pharmacy
DO Xfinity
DO Ford
OF Waste Management
OF Amtrack
OF Boston Globe
OF 99
OF CVS
OF W B Mason
OF Giant Glass
DTN CVS donation for every extra-inning game
DO Xfinity
DO BankOfAmerica.com/redsox
"Amica pitch zone"
B2B Southwest.com

T3

B2B Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
B2B Southwest
BP Hess Express and Hess [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
"Amica pitch zone"
OF Giant Glass
OF Jordan's Furniture
OF Stop & Shop
OF Waste Management
OF 99
OF Poland Springs
OF Volvo
OF Safe and Secure
DO Xfinity
DO StPeteClearwater.com
DO MetroPCS
DO Ford
DO BankOfAmerica.com/redsox
B2B Southwest.com




B3

B2B Cumberland Farms
BP Giant glass [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
Waste Management
Wallpaper behind player interview: Dunkin' Donuts
Injury report B2B FCHP [health insurance]
DO Xfinity
"Amica pitch zone"
B2B Southwest.com

T4

B2B Coca Cola, Southwest.com
BP Foxwoods [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
IG Lumber Liquidators - onscreen and audio
OF Covidien
OF F W Webb



"Amica Pitcher of the Week," vote at NESN.com or at the Yawkey Way team store
OF Granite City Electric
OF Solarblue.com
OF CVS
OF Giant Glass
OF Amtrak
IG General Motors - on screen during at-bat
B2B Southwest.com

B4

B2B Football at Fenway
BP 99 Kids Eat Free When Red Sox Win [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
OF Foxwoods
OF Budweiser
"AT&T trivia question"
OF Masslottery.com
OF MasterCard
OF CVS
OF Gulf
DO Xfinity
DO Dubble Bubble bucket
OF Waste Management
IG Boston Globe - between batters
OF Stanley
OF Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
OF F W Webb
OF Granite City Electric
OF Gulf
B2B Southwest.com

T5

B2B Southwest.com
BP Hood [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
IG "The 5th inning is the Eastern Bank inning"
IG Eastern Bank on player stats for each batter - repeated several times
IG Eastern Bank between replays - repeated several times
OF Foxwoods
OF Budweiser
B2B Southwest.com

B5

B2B Eastern Bank
B2B linescore B2B Southwest.com
BP Gulf [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
"The 5th inning is the Eastern Bank 5th inning"
Pitching line B2B Lexus dealership
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
IG Home Depot - onscreen and audio
IG Uno [restaurant] – onscreen and audio
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
[announcers chat about going to Uno on their way home]
OF Solarblue.com
OF Soccer at Fenway
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
OF Covidien
OF W B Mason
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
IG DTN Eastern Bank donation to Boys and Girls Club of Lowell, Massachusetts
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
AT&T trivia answer
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
B2B Southwest.com




T6

DTN Hess donation for home runs
BP Verizon Wireless [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
Pitching line B2B Ace Tickets
IG All-Star voting at redsox.com
OF Waste Management, 99, Safe and Secure, Volvo, Poland Springs
IG NESN
OF JetBlue.com
OF MasterCard
OF Mass Lottery
B2B Southwest.com

B6

OF F W Webb - After coming back from F W Webb commercial between innings, camera holds on F W Webb OF ad
B2B Southwest.com
BP Benjamin Moore Paints [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Minolta
"Amica pitch zone"
"Game break B2B Toyota"
[Showing highlights of another game, different ads in the other ballpark...]
OF Solarblue.com
OF MasterCard
League leaders B2B Olympia Sports
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
IG Twisted Tea - onscreen and audio
Call to the bullpen B2B Ford dealership
BPN Minolta
IG Benjamin Moore - onscreen and audio
OF Budweiser
OF CVS - seen several times on replay
OF W B Mason - seen several times on replay
"Amica pitch zone"
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
B2B Southwest.com

[This was a 28-pitch inning, so the behind-the-plate ads were seen a minimum of 28 times, plus replays.]

T7

"Red Sox Gameday Live" B2B Olympia
BP Bigelow Tea [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Minolta
OF CVS
"Amica pitch zone"
DTN Dunkin Donuts
OF CVS
OF Stop & Shop
OF Covidien
B2B Southwest.com

B7

"Extra Innings Live" B2B W B Mason
Linescore B2B Southwest.com
BP Giant Glass [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Konica Minolta
DO Xfinity
DO Ford
DO Dubble Bubble
OF CVS
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com

T8

B2B Eastern Bank, Sports Authority
BP Under Armor [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
Linescore B2B Southwest.com
OF F W Webb
OF Granite City
"Red Sox Final" B2B Granite City Electric
OF Giant Glass
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
"Amica pitch zone"
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Giant Glass
BPN Konica Minolta
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
OF Amtrak
OF Boston Globe
OF 99
Linescore B2B Southwest.com
B2B Southwest.com

B8

B2B Southwest.com
"The road ahead" [schedule preview] B2B Safeco Insurance
BP BankOfAmerica.com [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Giant Glass
Post-game show B2B W B Mason, Granite City Electric
"Catch of the Day" B2B D’Angelo
IG D'Angelo "the official lobster roll of the Boston Red Sox" - onscreen and audio
"Aspen Dental play of the game"
Post-game show B2B W B Mason, Granite City Electric
"Futures at Fenway" B2B Xfinity
B2B Southwest.com

T9

B2B Bermuda Tourism, New England Toyota dealers, Olympia Sports, Sullivan Tire, Southwest
BP Ace Tickets [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Giant Glass
Post-game show B2B Granite City Electric
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
Game summary B2B W B Mason, Xfinity
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
NESN.com/redsox
"Amica pitch zone"
DTN IG "Save of the Game" B2B Bob's Furniture
B2B Southwest.com

[Red Sox won at home; no bottom of the ninth]

30 comments:

redsock said...

MLB has yet to put advertising on players' uniforms, but they tried to put ads for a Spiderman movie on bases in 2004. They actually scrapped the idea when fans protested.

When teams have gone to Japan to play a couple of games, as Boston and Oakland did in 2008, there have been ads on the batting helmets (Ricoh, I think).

MLB also had ads for the World Baseball Classic in 2006:

ESPN: "Five teams, including Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Venezuela and Panama, will have advertising on its uniforms ... Japan, China and Chinese Taipei will wear advertising for Asahi soft drinks on their jerseys. Venezuela will wear the logo of Maltin Polar malt beverage, while Panamanian players will wear Cable & Wireless Panama on their uniforms. The Japanese players will be the only team that will wear logos on their helmets -- video game company Konami has paid for the placement. ...

... no major American sports league has logos on their jerseys, other than that of the team and the manufacturer. ...

In the Caribbean Series, which concluded last month, baseball players on the winning Venezuela team sported Coca-Cola logos on the back of their jerseys and advertisements of Cantv's Movilnet, a Venezuelan-based telecommunications brand, on their sleeves and batting helmets."

***

L-girl said...

MLB has yet to put advertising on players' uniforms, but they tried to put ads for a Spiderman movie on bases in 2004. They actually scrapped the idea when fans protested.

Fans howling in protest and MLB's reversal was like a landmark! It forced MLB, however briefly, to listen to fans.

I also think the Spiderman incident has held a certain line against ads on unis, helmets and above-the-title. It's "World Series presented by MasterCard," not "the Mastercard World Series," the way golf, college football, tennis and other sports have gone. I think that fan outcry is the only reason we haven't seen that yet.

Amy said...

Wow, that is depressing. I am so fortunate that I don't even notice that stuff most of the time. I never noticed Xfinity on the dugout rail, for example. It's mostly just white noise to me, whether visual or aural. The only ones I really notice are the ones behind the plate and on the outfield walls. But even those are just a blur...I couldn't tell you what the ads are for.

It's awful, but on the other hand, how else can the teams afford to pay the high salaries the players command on the market today? Ticket prices are already too high, and the food prices are ridiculous, so advertising is critical to revenue raising, I assume. Of course, we could argue against the high salaries and the corporate profits, but... isn't that as American as baseball and apple pie? :)

redsock said...

It's awful, but on the other hand, how else can the teams afford to pay the high salaries the players command on the market today?

I think you are about the answer part of the question yourself.

Ticket prices are already too high, and the food prices are ridiculous

Yep.

Ish said...

Great post!

*Long Comment Alert*

The advertising in auto racing is impressive, though. The entire "sport" directly depends on direct advertising at each race. Each race team has their driver, crew members, owner, and an entire "race shop" where the cars are built from the ground up. Each race shop employs between 100 and 200 people, and that is just one race team.

Each car has a primary sponsor, secondary sponsors (on the side of the car or the back), then numerous tiny sponsors that litter the sides of the car near the front wheels. They also carry all of those sponsors on their firesuits. There is advertising inside the cars, on the car in odd areas where on-board cameras are used, etc.

It's also very noteworthy to the fans and media what companies sponsor each driver and when they change. There was a press conference attended by top members of the NASCAR media recently that announced a driver was now going to be sponsored by Budweiser next year, and they unveiled a race car with the new Budweiser paint scheme and had people talk about how this will be a great partnership, blah blah blah. It is news when sponsorships for race teams change.

In interviews the drivers are instructed to name drop their sponsors as much as they can. I remember one driver would be interviewed and say, "Our Ford Quality Care, Ford Credit, Ford Thunderbird was very fast today." When they thank sponsors it sounds much like a Hollywood awards show. "I'd like to thank Sprint, Budweiser, Coca-Cola..."

***

My sister works in NASCAR as a model/spokesperson/promoter/walking billboard/fan-driver liason and her main job is to interact with fans during race weekends and promote Sprint products. A small, but important part of her job is to be in victory lane after the race and stand next to the driver so she can be seen in the camera shot during the post-race interview. People know the Cup Series is sponsored by Sprint - the Sprint Cup Series - but they still want her and her Sprint firesuit to be seen by the millions watching.

The intricacy of advertising is mind-blowing.

L-girl said...

It's awful, but on the other hand, how else can the teams afford to pay the high salaries the players command on the market today?

That's what we're led to believe, but I don't buy it.

Without all these ads polluting the game, the teams would have less revenue, and they might not be able to spend as much. So there'd be less profit to go around. Pretty simple.

But I say "might" not be able to spend as much. We actually don't know, because there is nothing compelling the owners to be honest about their income. We don't know how much ad revenue pays for player salaries and how much just enriches the team's coffers.

There is revenue from ticket sales, regular advertising between innings, merchandising, cable rights, etc. Who knows how much these in-game ads pay salaries or how much is just down to greed?

Of course, we could argue against the high salaries and the corporate profits, but... isn't that as American as baseball and apple pie? :)

I will never argue against high salaries, as long as the owners are raking in billions.

I see your smiley face, but corporate pollution of the game is no joke to me. Saying something is "just the way it is" is a cop-out. Because "it's the American way," there's no limit on how these corporations can own the game?

People talk about rich players ruining the game of baseball, but to me, if anything is ruining it, it's this.

L-girl said...

Ish, very interesting info, thanks for fleshing that out for us!

In that scenario, the sponsorship is really necessary, similar to athletes who have no other funding for training and touring.

Whereas in baseball, it's just pure profit. These companies contribute nothing. They only pay the team in order to associate themselves with that team, to try to get fans to buy their products. Very different.

Amy said...

The smiley face was intended to indicate it's pretty futile to fight against corporate greed in today's culture, not to make light of your concerns. It was sort of an indication of resignation.

I agree that we don't know how much goes into the owners' pockets versus the players' pockets, but to me, the player greed is as bad as the owner greed: everyone wants to make as much as they can. If you accept that players are entitled to get as much as they can based on their market value, I am not sure how it is any different for the owners to maximize their return as well (assuming no wrongdoing) by selling advertising. I don't like it, but I also think the player salaries are ridiculous.

I am not a big fan of the unregulated free market, but I see both the players and the owners working the market to their fullest advantage, neither one being any more greedy than the other.

Ish said...

In that scenario, the sponsorship is really necessary, similar to athletes who have no other funding for training and touring.

Exactly. You also think about the companies who manufacture auto parts for cars - Goodyear supplies tires (the company has a group whose sole purpose is manufacturing the right tire for each race), Sunoco supplies the racing fuel...

The cars are either Chevy, Ford, Toyota or Dodge (because in the early days, teams would buy a car and convert it into a race car) - they're the same cars but with slightly different engines and slightly different designs, and those manufacturers have racing divisions (like "Ford Racing") who work closely with the teams and supply them with materials to build the cars.

The tickets are still very expensive (the most recent race seats 160,000 people and the cheapest tickets cost $109 each), food is expensive, etc etc. However, that's 36 races in that one league compared to 2,430 baseball games in one season.

L-girl said...

Amy, I understood the meaning of the smiley face (but thanks). I strenously object to many things that people say are inevitable, and spend much of my life fighting fights that are supposedly futile (war, poverty, workers' rights), so that particular argument holds little for me.

I don't consider trying to get top value for your talents greed. The players are the game. Without their talents and hard work, there is no game.

Of course I agree the salaries are ridiculously high, but no more so than, for example, what many non-talented actors earn to appear in big, expensive movies - and players' careers are much shorter and more fragile than those of big Hollywood stars.

If the owners were willing, first, to open their books - all of their books, including what's hidden in other companies, and second, to cap their own profits, then I would agree that lowering players' salaries might make sense.

But my main point here is that we really don't know if all these in-game ads are necessary. We're led to believe they are, but we have no verification for that. We are only told one figure: player salaries. The rest is obscured from us. So we can't draw a fact-based conclusion.

David Cho said...

For the same reasons you give, I am increasingly disillusioned with college athletics.

In some ways, what goes on in college sports is a lot more insidious. You see schools, advertisers, coaches, etc enriching themselves (a typical coach's base salary starts at 1-2 million, and that does not count endorsements), all from FREE LABOR. The kids do all the work.

College football is just weeks away, and I can't get myself excited any more.

L-girl said...

David, I agree! I suppose the counter-argument goes that the athletes get a free education, but the university enriches itself at a far greater rate than the monetary value of that. I'd like to see Division I college sports drop the pretense that the athletes are amateurs and pay them negotiated salaries rather than scholarships. Never happen, of course, but it would be much moer equitable.

Mike said...

Coming soon: "This session of Parliament sponsered by Canadian Tire for all your hardware needs"

We are the corporation you will be assimilated resistance is futile.

Lorraine said...

This is probably only an urban legend, but I've heard it said that when you watch sports on TV, the signage you see on your screen is not necessarily the same signage that is at the venue, and is not necessarily same signage as other viewers see on their screens.

John F said...

Ooh! I just thought of a great prank. Someone should phone MLB pretending to be an ad buyer for Gold Bond itch cream. They could offer to "sponsor" every instance where a player is caught on camera scratching his crotch.

I would pay money to hear a tape of that call.

L-girl said...

Lorraine, it's not urban legend, but it's not always true, either. On certain national broadcasts - which is not every game - different ads are digitized in for different venues. Sunday night ESPN games or Fox Saturday afternoon games do this.

But most games are broadcast on regional cable networks, and the ads you see on TV are the ads everyone sees at the ballpark, and everyone sees the same ads.

* * * *

John F, quite brilliant! The wonder is it hasn't been done already!

L-girl said...

Mike, more likely to happen with the US Congress, which IS already sponsored!

deang said...

It seems appropriate to mention here that Dave Zirin's latest book is Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games We Love.

L-girl said...

Hooray for Dave Zirin.

Although his niche makes me envious. But thanks for bringing him into the discussion.

RedSoxDiehard said...

Even at the ballpark, we're subjected to more and more advertising now. Not just seeing the additional signage, which just blends into the background now, but I believe they show a commercial or two before the game starts now. We do see on replays of a double that it's "doubles for Dimock" plus there are "sponsorships" of other plays.

This year out on Yawkey Way there's "Comcast Town". My friend actually goes there and wins prizes like keychains and mugs - all of which have logos of TV shows or networks on them - and have nothing to do with baseball. They make you answer "trivia" questions like "Who was the Bambino?" and "Who wore #8?" and "Who is Yawkey Way named after?", the latter two of which actually stumped her friends. She keeps telling me that since I'm good with Red Sox trivia I should go there. I stayed away, saying "It's just advertising." But the degree of difficulty of their so-called "trivia" is just as insulting to me as the fact that they think I'd want to purposely subject myself to their advertising.

RedSoxDiehard said...

My other pet peeve is the FanFoto people. The cheapest photo you can buy off their site is $14.95 (plus S&H of course) for a 5x7. But they walk around saying "Do you want to have your picture on redsox.com?" and then when someone says no, they say, "It's free." Well, yeah, standing in front of a camera while they take your picture is free (for now) but not actually doing anything with the photo. It's one thing when they walk around before the game, because I can avoid them, but what really bugs me now is they walk around in the stands during the game, not just between innings but during actual plays and ask everyone in each row if they want a picture. And when I avoid eye contact and look away, craning to see around them, sitting there with my own camera around my neck and trying to keep score, they'll stand there and interrupt with "Excuse me, hello, excuse me..." until I finally tell them to leave me alone, I'm watching a game. Lately the Red Sox Foundation 50/50 raffle people will do that now too, interrupt people in the stands during the game trying to get people to give them more money.

Sorry for the long post, but this is one of my pet peeves too. I'm going to the game tonight, and I'm going to try to keep track of all the ads we're subjected to during the actual game.

L-girl said...

Diehard, thanks for these great comments, and NO need to apologize! It's always so good to know that other people care about this.

I (of course) also find the amount of advertising that we are forced to see and hear at the ballpark maddening. I don't know if they do this at Fenway - I don't remember - but at Yankee Stadium, they blast ads between innings, at high volume, to the point where you can't talk to your friends without screaming.

So the baseball experience of chatting quietly between batters and between innings is completely lost - because all you can hear is an ad for cars or big-screen TVs or mobile phones.

And, as you say, every stupid trivia contest or game is really just an ad, barely disguised.

johngoldfine said...

RSD--jeezus, that sounds frippin infuriating! "Excuse me" indeed! That goes beyond annoying and into the land of incitement to violence....

I don't like ads or commercials, particularly during the game itself, as opposed to between innings, but I wonder in the end how effective that advertising flood is--and how much just washes over us without leaving any impression behind. That isn't to say that living in an environment where we are constantly bombarded and constantly tuning out is healthy or desirable for either the individual or the public square.

Anyway, today this consumer can visualize 'Gem' and 'Calvert' on the left field wall but is unable to picture any more modern advertising--not that I'm likely to be buying either razor blades or whiskey any time soon.

redsock said...

Laura's post is quoted at SoSH -- and not by me!

johngoldfine said...

So the baseball experience of chatting quietly between batters and between innings is completely lost - because all you can hear is an ad for cars or big-screen TVs or mobile phones.

That part is very hard to ignore, despite my comments in my preceding post....

L-girl said...

Laura's post is quoted at SoSH -- and not by me!

Wow, cool! I guess that guy is a regular reader of yours. Neat.

And I agree with the comment underneath that - the interview with the guy from the women's football league was indeed a new low. TWICE during last night's game, NESN did a split screen for an interview and completely lost the play-by-play. Awful.

L-girl said...

John, I also wonder how effective any of this is as advertising. I figure most people are not reverse-motivated like I am, avoiding buying products from companies whose ads irritate me. A lot of it must be simple repetition. If you are a Sox fan, "who ya gonna call when your windshield's busted?" Some of these brands must seep into fans' brains, especially (I'm guessing) those who are more passive and less aware of the ads.

The photog thing that Diehard describes is quite unbelievable. I would be very hard pressed to be polite.

L-girl said...

Btw, one of the things that drove me away from my former team was the deterioration of the experience at the Stadium.

RedSoxDiehard said...

OK, so with the rainout tonight, I didn't get a chance to note all the between-innings stuff. They don't do commercials between innings at least, but there are a few before the game that weren't there in years past. This stuff is played usually as the pitchers warm up, before the reading of the starting lineups (presented by 99 restaurants) and the throwing of the ceremonial first pitch (often by a big-wig from some corporation who gets mention for having made a donation). Here's the sequence of what they play on the message board:

- "Buy some food/ask an usher if you need help with something" message, sponsored by JetBlue
- Dave Mellor commercial for Scotts lawn care products
- MLB.com ad
- The Dunkin Donuts commercial where Pedroia is jumping trying to get his glove and Papelbon reaches it for him
- MLB Network ad
- Kid Nation (sponsored by Hood) ad
- Baby pictures "welcoming the newest members of Red Sox Nation", sponsored by Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center
- bostonyouthzone.com summer saftey ad with Papi and Menino
- Red Sox Destinations ad
- MLB.com Stand up to Cancer ad with Melissa Joan Hart
- Uncle Sam's Cereal ad

...And all that is from a night where they didn't even play a game!

It also doesn't take into account all the ads that were on the scoreboard while the organ music was playing earlier in the evening. These ranged from straight-up ads, to promos for the Red Sox themselves or NESN, to ads disguised as charities/donations like "Bank of America encourages you to become a Big Brother/Big Sister".

L-girl said...

Diehard, thanks for that! Depressing. Perhaps not as bad as Yankee Stadium or Camden Yards but still completely saturated with buy, buy, buy from us, us, us.