Friday, November 21, 2008

Advertising in Sports

Sports advertisements has become more prevelant in the recent years with major corporations buying stakes in sports teams as well as stadiums to have their name associted with the culture of sports. For example Disney owned the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and AOL Time Warner owned Atlanta based sports teams in the Thrashers, Braves, and Hawks.
In Disney's case, they had a whole marketing plan for the Mighty Ducks. They were hoping by releasing the Mighty Ducks Movie, sweaters and tickets of the team would be swiped off the shelves immediately. They were wrong.

Now what is the present and the future state of Advertising in sports

GM place, Philips Arena, Rexall Place, TD Banknorth Garden, Bell Centre - these are just samples of arenas named after major corporations. Looking around major sports teams in North America, probably 90% of the teams play in stadiums named after corporations. In hockey the iconic Maple Leafs Garden and Montreal Forum has been replaced by Bell Centre and Air Canada Centre. At least the new Yankee Stadium is keeping its' name.

Superbowl, the cultural phenomenon in the United States has many entertainment values on several levels. Besides the game itself, the half-time show and Superbowl Ads are always heavily anticipated. Companies are willing to spend $2.6million dollars for a simple 30second spot during the game. These ads are incredibly creative and it begs the question, what is the relation between sports and advertisements when millions of dollars are exchanged for a 30second commercial

Advertisements in baseball
Remember back when Spiderman 2 was about to release and MLB was about to have ads of the movie on the bases. Baseball, the most traditional game in North America was about to take a huge leap to the right wing. The deal eventually fell through in part to the dismay of the traditional fans. For once the little people had a say and stopped the corporations from doing whatever they want. I just think that this event is just foreshadowing the inevitable mass advertisements in baseball.

Just recently, Olaf Kolzig and Mike Smith (goaltenders for the Tampa Bay Lightning) used their masks as billboards for the upcoming movie SAW V. The creativity was beyond my imagination. I thought ads would be on hockey sweaters or even along the ice before the goalie mask. It made perfect sense however. Whats next, goalie pads, blockers, and gloves painted for advertising? Imagine this, Luongo's pads, mask, blocker, and glove is painted in bright red and yellow with the McDonald arch all over it. Well, what do you know, Luongo signed a $50Million contract with McDonalds just to put these ugly yellow arches on his red equipment.

Red Bulls New York. Yes that is an actual soccer team in the MLS named strictly after a corporation. Doesn't seem like such a bad idea. Although it might seem ridiculous, but there are far worst team names out there and this is definitely an easy way to have your company name part of the sports culture. Just look at the Yankees, the team itself and the NY logo is already a brand. The Yankees brand. Don't laugh now, this can happen to your favorite sports team. Boston Celtics to Boston Coca Cola - has a nice ring to it.

I think in the future, we will be basking in stadiums filled with advertisements from jerseys, seats, floor, ice, and whatever you can think of. It will be so part of the norm that no one will have second thoughts about it. Can you imagine an NHL rink without advertisements along the boards now? In a consumerism society we are living in, its a win-win situation for everybody regarding advertisements. The teams are receiving revenue from advertising companies - Us consumers are the pack of sheeps that purchases whatever these social elites are telling us to buy - and these major corporations are making more money from sales of their items to us.