- 12/07/2008, 11:53AM ET
Bigalke said 12/07, 11:53 AM
You thought you'd clicked to ESPN... but there's a bunch of walking billboards playing soccer. Advertising on jerseys has been a longtime part of sports throughout Europe and the greater world. Soccer players... rugby stars... even cyclists become salesman for a wide variety of products...
Is this a good thing? Honestly, sports have become such cash cows in recent years that professional sports stadia are already themselves little more than billboards. Classic stadiums can sell their naming rights; every inch of available blank space is earmarked for ads.
Yet for some reason Americans want to consider their athletes' jerseys sacred, unfit for advertisement. But the players play the same, whether they have a city name or a company name across their chests...
Advertising on jerseys is nothing more than sound business practice. Teams like the Yankees and Lakers don't need this revenue stream... but for small-market teams this income could be a lifesaver. Allowing advertising, remember, does not REQUIRE teams to put on an ad. For American sports leagues, there should always be freedom of choice...
Somebody of Note said 12/07, 08:58 PM
Leagues and teams get plenty of revenue. The "weak sister", the NHL, rakes in almost as much dollars of revenue as the number of Viagra pills in stowe's pocket when he goes to see T-fo's mom. Even still, the extra revenue isn't a bad thing. All in all, though, it's just not worth it.
For one, it would cheapen the game. One of the best parts of sport is its matching of pure athletes against each other. These are the teams fans have grown up rooting for, and loving. Will they really want to see the Toronto CBCs against the Pittsburgh Hondas? What's next, the U.S. Olympic Ford All-Stars?
This leads into my next point. In terms of attracting new fans, will they really be willing to root for the Pepsis? Fans have already been disdainful of corporate interference in their team, so what's to say that they'd be willing to pledge their hearts to a team that a shamelessly promoting a certain product?
Also, one must consider the wills of the players. Nobody should be forced to advertise for something they don't believe in. Why would a non-smoker be forced to wear a Marlboro's logo?
You said it yourself: the stadia are already giant billboards. Let's leave the athletes out of it.
Bigalke said 12/07, 09:14 PM
Just look at the established model for how uniform sponsorship already works: soccer. Manchester United is NOT the Manchester AIGs; Real Madrid is NOT Siemens Madrid. Team names don't change, nor do color schemes, traditional designs, or anything else. All that would change is the addition of a corporate logo on some blank jersey space...
Which leaves your point as blank at Peachy's stare as he tries to discern the logic I lay before you. In professional sports, tobacco advertising is already banned. But even were this not the case, a professional is a professional because he gets paid to do something. People in all walks of life make sacrifices daily in their dress code for a paycheck...
"Pure athletes"?! Professional sports have already been conglomerated with corporate America. Does a corporate logo affect performance? A uniform is a uniform regardless of what is printed on its surface. Either an athlete performs or he doesn't. Sponsorship does not change strikes and balls, tackles and touchdowns, saves and goals. All it does is provide another revenue stream... which could prove the lifeblood of teams rooted in small communities
Somebody of Note said 12/07, 09:38 PM
You say things would not change, but that's absolutely wrong.
Take the Toronto Maple Leafs, for instance. What's the single biggest symbol of the organization? The Leaf logo.
Now, let's say you take out the Leaf and put in an ad for Kit Kat. Are they still the Maple Leafs? The old axiom goes that you're playing for the name on the front instead of the name on the back; would this not mean that they're playing for the Kit Kats?
Professionals get to choose which companies they endorse, and which they don't. Do you honestly believe that athletes have never turned down an endorsement? Saying that because they are professionals they will blindly sign up for any company cheapens YOUR argument. Forcing athletes to endorse a certain company is, dare I say it, unconstitutional. It's the First Amendment, Freedom of Assembly (also known as Freedom of Association).
The point still remains that fans will not want to identify with a team that's clearly smeared with corporate fingerprints. In small communities, the lifeblood that you speak of so fondly will be moot if fans refuse to come out to games and support the companies that may or may not have outsourced their jobs to China.
Bigalke said 12/07, 10:17 PM
Look at how MLS (except New York) has worked around getting sponsorship on the jersey without disrupting the team logo -- jerseys can be placed on the lower back of the jersey, under player numbers. It could be put on a sleeve. Permitting the option to place a logo on a jersey does not automatically mean that the maple leaf (or any other current logo) would be displaced. You're fishing for easy points... but you're not breaking in newbies anymore...
Professionals choose who they endorse. However, has a player ever in the history of sport had to play for an owner he or she didn't wish to? If a player doesn't wish to play for a team just because that team is sponsored by Kit Kats (perhaps he's a diabetic), he has options: play for the team, demand a trade, or refuse to play. EVERYTHING in life has options...
Fans identify with corporate sponsorship all the time -- they'll sit in Gillette Stadium or Comerica Park or the Air Canada Centre to watch their favorite teams. They'll go to any number of corporate bowls. Being sponsored by Kit Kat does NOT make you the Kit Kats...
... and asserting otherwise only makes it sound as though your brain is clogged with candy...
Somebody of Note said 12/07, 10:51 PM
Time to break out my BGM2008...
MLS Jerseys don't have huge corporate logos on the front? Have you not seen the LA Galaxy's Herbalife, Toronto FC's BMO logo, or Real Salt Lake's ubiquitous Xango? Don't forget the New York RED BULLS. With the other teams, I didn't notice any advertising, period, on the jerseys. Those who have it flaunt it.
And are you seriously proposing that a player who is forced to do something unconstitutional be equally forced to root up his family? At this point it seems like your arguing in favour of imposing the will of the owner on the livelihood of his subordinates. That's pure totalitarianism, which no sane individual (who wants to keep their individual rights) can support. He may have options, but it shouldn't come to that.
The point about the stadiums is hardly valid. When you go to a football game, are you going to a Patriots game or a game at Gillette Stadium? A Cavaliers game or a game at the Quicken Loans Arena? You go to see the team, not the stadium. And people who are victims of the downfall of the auto industry are not going to be thrilled about seeing a team that is represented by Chrysler. The teams are truly stabbing themselves.
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