Is our country doomed?
Not because of anything that happened on Tuesday but because of what was unveiled on Friday in Westchester, New York. The Westchester Knicks, D League affiliate of the New York Knicks, unveiled their new jerseys and they include advertising.
You can bet that there are fans and even some in the media who are hiding under their beds in fear of laying their eyes upon an NBA jersey that has been contaminated by an ad.
They should get used to the idea because it’s only a matter of time before NBA players become the 2014 version of the sandwich board. The NBA started experimenting with jersey ads during the 2012 D-League playoffs and no one died or became seriously ill.
The plan was to test it with the developmental league teams to see if fans could handle it. Apparently the rioting was kept to a minimum and now jersey ads are part of D-League uniforms and headed to an NBA team near you very soon.
Seriously, what’s the big deal?
Every pro league depends on advertising for its very existence.
Players in the four major leagues aren’t making mega-millions because of ticket sales. The money comes from TV and we all know where TV’s money comes from.
Minor league baseball and hockey teams couldn’t exist without in-stadium and radio advertising.
What’s so sacred about a uniform anyway?
Teams change them all the time because they know fans are dumb enough to believe that they have to be wearing the latest version of their team’s jersey if they want to be really cool.
There was a time when a man wearing a jersey wasn’t cool at all, but that‘s another story.
Now, maybe the grown men who wear the replica jerseys of their favorite players can get a cut of the advertising money.
Or maybe the teams can give their customers a break on the price of the jerseys if they come with an ad.
Sure they can.
There was a time when ads on the outfield walls were perfectly okay in Major League ballparks. When the new cookie cutter, all purpose stadiums started popping up all over North America in the late sixties and early seventies, it was considered bad taste, if not sacrilegious to defame a wall with advertising.
Then; around the turn of this century, came the new stadiums that were paid for by the taxpayers and named after an advertiser.
It’s not only Heinz Field in Pittsburgh where the scoreboard video screen shows ketchup pouring out of a giant Heinz Ketchup bottle every time the home team enters the red zone.
It happens all over the NFL.
You would have to be pretty old to remember when a pitching change was not brought to you by Pennzoil, Pampers, a local bank or some other advertiser.
Believe it or not, there was a time when the power play in a hockey broadcast was not brought to you by anybody. It used to be just a power play.
So, let’s nip the outrage in the Bud – sorry, I mean bud.
(Hey, maybe I’m on to something. There’s money to be made here. The next sentence is brought to you by ___YOUR AD HERE_______.)
Get used to the idea that, before long, your favorite players in your favorite sports are going to be running, jumping, diving throwing, living billboards.
It’s America. You’ll get used to it.
\ It kind of reminds me of what I think is still the best in-stadium ad in sports history. And its message applies here.
The Atlanta Braves put a gigantic ad on the tarp that was unrolled to cover the field during rain outs at Fulton County Stadium.
It was a picture of a gigantic box of Morton’s Salt with the words, “When it rains, it pours.”