ADVERTISE ON MY ASS, JUST GIVE ME MY DAMN GAMES
By Woody Wood
January 13, 2012
Time heals old wounds, so “they” say. Anyone who knows me can tell you I tend to give a hearty fuck you to the common “they” and the topic on my mind is no exception. You see this old boy is still bitter for missing out on professional basketball and hockey games in the 1998-99, 2004-05, and 2011-12 seasons, respectively. While this might come across as absurd in an age where a shortage of sports is unheard of, I am a committed fan of competition seeking the maximum bang for my buck (an even stronger desire in these moribund economic times). Truth be told I’m not all that far off from our celebrated athletes, billionaire owners, ego-manic commissioners: we all want our dollar stretched to the max. Thus, I want the money I spend on merchandise, tickets, television, et all to be rewarded with full seasons of play, not this abbreviated or lack of competition. For all the arguing between players and management over numerous issues, money is always and will always be the main ingredient for success, which brings me to my purpose in consuming your valuable time today. Let’s fucking open up advertising on professional sports jerseys and cease these silly lockouts/strikes/buffoonery.
Purists, this is your opportune time to insert all of your bitching about the sanctity of the game, how sharp those NY Ranger Blues or Laker Purp & Gold look, or how the games already have enough adverts. Go on, I’ll wait while you rant. Sure, we have some storied franchises in our leagues with uniforms rich of history and unchanged for seemingly ages – think Cowboys, Blackhawks, Yankees. And yes if you must know I would be aghast if I saw Derek Jeter come up to the plate with an Armani or Goodyear tire logo amidst his classic pinstripes.
However, can we be honest with ourselves? Teams like the Yankees would most likely never do this simply because their organizational coffers are already loaded! Same for the majority of the most valuable (and loved) franchises yet it is not these particular teams and owners with so much at stake.
Look no further than the NBA lockout this year where small market owners and players were the ones clashing over the CBA. Dr. Buss, James Dolan, Jerry Reinsdorf, and Mark Cuban couldn’t care less about the whole issue as their respective teams make bank (that said I could easily see Cuban tossing some ads on Mavs jerseys, but seriously who would really care). For the Charlottes, New Orleans, any Midwest team not in Chicago – slap a Wal Mart, Kroger, DeWalt, Trojan, (insert your choice here) logo on your jersey and suddenly you’ve got a couple more million dollars to play with. Need more money? Toss another ad on there!
This isn’t a novel idea given existence from my otherworldly cranium as European hockey and soccer teams worldwide have been doing this for years. Hell here at home NASCAR remains a popular “sport” and they advertise on everything. Walls, cars, uniforms, gas cans, tires; even the checkered flag now has a damn Sunoco smack dab right in the middle of it. What started as a group of outlaws running moonshine transformed into a nation of wealthy outlaws and hillbillies, rednecks, brawlers and so on. (Sidenote, I love taking shots at NASCAR. Stay tuned for my upcoming article when I drink a full mason jar of peach moonshine and attempt to explain myself/relive the good ol days.)
Major soccer clubs are now selling, at an absurd sum in some cases, tiny sections of the numbers on a player’s jersey for fans to have their photo placed. That’s right, you can pay to have your face on Messi’s back.
How has this not caught on in America?!
We are a nation, a proud one at that, where the advertising dollar is king. Nothing drives the markets or the masses more than this; it is more powerful than our news, politicians, and priests. We also happen to be a nation enamored with sporting entertainment. The world isn’t so dark when the Packers suit up on Sunday night or the Knicks and Celtics square off in the Garden (take your pick Madison Square or Boston). We need our games in good times and bad yet the looming fear of the next play stoppage haunts our dreams, marriages, and fantasy leagues.
Please, almighty gods of the games, bring adverts to the jerseys and peace into our hearts.
For those reasons, and so that I can continue to watch the Bobcats occasionally compete (or try to).