Sports Marketers Are Making Me Sick

C'mon Guys, Ease up on the Throttle

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Peter Madden Peter Madden
Are you a little tired of the "shove marketing" of sports (as in shoved down your throat)? I can't escape Nascar and Fox trying to convince me this is a really great (and exciting!) sport (I use the term sport loosely). Please leave me alone, guys. I get it. The cars go zoom, the colors are very bright, and apparently the winner drinks a ton of milk and does a backflip (that I assume is sponsored by Barnum & Bailey) after a race.

Ho-freaking-hum. It's like the networks are swinging a giant pocket watch in front of every viewer at home trying to convince us that, again, this is a great sport to watch. All I see are colorful logos spinning around a track. I think Nascar has some competition in the form of washing machines everywhere. Just without the milk (though I heard that can be good at getting out stains).

But they're not the only ones. Take Major League Baseball. Did you also get sick on yourself during the home run derby? All of the players' children lined up near the batter's box. The kids in the outfield diving for the balls. The league might as well have hung signs that said "MLB is Family Friendly!" or "Many of Our Players Don't Do Steroids!" And the first thing that one of the dopey announcers says: "Baseball is back! Revenues are up at every stadium!" I guess I can't fault him for his honesty.

Trust me, I actually like watching my hometown Phillies (oh the phrustrating, phreaking, phestering Phils!). Fellow SAD blogger (and Philly fan) Doug Zanger and I should have stock in Kimberly-Clark from all the Kleenex we cry into season after season, game after game.

Still, you can't hide from the fact that Barry Bonds' big homerun chase was practically crammed down our throats. And Commissioner Bud Selig's pouting with every one of Barry's pops amounted to one big bad soap opera. Let's just skip the fact that when good ol' Barry (and Mark McGwire, etc.) were rubbing special lotions on their collective limbs and taking MLB's TV ratings higher with each homerun, no one was cheering harder -- or looking the other way quicker -- than Bud Selig (hey, is that his real name or did he do some kind of sponsorship for the good of the game?).

And then there's David "Bend it Like Billions" Beckham and Major Soccer League. Let's face it. His people have been trying to shove the Posh and Becks brand down U.S. pipes for too many years. Nothing's worked, so why not bring him across the pond to see what he can stir up. His wife's show is apparently a trainwreck, and I don't see Beckham fever hitting anyone in my time zone. But I could be wrong. Maybe Nascar and the MLB could do some cool cross-promoting with him? Or wait until he (inevitably) does a really bad movie and strike then?

In advertising, sometimes you have to dance with what brung ya. But when your partner is shoving (NASCAR), anabolic (MLB), or pandering (MLS), it all seems a little forced. Don't you think?

*Special note to any reader who really enjoys Nascar: Yes, I'm sure it is a real sport. No, I would never have the guts to go around a track at 200 miles per hour in a colorful suit. And yes, I'm probably best suited to play badminton with my cat. And I'll hand this to you: Milk is a lot more natural than the super cream that makes baseballs fly.
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