While watching the US/Japan men’s soccer match this morning, it was refreshing to see almost zero advertising near and on the pitch. The only exceptions I saw were the small Nike swoosh on the US team jerseys and the small Adidas logo on the referee jersey. You don’t realize all the advertising that is normally splattered all over the place until it’s not there. No advertising on sideline dasherboards, player jerseys, the bottom screen crawl, the scoreboard inset, and on signage throughout the stadium.
And no verbal advertisements either. My ears have absorbed at least three lifetime’s worth of hearing “this portion of the match brought to you by Budweiser”.
It made me laugh out loud, when almost immediately after the match ended, they went back to the NBC studio, and with a McDonald’s golden arches logo prominently in the background, studio host Bill Patrick proudly proclaimed that the previous sports presentation was brought to you with limited commercials by McDonald’s, and he punctuated it with “I’m lovin’ it!”.
Hopefully all of the Olympic coverage will have this limited amount of advertising.
Unfortunately, watching sports today, whether in person or on television, has become more of a constant series of commercials with a sporting event going on in the background. Not all that long ago, major league ballparks didn’t sell advertising on the perimeter walls. Some sporting events also have an almost continuous verbal bombardment of commercials as well.
It’s no wonder our society has trouble paying attention, since we are brought up having to filter out numerous distractions in order to keep track of what we are supposed to be doing, whether it be driving, having a pleasant conversation, or watching a sporting event.
Next time you go to a sporting event, here’s a new game to play, count the number of advertisements, visual, verbal, and otherwise, that you are exposed to during the course of your evening. See if you can get into the hundreds.