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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Fans Hold Baseball to a Different Standard

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times compares the Spider-Man promotion to what other sports do routinely:

Baseball is held to a higher standard than other sports. It can slap signs on every wall, but it cannot sell on-base logos without an outcry. The National Hockey League has let teams paint corporate logos on their ice for more than a decade without being viewed as a greedy sellout.

Golfers, tennis players and bowlers wear apparel festooned with logos meant to be seen by fans, and Nascar will put a sponsor's name on virtually anything.

Sandomir also notes that MLB "is not considered by sports business experts to be as sophisticated a marketer as the NFL," and quotes Denver sports marketer Dean Bonham's summary of how MLB mishandled the situation:

If I were going to put ads on bases, I would have employed a strategy that is best defined as 'crawl, walk, run,'" said Dean Bonham, a sports marketer based in Denver. Placing Spider-Man ads on bases, he added, "was like going from being sound asleep to a full sprint."


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