As each country playing in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) is taking full swing, so does the evolution of sports advertising. Recognizing an incredible opportunity to make money, many teams decided to bench subtlety and sell ad space on the temple of the player’s helmet. Team Japan is sporting an Asahi banner while the Dominican Republic flies a Claro bumper sticker. Oddly enough, Team USA opted not to take on this additional revenue and kept their helmet clear. Although they held off Anheuser Busch this time, the question is, just how long will major American sports hold out on keeping their uniforms clean of advertisements? If the old cliché of “there is no such thing as bad publicity” is true, than shouldn’t teams be capitalizing on their players screwing up? Here are a few good fits:
Philadelphia Eagles – Pedigree
John Daly – Deep Eddy Vodka sweet tea and Mike’s Hard Lemonade join forces to create the alcoholic Arnold Palmer
Any NHL team – Colgate
New Orleans Saints – ACE Bandages
Dallas Cowboys – Absolut Vodka
Any MLB team – Clearasil
Meta World Peace – Abilify logo in his haircut
American culture is a sucker for good advertising and I am no exception. The right commercial will sell me on an item at the drop of a hat and traditional banner ads will inevitably wear me down in the long run. Golfers are allowed to pimp their clothing out as much as they want, sporting logos to their wallets content. NBA players are already toying with logos in their haircuts. MLB is a step ahead and put a ban on players getting tattoos with corporate logos. NASCAR is just one big advertising slut that won’t stop until every inch of the cars have a logo. The evolution of sports advertising is happening right in front of us and we have no other option than to watch.
Marketing titans know the power of sponsorship advertising, but other than Nike and Adidas printing tiny logos on pro and college team jerseys, uniforms have remained clean in the big 4 American team sports. It won’t be long until they sell out like teams at the WBC. I would take the Vegas odds for under five years before we see Budweiser on the Milwaukee Brewers helmets.