Do you ever wonder if the marketing machines behind professional sports franchises make fans stupid? Or are professional sports fans already stupid, and the marketing machines give fans exactly what they’re asking for?
I was thinking about this while covering the Yankees beating the Twins (yet again) earlier this week at Target Field. Between almost every pitch, the Twins blasted some type of music over the stadium sound system or tried to entice a chant out of fans by playing some other type of sound effect. During every between-inning break, something silly like kiss-cam or a dance-off party played on the stadium video board.
It’s like the Twins didn’t think their fans had the mental capacity or attention span to pay money to attend a baseball game and actually, you know, watch the baseball game. Part of the beauty of baseball is the downtime between pitches and breaks between innings. You can follow and enjoy baseball while still chatting with friends or explaining the game to your 10-year-old son or daughter.
It’s hard to do any of that with yet another T-shirt toss (shiny objects!) going on or a song (wow, noise!) playing that tries to coax the audience into participating in some sort of generic sing-a-long.
I’m picking on the Twins, but the Packers haven’t been much better in this area the last couple of seasons. I haven’t been going to Packers games for very long, but even from when I first started (2007) to now, I’ve noticed a drastic change.
During the playoff win over the Vikings last season, I don’t think 10 seconds went by without the Lambeau PA announcer screaming at fans to get loud, or some type of gimmicky chant/song was played over the sound system to entice people to do…something, I guess.
It shouldn’t be this way. There are plenty of sports fans who are fans of the actual sport and the game being played on the field…right? Or am I naive and out of touch? Do the fans who attend today’s sporting events — even Packers fans — need all of these silly bells and whistles that have nothing to do with the actual game to keep them entertained?
A little bit of nonsense is fine. Go ahead and play the Go Pack Go! sound effect often. Sing “Roll out the Barrell” before the fourth quarter. I’m not trying to say that the stadium sound system should remain totally silent at all times.
But don’t beat it into the ground and cheapen the entire experience. Garbage like the G-Force pregame ritual, Seven Nation Army intro and the piped in sounds of old heavy metal songs to try to rile up the crowd between plays need to be removed from Lambeau.
That kind of stuff is acceptable at a minor league baseball park or Arena Football game, but not at the greatest sports venue on planet Earth.
For some reason, the Packers gameday brass thinks stuff like this enhances the gameday experience. It doesn’t. It drags it down. It makes it annoying. It’s distracting.
Packers fans have had the good fortune to watch one of the best teams in football for the last 20 seasons. Don’t distract us from the quality of what’s happening on the field on gameday by treating us like idiots with everything that’s happening off of it.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- Just like the Super Bowl season in 2010, several Packers are playing for a new contract this season. Will the desire to get paid coax big seasons out of guys like B.J. Raji, Sam Shields, Jermichael Finley and Evan Dietrich-Smith? I don’t know if I subscribe to the “contract year” theory — the theory that players play better when they aren’t signed for the following season — but I don’t think it hurts for certain guys to have a little extra motivation, either.
- Acme Packing Company asks which team do you hate losing to the most? For me, it’s the Bears. Whenever the Packers lose to the Bears, it’s usually a ragged and ugly game filled with a bunch of penalties and fluky plays. When the final score is displayed, I always wonder how in the hell the Packers just lost to that horsebleep team. I’m guessing the Vikings will be at the top of a lot of people’s lists. Yes, I’m pissed when the Packers lose to the Vikings as well — mainly because Vikings’ fans have the collective IQ of an empty Mountain Dew bottle full of dead mosquitoes — but sometimes when you lose to players like Adrian Peterson, Randy Moss or angry old-man Brett Favre, you just tip your hat and try to get the next one.
- Jacob Westendorf at Packerstalk.com asks if the Packers can afford to have Randall Cobb as their primary returner. Sure they can, if he’s head and shoulders above the next guy in line for the job. In a perfect world, Cobb would not be the primary return guy, but unfortunately, the world is not perfect. We’ll see if anyone steps up to take the job in training camp.
- Brian Carriveau opines about the lack of depth at safety for the Packers. I agree with everything Brian says. But if I had a quarter for every time I was worried about guys I’ve never heard of being able to step in and play for the Packers if called upon, I’d have a stack of quarters piled higher than the new south end zone addition at Lambeau Field. Worrying is what fans like me do. Making sure the Packers have good, quality young players that add depth to the roster is what proven GMs like Ted Thompson do.
- If you’re as sick of the offseason as I am, be sure to check out this handy offseason survival guide from Dan over at Packerpedia.com. My personal favorite is No. 9.
Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense
- This long piece about how to win in Washington is a great read if you’re a media nerd like me.
- Profanity is getting smarter? Obviously, the author of this piece has never attended an NFL football game (or sat next to me on my couch while watching the Packers).
- I guess typewriters are becoming cool again. Ok…..
- RIP Matt Bourne (aka the real Doink the Clown).