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).
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .
10 thoughts on “Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived”
Your story has some truth to it but also is has a fault. The Packers are a unique team situation. When fans go to stadium to watch a game that is why they are there. But here in lies the fault. This is the assumption you make about all venues. Fact is in many places not everyone there is a fan. Some are there to accompany a fan and others for other reasons. Yes to a sports fan this can be an unthinkable concept but not every one is a fan. so to boost the experience of those there who are not fans teams have spent much money trying to entertain them so they will have fun and come back. Not every team has a waiting list for season tickets and they have to work hard to sell them. every non fan counts as much as the fan. I have known plenty of guys who went to baseball games for the scenery and not the game.
I do understand that. I still think it’s overkill and has to annoy at least a few non-sports fans.
what is being witnessed at stadiums is nothing more than evolution in the attempt to guarantee seats have people in them.Whether they are ‘true’football fans isn’t on the priority lists for attendance reasons.Here is a paragraph of how Pete Roselle felt about SB1 and a main cog as to why you get what you get today at the stadiums.
“Apparently, cheap tickets weren’t enough to convince Southern California sports fans to spend the afternoon of 15 January 1967 cheering on teams from faraway Green Bay and Kansas City. Fewer than 62,000 fans were in attendance when the game kicked off on that first Super Sunday, leaving vast swaths of empty seats all around the LA Coliseum (which could accommodate crowds of nearly 100,000). Television cameras tried to frame their shots to avoid showing the empty seats, but it proved impossible to track the football through punts and field goals without revealing that the upper reaches of the stadium were largely vacant. Twenty years later, Pete Roselle remained bothered by the 1967 game’s poor attendance; “Go back to the first Super Bowl,” he said, “and all I can remember is 30,000 empty seats.”
It was then,that more was needed to attract all to the games via famous singers to do the National Anthem (Diana Ross) for example.
The point is,that no matter how stupid,mundane things may be for some,what has greatly aided this game we love,is the ability to get the fan to sense they are more than and will be offered more than just being what amounts to looking like a cartoon crowd in the stands.
Even to this day,the odds of the TV viewer remaining tuned in on a game that has thousands of empty seats is not probable,though the play of the team is part of the failure.
The live game experience is more than just the field play and Roger Goodell is confirming and expanding what Pete Roselle himself knew long ago.
I’m fine w/ making the Super Bowl into a giant spectacle and blowing it out. Nothing wrong with that.
But do non-fans really sit around and say, “Golly gee. I really want to go back to Lambeau Field because that G-Force cheer was really cool. And you know what else? The PA announcer screaming ‘First down!’ every time the Packers got a first down was awesome!”
I don’t think crap like that brings any fan into any stadium anywhere. But I’m probably naive.
I agree with you, Adam. Not only has the noise and the BS dominate NFL stadiums but it has permeated major college venues as well. My wife and I are Iowa alum and, while we like to attend at least one game each year in Iowa City, each year it has gotten worse. The constant replays on the widescreen scoreboards, the incessant blaring from the PA announcer and frequent promotions and advertising make attending a home game increasingly unpleasant.
I also think that the PA systems at sporting events are overused. It reminds me of those ridiculous morning radio shows. I went to an NBA game a few years back (2+ hours of my life that I will never get back) and by then end of the game my friend and I were embarrassed to be there. I am not a child at Chuck E. Cheese Pizza. I don’t know who to blame – attention spans, dwindling crowds (maybe the outrageous ticket prices are more of a factor than the occasional lack of sound from the PA system, eh?), a culture that is suffering from decades of under-education, etc., but I can say I don’t care for it.
Maybe more people would show up if Every Single Transaction made at these events didn’t feel like robbery. High ticket prices, gouged at the parking lot, ripped off at the vendor, and so on – at the end of the day it’s not just the money spent but the feeling that every person around you is trying to rip you off. It’s not a good feeling and it doesn’t bring fans back for more.
I agree to a certain extent, but at the same time those gimmicky chants and crowd-pumping maneuvers could help increase the homefield advantage by keeping the energy up.
I compare what’s going on in stadiums today to reality TV.
Reality shows like “Cops” and “Survivor” were cool when they first came out. Then every other show was a reality show, most were garbage, and it dilluted not just the few good reality shows, but all of TV.
To me, the more silliness that goes on during sporting events, the more sports seems like a circus side-show than an entertaining form of athletic competition.
Have not been to a Packer game in four years so I wasn’t aware they were trying to emulate “The Today Show ” idiots who cheer on command like a bunch of monkeys (sorry monkeys…) What a shame, I quit going to NBA games because of these jacked up shenanigans. Leave that crap for the “top-forty radio stations and teen-age girls.
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