Saturday, October 2, 2010

Billboard spat isn't about aesthetics

The 2,800 square foot billboard is
intended to dominate the view down
the right field line from Target Field.
So ,,, the folks who run the Minnesota Twins are peeved with their counterparts a few hundred feet away, because the folks who run the Minnesota Timberwolves are erecting a giant billboard on Target Center overlooking the public space between the basketball arena and the baseball park.

Twins president Dave St. Peter calls it an "ambush" and implies that the sign will detract from the fan experience on the plaza.

What really irritates St. Peter (and, I assume, the Pohlad brothers by extension) is this: The Twins have built a sizable audience, both at the stadium and watching on television — an audience that dwarfs that of the Timberwolves. It is their belief, even if they refrain from saying so explicitly, that if anybody is going to profit from putting the name of a sponsor in front of that audience, it is them.

The Twins certainly do profit thusly. The Twins see no detraction from the fan experience from the giant beer company logo looming over the left field corner, or from the giant triangular billboard atop the seats in right-center, or the ads displayed on the scoreboard or on the outfield fences.

Is the Wolves' move classy? No. But the Twins are in no moral position to complain that the Target Center billboard will uglify the view from the stadium when they're doing the same thing. If the Twins ran a pristine, ad-free venue, I'd be more sympathetic to their complaint. That was never going to happen.

Meanwhile, I took a bit of amusement Friday evening watching the pains Fox Sports North took to avoid showing the view from the ballpark to the plaza lest they expose the still-under-construction sign to the audience.

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