Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Watching baseball and the ads

I've been on a "staycation" for the past week-plus, watching a lot of playoff baseball on a bewildering number of outlets. EPSN, TBS, FS1, MLB ... there's been at least one game on each of those cable-only outlets this week, and I suspect that a slice of baseball's ratings postseason ratings issues come from there not being an easy answer to the question: Who carries the games?

Most of the regular-season baseball I watch is, of course, on Fox Sports North, followed by ESPN and a bit of MLB. So an intensive burst of baseball on other outlets (there was only one ESPN game) carried a new dose of ads. And some of them, I decided, merited comment.

* A "minor" sponsor on TBS -- my term for a advertiser who shows up once a game, as opposed to those that show up seemingly every other inning -- appears to be Vagisil. My wife tells me it's for yeast infections, which is generally not a male complaint. MLB has been known to claim a stronger-than-most-sports appeal to women, and maybe there's something in the demographic on TBS' broadcasts that works for the product.

Vagisil does have an illicit baseball connection; it is supposedly an effective "foreign substance" for a pitcher inclined to cheat.

*FS1, which has been largely spinning its wheels in its stated intent to catch EPSN as an all-sports outlet,  is spending a ton of money mimicking the worst aspect of the Worldwide Leader -- obnoxious opinion fests. We got this summer on FSN way too many promos for the likes of Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd, and Dick Bremer must have an inexhaustable supply of dignity if he has any left after touting these braying donkeys all summer. The FS1 announcers have been spared those readings, but man, there are a lot of ads for these shows anyway. The thing is ... they barely register on the Nielsen ratings, if at all.

* On FS1 -- specifically on the Giants-Cubs series -- there's been a showing a game of an ad about a San Francisco ballot measure, a tax on soda. It's a curious thing to see advertising on a local election get what is purportedly a national airing, but ...

  • A sizable minority of the viewers of those Giants-Cubs games are probably in the Bay Area and that the games are at least competitive there with the network offerings;
  • I suspect the ad rates on FS1 are lower than for, let us say, the ABC affiliate in the Bay Area;
  • Michael Bloomberg, the billionare and former New York mayor who paid for the ad promoting the tax, probably doesn't mind paying to promote the idea to a wider audience. For his purposes, it doesn't have to be targeted.

* We haven't had any games yet on Fox itself; I think that will come in the next round. Fox annually picks a new show and promos it so intently in October that baseball fans are pretty much sick of it by the end of the World Series. With the exception of "House," and maybe "The O.C," getting picked for this treatment by Fox is a kiss of death.

Off what we've seen on FS1, the loser of this year's Fox promo derby is "Lethal Weapon."

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, it's generally the case that the more a show or movie is pushed in advertising, the more the producers know they have a stinker on their hands. The good stuff doesn't need to be so heavily promoted.