Niners' dismal showing
in last night's preseason opener? Yugo
? General Motors
Whatever the case, the company that paid good money to be associated with the "Red Zone
" for the foreseeable future is Toyota. Fans may not have fond associations with memories of stalled-out drives and blown mid-range field goals. But now Toyota's name will be branded right on the field.
Verily. If San Francisco fans watching last night's anemic 23-3 loss to Baltimore gleaned nothing else, they witnessed the dawn of of high-priced ads being digitally projected onto an NFL field of play
It's a brave new world for garish, ubiquitous advertising.
Baseball players in Japan
and soccer stars in Europe
are, themselves, walking billboards. In the realm of soccer, featuring a prominent ad over your heart where a team insignia might be is, in fact, a mark of professionalism. Even American soccer teams
ape this lucrative trend.
American football and — especially — baseball teams have been slow to follow suit. NFL uniforms feature ads in the preseason
and during practice
, but not the regular season. Placing ads on a baseball player's uniform, meanwhile, would be the surest way to induce a cacophonous round of nostalgic lamentations from aging men enamored with the clean, uncluttered memories of Mickey Mantle's pinstripes.
TV ads have long been projected onto the backdrop behind a baseball catcher,
but yesterday's foray onto the field of play
set a new standard in off-putting graphics obscuring the sports we're ostensibly tuning in to watch.
Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, tepid fans will tune into the Super Bowl merely to watch the on-field virtual ads.
What automobile company's performance best equates with the