If you are reading this post on the evening of February 11th, then you have probably noticed that our entire Front Office Fans site has been taken over by a KY-Jelly wrap ad. This was sold through SB Nation's ad network and has appeared, likely, as part of a much bigger digital media buy from the brand as they attempt to target males 18-49 in the run up to Valentines Day. Although KY is owned by Johnson & Johnson, it does have a very sexual connotation (and use case) and its heavy dose of advertising has raised some eyebrows within the SN Nation community of bloggers.
For us as Project Franchise, it got us wondering about if the fans of a sports team or a website really care what the advertisers or sponsors are - or do they just figure its a part of the way their favorite team or site stays in business, so they are indifferent?!
Personally, I am not at all offended by the KY campaign and actually think it was a smart media play - however I was a tad annoyed recently when the stadium my Miami Hurricanes play in was re-named from "Land Shark Stadium" (named after casual party animal Jimmy Buffet's beer brand) to "Sun Life Stadium" (named after a boring regional bank) as it just sounded corporate and boring. I'm not saying that I'd prefer they drop the corporate name altogether and save money by no longer putting paper towels in the restroom - but there is something about the brand associations with my favorite team that does seem to resonate with me on an extra level.
When we get our team, we will definitely have a variety of sponsors - and will do our best to allow the fans to pick and choose who gets what billboard, but at the end of the day, if they are paying to keep the lights on, I'm not sure its a decision even true Front Office execs "get" to make.