During pre-season 49ers games on KPIX, San Francisco, Toyota on-screen messages appear when action occurs in the “red zone”: inside the 20-yard line when teams are pressing for a score.
This isn’t a small messaging overlay. “Toyota Red Zone” appears in big and bold red letters, taking up virtually the entire screen. Can you even see the players? While the message is on the screen, it’s hard.
This started during the recent 49ers-Baltimore Ravens game. And the reviews are in: Everybody hates it.
What a surprise. Hey, don’t be greedy. If the ball sits on the 20-yard line, the messaging only appears on the defensive side of the field.
All this is a portent that more on-screen messaging, either electronic or in actual signage (including uniforms), will continue to make its way onto TV coverage of the major sports: not just the NFL, but Major League Baseball and the NBA.
The NBA, for one, is mulling the idea of becoming the first sports league to include marketing/sponsorship messages on uniforms.
During the World Cup, we witnessed on-screen marketers’ messaging. It’s something TV soccer broadcasts have done for some time. With the growth of that sport, viewers are being conditioned. But the soccer messaging can be viewed as somewhat muted compared with KPIX’s experiment.
No worries -- there is little to no chance that on-screen Toyota-like messages will make their way to regular season games. If I were KPIX, I would assuage viewers in an on-screen tweet which might appear at the same time on the lower third of the screen: “Hey, this is only pre-season. Okay with you?”
Sports TV advertisers are hungry, ready to dangle hefty premium pricing for bigger marketing results.
Why? Live programming increasingly has become a bigger premium attraction -- as more users time-shift shows or are distracted by other media.
That is why networks will continue to shell out more money in sports license fees. If higher carriage/retransmission fees aren’t possible, networks will need more sponsors buying in. And they’ll have to give up something for that.