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GoDaddy Grand Canyon?

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The Grand Canyon sky walk. Photo: http://gatetoadventures.com/

Sports marketing is firmly ensconced in the fabric of sports spectatorship all across the world. The marketing of recreation activities has also gained increasing importance. Clearly this is a trend that will continue to impact sports and recreation management in the years to come (Blackman and Green, 2016). But – how far will this go?

Christiano Ronaldo in a jersey with a Fly Emirates logo. Photo: sportslook.net/
Christiano Ronaldo in a jersey with a Fly Emirates logo. Photo: sportslook.net/

Common understanding of how marketing works has penetrated into the depths of even the average sports mind – to the point where sports spectators accept the bombardment of media messages as jut part of witnessing a game. Accordingly, sports marketing is a trend that is now fully integrated into our social consciousness. New research suggests this will continue over, at least, the next 5 – 10 years (Blackman and Green, 2016).

The WNBA has unveiled new uniforms for its 20th season. Photo: SI.com
The WNBA has unveiled new uniforms for its 20th season. Photo: SI.com

Back to how far will we go – the WNBA recently adopted part of the European sports marketing model, following suit after one other US professional sports league – the MLS – to predominately display corporate sponsors on player uniforms.

Aug 17, 2013; Carson, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo (18) makes a save during the game against Real Salt Lake at the StubHub Center. Galaxy won 4-2.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 17, 2013; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo (18) makes a save during the game against Real Salt Lake at the StubHub Center. Galaxy won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

And Adam Silver, the current NBA commissioner, has predicted the NBA will follow suit before 2020. Yet corporate logos on jerseys is a widely recognized practice throughout the world. Futbol (soccer) teams have been doing it for quite some time – as standard practice.

Could NBA jerseys soon be home to ads like this one? Photo: Reddit
Could NBA jerseys soon be home to ads like this one? Photo: Reddit

But where will it end? At what point will corporate image actually reach into the recreation experience? I mean, picture it – you and your family, or you and your friends, or both/all – you pile in your ride and you cruise out to the Grand Canyon. We’ll step alongside other visitors at the Grand Canyon, and spend a few moments to view the awe-inspiring and breath-taking beauty of the Grand Canyon. But this is not just any Grand Canyon. This is the GoDaddy Grand Canyon. Perhaps as we travel about we’ll encounter other popular recreation places – such as the Lockheed Martin Niagara Falls, the Met Life Everglades, the Toshiba Jackson Hole, the Home Depot Mojave Desert, the Citigroup Hubbard Glacier, or the Walmart Black Hills?

References

Bell, D. (2014). “Ads will be on NBA Jerseys.” Sportslogos.net: March 20, 2014.

Available: http://news.sportslogos.net/2014/03/20/silver-ads-will-be-on-nba-jerseys-within-next-5-years/. Retrieved: November 10, 2016.

Blackman, R. J., and Green, M. (2016). Sports and Recreation Management Trends in New England. International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 3., No. 2, February 2016. Available: http://www.ijessnet.com/vol-3-no-2-february-2016/

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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