By Nicholas Burmeister (AKA Padres Haiku)
My kneejerk reaction was to hate the new Sycuan sign on the batter’s eye. Not so much because I was married to the numbers on top, but because I’m some what opposed to selling every square inch of the ball park as an advertising space. I understand the small market revenue generator system and that the team needs to sell that space in order to make money, and I suppose I’d rather see an ad than have ticket prices go up even more. All this being said I still hate that sign.
Not because of any disdain for having an advertisement up there but because the Padres could have done better. Sycuan Casino has been a major benefactor for the Padres for awhile. They shell out cash when the team is awful, which cannot be said of all park sponsors. For that, fans should be grateful. However, I have to believe that in an All Star Game year, a year when the AL East teams are coming to San Diego, and a year where many of the teams in the NL West will compete until late in the season, the ad space on the batter’s eye would go to a local casino as opposed to a huge multi-national corporation. Again, this is no slight to Sycuan, I’m sure that the casino paid a pretty penny. Considering the inevitable ire Padre Fans would shower upon Mike Dee and the front office, they HAD to have sold/leased that space for a handsome sum just to lessen the consequent PR headaches.
Would InBev have paid more? Probably. They already have large ads around the park. What about a bank or an insurance company? Toyota pays for ads in the park, so does Sony and Wells Fargo. These brands wouldn’t jump on an opportunity to put their logo in such a prominent location?
It sounds strange because I’d rather not have anything up there, but if the team is going to sell it-sell big. Make it worth it.
Maybe I’d feel different if they had sold to a larger company. Fans might have been more upset if that space said Oculto Beer or United Airlines. It might be the case that they preferred to sell to a local group as opposed someone awful like Constellation Brands, or Wal-Mart to make it seem like they care. But if that means losing money to the tune of several million dollars they made a mistake.
Fans either don’t care or care too much. By now, Mike Dee knows anything he does, save for giving away free beer, is going to get a significant amount of the fan base angry (even if he gives away free beer, if it’s not the right beer, fans will be angry). Taking the numbers down would make fans angry. Selling that space would make fans angry. Keeping things the way they were and charging more at the gate would REALLY make fans angry. There’s really nothing that the front office can do to monetize that space and placate the fans, so take the money. The fans that get the angriest aren’t going anywhere. Those fans are locked in, dyed in the wool Padre fans that will complain, but stay loyal. I guarantee no one would be on the fence about getting season tickets, see a giant Michelob Ultra sign and say “Nevermind!” Likewise, no one is so turned off by a Sycuan sign they don’t buy tickets (except the Barona Casino operators, they might get pissed). Might as well sell to the highest bidder, take the money, and run.
Follow Nicholas Burmeister: @padreshaiku