Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in February, but we all know baseball season truly begins in April. And with all of the peanuts and crackerjacks, there remains one staple of the game, mostly unchanged for a hundred years – outdoor advertising.
The truth is, out-of-home advertising is in more places than you realize. Ads can pop up on every block if you look hard enough. But in particular, outdoor advertising in ballparks reaches back into the 1920s.
Outdoor advertising, also commonly referred to as Out-of-Home advertising, has deep roots in ballpark history. You’ve seen the standards – billboard ads next to scoreboards and banners draping the outfield fence, yet most other major sports relegate these sponsors to the hallways and atriums of their stadiums.
Baseball’s spacious feel is more conducive to this form of marketing. Modern outdoor advertising at sports games reflects community’s support or lack thereof. A baseball season is long and not every game is going to sell out, but it might be on television. The minor league team might attract local communities with its tire and restaurant deals, but a team with a regional or national appeal is going to sell its open space with digital ads, fan spectacles or filler content.
Tifos – patterned demonstrations by supporter groups that often include painted murals on cloth are great ways of bringing fans together. While most foreign tifos display team pride, many American clubs, namely basketball and football teams, combine marketing and ad dollars to bring about sponsored unity.
Inversely, tarps depicting players, logos or sponsors often cover up a lack of team pride during lackluster seasons.
Once you travel beyond the diamond, stands, and pennant races, outdoor advertising doesn’t confine itself to roadside billboards illuminating fast food or the nearest gas prices. Often overlooked as neighborhood philanthropy, the artwork on the side of buildings is sometimes no different than the posters at bus stops.
And because more eyes will fall on them, the artwork and the poster design often require the same amount of execution. It may seem counterintuitive, but the billboard, poster or wall art can be more important than social media spending.
In other words, you can see the social media advertisement on your phone or home computer, but you’re not (or should not) going to look at it on the drive home. A billboard, on the other hand, can be dynamic. And in some instances, make you get out of the car to stop and take a picture. One that you’ll probably post on social media, bypassing the need for digital dollars.