Sponsoring the National Anthem at Penguins Games? Seriously? Yep. – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Sponsoring the National Anthem at Penguins Games? Seriously? Yep.

This post is brought to you by PenguinPoop.

You read that title correctly.  Yeah, they went there.

We all get it, hockey is a business.  But, this isn’t the team that Mario bought out of bankruptcy in 1999.  This team is making money.  The team had their billionth (OK, I forget the exact number) consecutive sellout on Saturday night.  A couple of amazing players and a few really good seasons, including a Stanley Cup, have turned this franchise profitable.  I, along with all other fans, am grateful that we have ownership that is willing to spend those profits to put a winning product on the ice.  It’s nice to be able to spend up to the cap and compete with the big markets.  But, with the team making money, the brand new arena, and the luxury suites that the team “needed” to generate revenue to compete, I have a question.  While more than half of the fans are relegated to the upper stratosphere of the universe in favor of these suites, why are we being subjected to an obscene number of sponsorships?

Remember how obnoxious it was when they started with the Power Ball Power Play?  I now yearn for the days when that was pretty much the extent of the sponsored in-game happenings.  Who would have thought that I would miss a gate being referred to by a simple number?  Having the Civic Arena renamed Mellon Arena seems like such a trivial thing now.  The anthem sponsorship that I refer to in the title might have been the thing that pushed me over the edge.  Is nothing sacred anymore?  Honestly, opening night had a military honor guard and Jeff Jimerson in a tux and then the ghastly announcement of the anthem sponsor.

It is out of control, to put it mildly.  In case you haven’t been to the arena or, even worse, to a game yet, here is a sampling of what I could keep track of:

Around the arena:

  • Gates:  Trib, American Eagle, Verizon
  • Clubs:  First Niagara, Captain Morgan
  • Trib Mezzanine
  • Trib Lobby
  • Trib All Time Team Zone
  • Dick’s Box Office
  • Highmark Kid’s Zone
  • Highmark Wall of Champions
  • PNC Legends Level
  • Lexus Club
  • Cal U Conference Center  

In game:

  • Heinz countdown clock
  • Frontier Steel anthem
  • Esmark starting lineup
  • Power Ball power play
  • GNC penalty kill
  • Verizon, PNC Wealth Management replays (it is different every period, I missed the 3rd)  
  • AEC attendance
  • Geico 1st intermission
  • First Niagara 2nd intermission
  • Miller Lite “Good Call” penalties
  • Labatt Out of Town Scoreboard
  • Starkist 3 stars  

Other stuff during the game:

  • WetGo Car Wash Kiss Cam
  • Cochran fan of the game
  • ATI Zambonis
  • Mobili Blimp
  • Highmark Ice Crew
  • Smith Hot Dog and Shearer’s Chips giveaways
  • Dairy Queen Bazooooka Blast
  • Big Mac Attack
  • GNC runway covers
  • Nemacolin Pick 5
  • Crunches by Shearers

What’s next, the return to the corporate pigeon logo? 

I hated that logo.  But, it does seem appropriate given the direction the team is headed.  I just don’t understand why we are suddenly having corporate sponsorships shoved down our throats at every given chance.  I have always respected the way that Mario ran this team.  While it is a business, Mario has always run it as it should be…a first class sports franchise.  What has changed?  I can only imagine that things will get worse with the increased popularity of the team.  Everyone wants to jump on a good bandwagon.  How long until IceBurgh is sponsored?  When we win our next Cup, will every faceoff be sponsored?  What about each different type of penalty?  And, where does the league draw the line?  At what point does the NHL follow the European leagues and take advantage of blank areas on the players’ jerseys and socks?  This just looks like an ugly downward spiral to me.   (By the way, even spellcheck hates all of these sponsors.)  

Quite honestly, I think it cheapens the organization.  We’ve gone from complete class to looking like we’re desperate for money.  Maybe that’s the trend.  Maybe that’s the way all the other teams are doing things now.  I honestly don’t remember it being that bad at any of the away games I’ve gone to over the past few years.  Here’s the thing though:  I don’t want to be like all of the other teams.  Call me crazy, but I liked being different.  A lot of things have changed over the past couple of years, particularly the last few months.  I’m not entirely thrilled with all of them.  I liked when my friends in other cities were jealous of how “fan-friendly” the Pens were.  Now, they seem just like any other business.  It’s like that flashing neon sign that says “We’re owned by one of the greatest players of all time” has dimmed.  If my out-of-town friends come to a game here now, will it seem any different than any other city?  

Now that I’ve been subjected to the barrage of sponsors, I’m going to be a little irritated when the Lemieux Group accesses my bank account early next month.  I used to just feel fortunate to have tickets when Mario took out my monthly payment.  Now I feel like telling them to find a sponsor for my seats.  Hey, there’s an idea…  

Well, someone let me know when they put a sponsor on the toilet paper so that I can use it to wipe my rear. 

A fitting statement from someone who writes for a blog named “PenguinPoop.” 

This rant has been sponsored by Coach Bombay.

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  1. 55 on point's Gravatar 55 on point
    October 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care about the sponsorships as far as helping the bottom line, that’s a good thing in order to remain competitive. What does trouble me is how none of it will ever filter down to the fan. In the final analysis “fan-friendly” is just public relations BS. We love the Pens, and we love hockey and that’s where the relationship ends. If you have any illusions that they love you in return, stay home and watch it on TV and save your $150+ per game. There is no trickle down economics in professional sports. If you paid $75 for a seat this year, it will always be $80 next year regardless of how many sponsorships they sell. We’re the sponsors for our seats, we just don’t get our names on them. And, I won’t be surprised if someday soon we WILL pay a seat license — oh, it’s coming — and we still won’t get our name on the seat. Toilet paper? Maybe. Seat? No.

  2. Malkamania4life's Gravatar Malkamania4life
    October 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    When they start sponoring “This next defensive faceoff ” ahs been sponsored by.. Or the one I dread the most, when a Hockey jersey Looks like something Dale Earnhardt Jr or Milan Kraft wears over in Europe, thats when its time to “call it a day”

  3. LawnyIris's Gravatar LawnyIris
    October 12, 2010 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The biggest money franchise in major sports is the NY Yankees. You should try a radio broadcast by them one night. Just about everything is sponsored by someone (Jiffy Lube double play) comes to mind and just about everything that is hit, pitched, etc. Waiting for the “that foul ball was brought to you by the National Waterfowl Association”.
    It is safe to say that the Penguins are cashing in on this trend. Unfortunately it is good for the bottom line, and we all know at the end of the day that is what it all boils down to.

  4. October 12, 2010 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    You better watch out when you talk about finding a sponsor for your seat. The Pens might just do that. The sponsor being you, the ticketholder, in the form of a seating license. It was good enought for the Steelers.

  5. ShagDog's Gravatar ShagDog
    October 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I hate the Powerball Powerplay. The powerplay has sucked since they started it.

    I do like the chip giveaways especially after the game :>)

  6. Styles's Gravatar Styles
    October 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I can see David Morehouse calling an emergency meeting tomorrow morning:

    Morehouse: “What the hell am I paying all of you good money for! I just read on some Penguin Poop blog that we could be having someone sponsor our toilet paper! I want a sponsor for the toilet paper on my desk by Wednesday at noon!”

  7. SPC Gearhart, US Army's Gravatar SPC Gearhart, US Army
    October 11, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    How about “Please stand and remove your hats for tonight’s National Anthem, sponsored by the Men and Women of the Armed Forces” how’s that for sponsorship?

    • dr.rosenrosen's Gravatar dr.rosenrosen
      October 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      I’m for it.


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