Advertising Undercover

Boxing has become one of the most watched sports on pay per view. Since the old days of Muhammad Ali to the present days of Manny Pacquiao boxing seems to gain larger and larger crowds every year. It is no surprise that companies have been fighting for the rights to get their brand out there infront of the multitude of fans. According to Media Life Magazine “The most sought-after piece of inventory at a boxing match is the main sponsorship splashed on the center of the boxing ring’s mat.” The reason for this is because this placement puts the brand in the middle of the action. It is visible from the middle of the ring and will continue to be in replays and photographs taken for different articles and columns by reporters. Although this may seem like the most important type of advertising, in reality Boxing is full of it. The article in Media Life Magazine goes on to explain that “sponsors can put their logo on just about anything.This includes other ringside elements, such as the ropes, the rope dividers, the corner pads, or smaller ads on the sides or corners of the ring mat itself.” Companies can even sponsor the ring card girls who walk around before each round. They can sponsor not only the card she is holding up but even the clothes that she wears while she goes up and does her job. The fact that sponsors can have this much control over what goes on in the boxing match reminds me of how NASCAR is ran by advertisements and sponsors. Other more discrete ways of companies pushing the brands on people is by having the people that walk out with the boxer along with the boxer wear the brand right up until the fight. Some will even place towels in the background in between rounds when the boxers have a close up on their face when they are trying to recover. Large banners are also now being carried in behind the boxer as he is introduced. But the biggest demonstration of how advertising is taking over boxing was discussed in an East Side Boxing article by Ed Ludwig in which he talked about how some boxers are now allowing sponsors to put a temporary tattoo on the boxers back with whatever brand they want to promote. Ludwig described Omar Weis as “a giant billboard” when he recently defeated Hector Camacho Jr. Some boxers prefer this method because they get more money than the fight itself. Some networks such as ESPN 2 and Fox Sports have already banned boxers from participating in such acts but sometimes have to change their minds because the boxers will refuse to not do it because of all of the money that is involved. Ed Ludwig points out that the biggest difference between ads on players in boxing compared to football is that boxing is an individuals sport and “what ultimately happens in boxing may lead the way for other individual sports like tennis and golf to take a closer look as to how they regulate advertising.”

In my opinion I don’t find it wrong that boxers have chosen to put temporary tattoos on their backs to earn an extra buck. I may not be a huge follower of the sport but I feel like this is a great innovative way to get a brand across and it won’t cause a distraction to the audience. Since it is a temporary tattoo I feel as though it will be the same as if you were watching a boxer that was full of tattoo. While some people may not like the idea of course, I’m a firm believer that people will always be against change. We are scared to try something new and the minute we see something new and innovative we find ways to bring it down or prove it wrong. This thinking will get us no where in the 21st century as there will be plenty of new things inveneted because of the technology that we have today.

Sources:

Vasquez, Diego. (2010, April 5). Your Client’s Ad at the Boxing Ring. Media Life. Retrieved from: http://www.medialifemagazine.com/artman2/publish/Out_of_Home_19/Your_client_s_ad_at_the_boxing_ring.asp

Ludwig, Ed. (2010, August 4). Boxing: Advertising- What is the solution?. East Side Boxing. Retrieved from: http://www.eastsideboxing.com/ludwig0804.html

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