8/18/13, "Here’s the Pitch. But First, One From Our Sponsor.
" NY Times, R. Sandomir
"“Phelps painted the corner
,” the Yankees
radio announcer said, describing a strikeout pitch. “Painting at the
corners is sponsored by CertaPro Painters. Because painting is
That, baseball fans, is called a drop-in in advertising parlance.
Drop-ins have proliferated in recent years
as radio stations have tried
to offset the rising costs of broadcast rights. The baseball radio
broadcast, for so long the soundtrack of summer with an almost
sacrosanct rhythm of familiar voices, is now laden with paid
advertisements for everything from the umpire lineup to the postgame
wrap-up. Televised games have similarly been infiltrated, but not all of
their drop-ins are read aloud.
With the narrative of the game turned into an adjunct for quickie ads,
fans who once turned down the volume on their radios between innings to
avoid commercials have no escape.
The phenomenon, playing out on airwaves around the country
, is most
pronounced in Yankees broadcasts. The first Yankees walk prompts, “Just
walk into any of CityMD’s six convenient locations.” The
announcement of the game’s umpires is brought to you by Levy Phillips
& Konigsberg, a law firm specializing in asbestos exposure cases.
The personal injury law firm Cellino & Barnes gets a plug when the
announcers explain the broadcast’s copyright violation policy. A call to
the bullpen comes with a nod to one
of three sponsors: Aamco Car Care,
Hyundai and the Tri-State Ford Dealers.
The postgame wrap-up show? That’s brought to you, naturally, by Reynolds Wrap.
“They’re not tough to do, but does it feel like it slows the pace of the
game?” said Charley Steiner, a Los Angeles Dodgers announcer who
previously called Yankee games. “Of course it does. From an announcer’s
point of view, less is more.”
“You get people smiling about it,” said Peter Buttenweiser, the managing
partner for marketing at CertaPro. Executives at CertaPro, a
house-painting company, are happiest if the voice of John Sterling, the
Yankees’ radio play-by-play announcer, crescendos on a called strikeout
leading into the ad.
If not for advertisers eager to be noticed, and stations equally eager
to maintain a cash flow, there would be no power, pitch speed, weather,
time, environment or injury “reports.”
“You realize that they’re there to pay for the broadcast,” said Scott
Franzke, who calls Philadelphia Phillies games on the radio. “So I’m
certainly not begrudging that. But you still want some integrity in the
Like Eric Nadel, who calls Texas Rangers games, Franzke has leeway to
defer, or not use, a drop-in if it sounds out of place in a tight moment
of a game.
The commercial colonization of game broadcasts has created fictional
locations like the Hertz 24/7 broadcast booth — where Sterling and his
broadcast partner, Suzyn Waldman, toil — and the Peerless Boilers
broadcast booth, home to Howie Rose and Josh Lewin, the Mets’ announcers
on WFAN. Peerless, listeners are regularly told, makes America’s best
Geico has built a major drop-in outpost. It has turned the mundane 15th
out of the game into a Pavlovian cue for Sterling and Rose to tell
listeners that a 15-minute call to Geico can help them save 15 percent
on their auto insurance
In this ecosystem, a walk is not only as good as a hit; it is a sales opportunity.
Joel Hollander, a former general manager of CBS Radio, who also ran
WFAN, said the quantity of WCBS’s in-game advertising on Yankee games
was directly related to the rights fee it paid.
“The bottom line is WCBS writes the check and, like the rest of sports,
it’s a huge money grab,” Hollander said. “They’re paying $13 million or
$14 million a year for the Yankees. It’s hard to recoup that.”
That means giving advertisers more value for their dollars by letting
them augment their 30-second commercials with drop-ins, usually in a
package that carries no extra cost. WFAN, which pays far less to carry
the Mets, uses fewer drop-ins.
On July 4, WCBS had 61 drop-ins, some as short as the name of a sponsor
without any embellishments, during a Yankees-Twins game. During a
Mets-Pirates game the same day, there were 21 drop-ins.
Drop-ins show how the marriage of sponsors and local baseball
has evolved from long-ago days when announcers smoked
cigarettes or poured beer on the air. But Curt Smith, a historian of
baseball broadcasting, said the spree of drop-ins on Yankees games
created the impression “of a franchise that doesn’t care whether the
broadcast is considered quality or not.”
A sampling of several team broadcasts showed a diverse world of drop-ins.
The WCBS philosophy divides advertisers and some listeners. Jerry
Grossman, a Yankees season-ticket holder from Manhattan, said he was
once aghast at the glut of advertising during games. Now he is inured to
them. Paul Landaw, a chef from Bellerose Terrace, on Long Island, who
listens to Yankees games but is a Mets fan, responded to an e-mail
seeking comment by writing, “I look forward to providing help to your
cause, driven by Jeep, of course.”
Just as fans of another generation could instantly identify Joe
DiMaggio’s place in the Yankee lineup, fans like Landaw know that Jeep’s
name is usually heard at the end of each half-inning." via NY Radio Message Board
"scratchbaker, AZ unfortunately
Labels: Drop-in ads in baseball radio broadcasts