Columbia Pictures, Marvel Studios and Major League Baseball have announced an advertising promotion bringing "Spider-Man 2" into major league ball parks this summer, which outraged many and has already caused changes in the promotion. According to ESPN, the familiar webbed logo of "Spider-Man 2" was to appear on bases and on-deck circles in 15 stadiums of teams playing host to interleague games June 11th - 13th. This follows an increasing trend in American sports where every aspect of the game and the venue it's played in features paid advertising. While owners see it as just another revenue stream, purists take umbrage to the promotions, saying it takes away attention from the game.
When the news got out Wednesday afternoon, the reaction was immediate - overwhelmingly negative. In an ESPN poll conducted Wednesday, 79.4% of almost 45,000 readers said they thought that baseball was "selling out" by allowing the "Spider-Man 2" advertisements on the field. A similar reaction was seen on baseball communities around the Web. As a result, changes were made.
Thursday, ESPN reported that the promotion has been scaled back. Those 6x6 inch "Spider-Man 2" logos that were to adorn first, second and third base during the games, have been removed and are no longer part of the deal.
"We saw some of the polls on the Internet that said that 71 and 81 percent of the fans didn't approve of it," Geoffrey Ammer, president of worldwide marketing for the Columbia-Tri-Star Motion Picture Group, told ESPN.com. "Based on this reaction from the fans, we didn't want to do anything to take away from their enjoyment of the game and if that was the case with this element of the promotion, we could afford to do without it."
While one part of the promotion has been removed, other parts of the promotion remain unchanged. Movie trailers will be shown during the games on stadium scoreboards. The logos will still be placed in the on-deck circles, a part of the promotion fans disliked. Maybe the free "Spider-Man 2" foam fingers and masks to be given out during the games will placate the fans. The logos will also appear on ceremonial pitching rubber and home plate, although both will be replaced by the standard "white" look once game play begins.