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At Sunday’s media day event, a few of us were huddled on the field beneath the mammoth new video screen on the north end of the field.  The inevitable topic came up—would Michigan place ads on that beast?

WLBY’s Lucy Ann Lance  recently interviewed Michigan Chief Marketing Officer Hunter Lochmann and they discussed the matter:

Lucy Ann: Will there ever be advertising inside Michigan stadium for a football game?

Lochmann: No. I’ve learned from Dave Brandon that you ask your fans what they want.  They don’t want to see a lick of advertising in Michigan Stadium.  I think my resume would be updated if I ever allowed it in there on my own. It’s not going to happen; I think there are enough opportunities emerging in this digital world and other inventory to satisfy partners.

Lucy Ann: But you have over 100,000 people in there, glued to it. You have the television coverage.

Lochmann: Sure. It’s a great opportunity.

Lucy Ann:  There are elementary schools which have incorporated corporate advertising in their programs.  Why not Michigan Stadium?

Lochmann: You know, it’s a great opportunity and anyone who doesn’t say it is, isn’t telling the truth, but the fans don’t want it.  You listen to your fans and if that’s their number one issue then we can come up with a thousand other things that they do want, that we can take advantage of.

Sounds like Lucy Ann was going to plunk down some cash for an ad right then!   No sale.  Lochmann went on to explain that their use digital media and tools like Facebook and Twitter to get the U-M sponsors in front of fans. 

To me, I wouldn’t freak out if a few ads were up on the scoreboard occasionally, as long as it doesn’t get ridiculous.  One my takeaways from a trip to Northwestern’s Ryan Field from 2006:

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….A mini-UPS truck rolled out and delivered the ball for kick-off.  Just check out the Ryan field scoreboard. They couldn’t find enough room on the scoreboard to spell out “Wildcats” digitally, but they found plenty of room for the following sponsors:  Lexus – La Salle Bank – Federated Insurance – Adidas – Nextel – All State Insurance – American Airlines – Pepsi

Yeesh.

And one more nugget.  Looks like mgoblue.com is getting (another) needed makeover:

Lucy Ann:  What about the MGoBlue.com website? Any transformation of that coming up?

Lochmann: Actually, that’s a great question. We are redesigning that as we speak.  Hopefully a mid to late September re-launch or redesign. It’s going to be a lot more video focus.  Video is where everything’s heading with the mobile phones, iPads, and anything else, so we’re working hard on that.  It’s a popular site; that’s where our fans go, but we have some work to do.  That’s part of the branding of Michigan Athletics.  You look at every touch point and obviously MGoBlue.com is one of the most popular ones.

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2 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t enjoy seeing ads in Michigan Stadium. But I think there’s a more important consideration: How many kids would one ad send to college? I don’t know what UM could charge, but one ad likely would pay for at least a few scholarships.

    Too much advertising may damage the brand, but I think they should take the free revenue. It’s for a good cause.

  2. I’m pretty sure that there won’t be permanent advertising surrounding the board. Whether they flash ads up on board itself…. that’s another question.