With the new Longhorn Sports Network coming on line I just had a vision of the future that I'm not okay with. Now, I'm a free market guy, I understand why college athletics needs to make as much money as it does so my next comment is not meant to take on that discussion or the wisdom of the contracts.
But I just flipped on ESPN Game Day from Villanova and spotted students enthusiastically waiving State Farm signs as a backdrop for the show. They were scattered among the 'Nova signs and other typical sporting event posters. They weren't just the logos in corners we've grown accustomed to, but full on sole purpose advertising signs
Maybe they've been doing that all season, maybe for several seasons, but this is the first time I've noticed it (probably with the new LSN contract in mind) and I'm a bit disgusted. I remember when they made all the field goal nets in football into massive advertisements in recent years and found that a distasteful intrusion into the game, not just the sidelines. But that required no complicity by fans of the game to become corporate props.
I think good Longhorn fans who want to honor the little bit of genuine fan involvement supporting teams left in major athletics should tell the producers of television who pass out corporate advertising that fans are supposed to waive around to screw themselves, they can do that in other less prideful institutions, but UT fans don't need to be, nor can they be bought. The University can do whatever they want to go along with the new Longhorns Sports Network, but they ought not look at their fan base as advertising props.
But I don't live in Austin and don't get to go to games very often. What would you do if you were told to get into a Game Day-type event you had to waive corporate advertising around? Are you okay with being a corporate shill if it gets you in the door? Or does your Longhorn pride run so deep that you'd help organize the revolt inside the venue, that NOBODY should comply?