There Are So, So Many Ads on MLS Broadcasts Now

In Thursday’s Hot Clicks: MLS’s advertising overload, a crazy baseball catch and more.
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Get used to this

MLS’s creatively named “MLS Is Back” tournament began Wednesday night and gave sports fans a preview of what they can expect as competition resumes. Ads. Lots and lots of ads.

Orlando SC took on Inter Miami in the opening match of the tournament inside the league’s bubble at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The game itself was a thriller, with Orlando captain Nani scoring a stoppage-time game-winner. As for the presentation, ESPN, unlike NBC with the Premier League, decided not to use artificial crowd noise. But what had everyone talking was the inescapable presence of countless ads. 

A massive blue wall was erected behind the far sideline and used to superimpose advertisements. A second surface behind that wall made it possible to show even more ads.

This is, of course, in addition to the video ad board that rings the perimeter of virtually any pro soccer field. 

And then there was an enormous Adidas logo that took up the entirety of the center circle. 

Put it all together and this is what you get. 

Screenshot of ESPN MLS broadcast showing ads on screen

The ads were visible only in the main camera view, not during any replays or closeups. 

This highlight package gives a sense of what the viewing experience was like. 

That’s a ton of ads! The main wall alone has space for 16 ads. The sloped surface behind the wall showed four much larger ads. That’s almost as many ads on the screen as players. 

This is something sports fans are going to have to get used to. Without tickets sales, leagues are going to have to find other ways to bring in money. A 30-foot Adidas logo might be an eyesore, but it’s a necessity to keep the league from hemorrhaging money. The NFL has already approved teams to rope off the first six to eight rows of seats in their stadiums under the guise of aiding social distancing between fans and players. But the real reason is that they’re going to fill that space with ads. MLB, the NHL and the NBA will probably do something similar when they start playing. It’s annoying, but omnipresent ads aren’t going away until fans come back. 

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Powerful statement from MLS players

More of this, please!

I believe the Ravens are the first NFL team to come out with a plan like this

This guy was my favorite Yankees opponent for a while

Are you sure about that?

Soccer goals in the final seconds are always a thrill

Don Nelson, legend

Better look at the altered Pirates logo I mentioned yesterday

I don’t know why you need to do this when you have a 60-man player pool, but it’s still cool

It’s like putting a mannequin on a skateboard

Maybe we should all wear these

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Good luck with that

Close call!

A good song

Email dan.gartland@si.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.