Saturday, January 04, 2003

Sports&Culture File from
NY Times

NYTimesESPN plans to celebrate the face-painter in us all with a campaign that makes the none-too-subtle point to both viewers and advertisers that the cable network is synonymous with sports. The effort from ESPN, a division of the Walt Disney Company, is called "Without Sports," and will begin Monday. It is ESPN's first comprehensive brand campaign, as opposed to ads for specific programming like its sports news show, "SportsCenter." ... Lee Ann Daly, senior vice president for marketing at ESPN, said the network would spend more on this campaign than any other in its history....In one commercial, "Gathering," a group of Spanish relatives are in a small living room, watching a soccer match between the traditional rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona. Half the relatives support Real Madrid, the other half Barcelona. One player takes a dive and a penalty is called, leading to a huge argument among the relatives. The tagline is, "Without sports, what would bring a family together?" ... "It's like holding up a mirror to all of us," Ms. Daly said. "The idea is that sports aren't a metaphor for life, sports are life. Sports really do forge connections between people. They shape how we interact with each other."

-The often-asserted but widely ignored assertion that the dubiously educational football program is a college's pact with the devil in terms of both money and principles is applied to one small college in football-crazy Florida in this NY Times Magazine piece by MIchael Sokolove: "Football is the S.U.V. of the college campus: aggressively big, resource-guzzling, lots and lots of fun and potentially destructive of everything around it."

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