Virtual ads distracting from World Series

The ‘green screen’ is used to project advertising at the World Series. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

There was a moment last night when baseball fans watching the World Series were reminded that baseball stadiums are basically studios for a TV production. What you see isn’t what’s really there.

It was this moment. When George Springer was swallowed by a credit card.

The super-imposed ad wasn’t supposed to block the rightfielder. It was supposed to appear to be on the wall of Dodger stadium. Many of the ads you see at the stadiums aren’t really there.

This one actually is (although the one on the left isn’t). It’s been placed strategically to make the “play” button appear in the middle of your screen. If it distracts from the game — and it does — that’s just the way baseball executives and Fox Sports want it.

Ain’t technology something?

The technology even allows geographic targeting. Fans in Minnesota, for example, might see an entirely different ad on the outfield wall than fans in Los Angeles.

“People know anybody can buy television ads, but being there has more of an element of being integrated,” an ad agency for a Panamanian airline that bought time on the World Series international feed last year.

The YouTube ad is significant because it attempts to distract the viewer. The ad becomes bigger than the game itself.

“When you’re actually watching online, once you press ‘play,’ that button disappears. Yet there it was, unmoving. And moving me to uttering expressive words of discomfort,” CNet’s Chris Matysczyk writes. “There are some who believe that great advertising is all about distracting the viewer toward your product. I don’t believe, however, that it’s about annoying you into loving that product.”