I attended a UGA women's basketball game on Sunday. This was the first sporting event I had attended at the Coliseum in something like 15 or 20 years. In an earlier instantiation of AthensWorld, I wrote about attending a football game for the first time in 10 years. I was struck by the crass commercialization of the stadium and the game itself. Cartoon ads on the scoreboard, the general assault on the senses by incredibly loud music, etc etc. Well, move all that crap inside a cement box and you have a UGA basketball game.
Apparently, athletic officials are scared that the product on the court isn't good enough to hold the audiences attention, because at every halt in the game, even for a 30 second timeout, all kinds of crap was trotted out onto the court. Dancing girls, a cartoon like inflatible mascot, various audience participation contests involving shooting baskets, and on and on and on. All done to blaring music and spotlights raking the crowd. Cacophony would be a good word to describe it. Like the football game I attended (which was not on teevee, but that didn't stop the officials from stopping the game in the third quarter so a St. Mary's ad featuring cartoon bulldogs racing around could run on the scoreboard), it seemed to me as if the game itself was the secondary matter at hand. What is obviously more important to UGA athletics is ad revenue. As a case in point, one of the shooting contests involving a fan was done by the fan shooting from spots on the court that had plastic mats on which to stand. One of these mats was a giant bulldog mastercard. It was truly disgusting.
I once laughed at the poor folks over at tech, during their football games they actually have people come out on the field over there (at the Joke by Coke as we call it) holding signs advertising car lots and insurance agencies. Well, I guess I shouldn't laugh anymore. We are just as bad, and a hell of a lot louder. The game itself? Well, maybe the officials are right in being concerned about the product on the court. The lady Dogs lost to an over matched Vandy team. But thats not what its all about, its all about selling crap and inducing headaches with 100 decibel noise.