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Intrusive ads on preseason broadcasts raise eyebrows

A Toyota sign is pictured outside a Toyo Getty Images

Something ugly happened during the first week of the NFL preseason, something even uglier than charging fans full price to buy tickets to glorified scrimmages.

The ugliest part of Week One of the preseason was the use on some broadcasts of intrusive ads that superimposed the names and logos of businesses on the field, using the same technology that broadcasters have long used to display the first down line. The results were hideous, leading Keith Olbermann to open his show with a skit in which he pretended to be arriving from the future to warn football fans about how annoying advertising could be.

“Once this was unleashed upon football television, there was no going back,” Olbermann said.

But fortunately, there is some going back. A spokeswoman for Toyota told ABC News that after the negative fan backlash, the company will no longer sponsor a “Toyota Red Zone” with a glaring ad covering the field from the goal line to the 20-yard line while the ball is in play.

“We’re football fans too. We’ve heard fan feedback and it’s not our intention to distract from the joy of the game,” Toyota said in its statement.

The NFL has also confirmed that such ads would not be permitted under the NFL’s contracts with its regular-season TV partners. (Individual teams handle their own TV deals for the preseason, and there are fewer restrictions on advertising.) So we may not see those hideous advertisements on the field anymore. That’s a victory for the fans who just want to enjoy a game, without ads that make their eyeballs bleed.

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85 Responses to “Intrusive ads on preseason broadcasts raise eyebrows”
  1. babyphife says: Aug 11, 2014 4:44 PM

    Ads in telecasts?? Thanks Goodell

  2. paulland81 says: Aug 11, 2014 4:44 PM

    I’m a fan of Toyota now.

  3. JSpicoli says: Aug 11, 2014 4:46 PM

    It’s coming.

    The salad days are over.

  4. decaturstaley75 says: Aug 11, 2014 4:46 PM

    Cue the “See, Cuban was right!!!” posters. Have fun, guys.

  5. donmcg2012 says: Aug 11, 2014 4:46 PM

    Didn’t see it but sounds rather stupid to be doing it. Commercials make me buy things like Big Macs or Doritos, things like that. I won’t be running out at halftime to buy a Toyota.

  6. bcgreg says: Aug 11, 2014 4:47 PM

    They WILL be on jerseys soon though.

  7. kdub69 says: Aug 11, 2014 4:48 PM

    It’s bad enough there are so many commercials and sponsors as it is. Plus all of the apps do the same thing. Fans don’t need to see more branding or logos messing up our view of a live game.

  8. oldcracker says: Aug 11, 2014 4:52 PM

    Only in Godell’s world would this seem reasonable.

    Mark Cuban should be the NFL Commissioner.

  9. kd75 says: Aug 11, 2014 4:52 PM

    Only a matter of time until “Fly Emirites” is on the front of some team’s jersey.

  10. 12444uggg says: Aug 11, 2014 4:53 PM

    Olbermann and annoying should always be used in the same sentence.

  11. btowngetsdown says: Aug 11, 2014 4:54 PM

    Missing from this article is that Toyota said in its statement that they will not have any ads “once the ball is snapped.” Sounds to me like we may still be seeing them in the future!

  12. bonnovi says: Aug 11, 2014 4:55 PM

    I’d rather they put corporate logos on uniforms than superimpose those giant, ugly ads onto the field.

  13. 12rocks says: Aug 11, 2014 4:57 PM

    Maybe if Jan from the Toyota ads was on the field…

  14. theanalyticalkid says: Aug 11, 2014 4:57 PM

    “We’re football fans too. We’ve heard fan feedback and it’s not our intention to distract from the joy of the game,” Toyota said in its statement.

    Right, you originally thought that they’d add to the joy of the game.

    Got it!

    Toyota execs fools or liars?

  15. b3nz0z says: Aug 11, 2014 4:58 PM

    i’m pretty sure they had a CG football player prancing around the bottom of the screen during the eagles bears game. thankfully his jersey was red . . .

  16. joelvis72 says: Aug 11, 2014 4:59 PM

    The Saints’ local broadcast had a red zone “sponsored” by “Slap Ya Mama,” a hot sauce/Cajun seasonings company. It would have been very interesting had the Saints been playing the Ravens.

  17. kgun80 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:00 PM

    NHL has been doing it for the past couple seasons. The hologram on the boards really don’t bother me. But if your expecting to watch anything ( movies, tv shows, video games) there will always be product placement

  18. 4thquartermagic says: Aug 11, 2014 5:00 PM

    What’s appalling about all these “revenue generating” tactics is that nothing results in a better/more affordable experience for the fans.

    Greed is greed. I love football. But if the golden goose gets cooked, nobody has the right to be surprised.

  19. misterpositivity says: Aug 11, 2014 5:00 PM

    This is great! The league can use all this new ad revenue to reduce the cost of tickets!

  20. briman141 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:00 PM

    It was horrible. I watched the Titan Packer game here in TN and had to endure the Pinnacle Red Zone coverage, from the 20 in was mumble-jumbled crap on my screen. I am glad to hear this won’t happen in the regular season. When my buddy and I saw it, we both said this could be what drives us away from watching football!

  21. glac1 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:03 PM

    By the way, happy birthday to the Green Bay Packers, Inc. It was on this very day back in 1919 when the team was organized at the towns newspapers offices.

  22. Steeler Nation is so far above you and your lowly franchise. We built this league. Pittsburgh's three rivers are made from the tears of our opponents. Bow to your supreme overlords. says: Aug 11, 2014 5:03 PM

    We are staring our own league after going out with #7 in our trophy case this year. SFL will bring football back to its roots.

  23. hrmlss says: Aug 11, 2014 5:03 PM

    What’s next if you tune into a Viking game by accident, they lock your TV on and to that channel?

  24. Frank Gibbons says: Aug 11, 2014 5:03 PM

    I’m not sure which is worse, the ads, or giving a plug to one of the worst television personalities in the history of anything. He couldn’t even hack it on msnbc, and I’m supposed to take him seriously now that he’s back on the ocho?

  25. justintuckrule says: Aug 11, 2014 5:04 PM

    I hear Toyota commercial fans are starting to complain about NFL games interfering with their 4 hour long commercials.

  26. richardernsberger says: Aug 11, 2014 5:05 PM

    This is the type of BS commercialism, screw the viewers that we get in America. You sit through 12 minutes of ads to get back to the game–and then the networks splash ads all over the screen while the game is being telecast. Absolute BS–fans should complain, and loudly. It’s bad enough that the networks all have their logos on screen constantly now. And of course I love this U.S. TV and radio gimmick: You wait through several minutes of ads, then then take you back to the game/broadcast/show for 30 seconds or a minute of chatter and then it’s back off for more ads! I used to listen to sports-talk radio but no longer: more ads than talk.

  27. bamacowboy says: Aug 11, 2014 5:06 PM

    you better believe here in 50 years there will be no actual tv shows. all commercials, all advertisements all the time, 24/7

  28. fwippel says: Aug 11, 2014 5:08 PM

    One more mistake in the legacy of Roger Goodell as NFL Commissioner.

  29. lambeaudad says: Aug 11, 2014 5:08 PM

    This is all a subversive plot by the NFL to make the home viewing experience worse so that fans go out to the stadiums.

  30. guadalahonky says: Aug 11, 2014 5:08 PM

    Toyota is the San Francisco 49ers “Exclusive Auto Partner”, WHY does an NFL team have an “Exclusive Auto Partner” should be the question being asked.

  31. daaabears says: Aug 11, 2014 5:09 PM

    I used to be a master programmer for Fox (independent), and we could actually lose our license if ads or ad logos were still on during regular programming. Man have times changed.

  32. hrmlss says: Aug 11, 2014 5:10 PM

    “Only a matter of time until “Fly Emirites” is on the front of some team’s jersey.”

    Or even worse, Fly Malaysian Air……

  33. pftfan says: Aug 11, 2014 5:14 PM

    It’s capitalism, folks. You can’t have it both ways.

  34. guadalahonky says: Aug 11, 2014 5:15 PM

    Are the Red Zone ads really worse than Toyota’s Coach T commercials?

  35. bassplucker says: Aug 11, 2014 5:15 PM

    My bigger issue was with severe signal problems in not one but two of the weekend’s broadcasts. About half of the 1st quarter of the Bears/Eagles game was practically unwatchable due to signal breakup, (the commercials, of course, played perfectly), and during the Packers/Titans game the screen went completely blank for at least one stretch.

    Get it together, networks. This isn’t stuff you’ve never done before.

  36. trollaikman8 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:16 PM

    Cuban was right.

  37. youpeopleareallthesame says: Aug 11, 2014 5:16 PM

    I don’t think that I have ever heard the NFL say “We were wrong” in any capacity.

  38. noleitup says: Aug 11, 2014 5:16 PM

    I didn’t really notice anything until I read this story. Its not really a big deal to me.

  39. wisconsinhillfolk says: Aug 11, 2014 5:19 PM

    During the Lions v. Browns broadcast, an equally foul trend presented itself. Everyone associated with the NFLN broadcast acted like high school sissies obsessed with the starting (not yet) quarterback. Each of them contesting to see who could say Johnny Manziel’s name the most was embarrassing. Sad.

  40. 941bucs says: Aug 11, 2014 5:20 PM

    Good response toyota, that ad was totally gnarly. I would not mind seeing ads for medical marijuana shops however, as well as local pizza joints with a phone # about an hour later..

  41. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 11, 2014 5:22 PM

    See time travel ideas whether real or not can help you fix the present.

    This post made possible by Logitech, they really do make a fantastic wireless keyboard, I’ve had this one quite a while and no problems whatsoever.

    Can you imagine if you had to read a product endorsement every time I post?

  42. isphet71 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:24 PM

    The only safe field is at Boise State because you can’t “green screen” a blue field!

  43. csszrr says: Aug 11, 2014 5:25 PM

    SFL? Return to roots? If by that you mean rampant steroid use, dirty play, being owned by a gambling concern and all the while whining about loses and trying to sue the NFL to get do overs than sure i can see that working…or not.

  44. blacknyellablacknyella says: Aug 11, 2014 5:27 PM

    That is unbelievable!!!!! People watch Olbermann?!?!

  45. electricboogalo says: Aug 11, 2014 5:33 PM

    I’m all for a free market economy, unless it bothers me a little.

  46. beardown502 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:35 PM

    Steeler Nation is so far above you and your lowly franchise. We built this league. Pittsburgh’s three rivers are made from the tears of our opponents. Bow to your supreme overlords. says:
    Aug 11, 2014 5:03 PM
    We are staring our own league after going out with #7 in our trophy case this year. SFL will bring football back to its roots.

    _________________________

    Do you even have a job? Or is trolling PFT all day the highlight of your life?

  47. si1m says: Aug 11, 2014 5:44 PM

    Steeler Nation is so far above you and your lowly franchise. We built this league. Pittsburgh’s three rivers are made from the tears of our opponents. Bow to your supreme overlords. says:
    Aug 11, 2014 5:03 PM

    We are staring our own league after going out with #7 in our trophy case this year. SFL will bring football back to its roots.

    _________________________

    I would do this too if my team’s last playoff action was getting DUNKED on by Tim tebow followed by two years of nothingness. Now you’ll be able to put yourselves in the playoffs against yourself. Everyone wins.

  48. grogansheroes says: Aug 11, 2014 5:45 PM

    I don’t understand how British Premier League teams, some worth more than any NFL teams, can have NO commercials during the game? Sure there are moving billboards or a drop in, but they play over 90 minutes with out one stoppage for a commercial.

  49. eroschmidt says: Aug 11, 2014 5:45 PM

    I hate the network logos and all the pop ups that show up on the screen as it is now…I wish there was a “clear screen” button that removed everything except for the game

  50. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:51 PM

    Raw greed incarnate.

    No welfare for billionaires, make them pay for their own stadiums.

  51. thraiderskin says: Aug 11, 2014 5:52 PM

    The fans cry about everything, why don’t some of you shut your baby holes? Don’t like it, go outside and play a game of ‘hide and go —- yourselves.’

  52. puckthefatriots says: Aug 11, 2014 6:01 PM

    You lost me at Keith Olbermann.

  53. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 11, 2014 6:03 PM

    To be fair, Toyota did search for a non intrusive ad to air. But they quickly concluded there was no such thing.

  54. jetfan74 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:04 PM

    Didn’t get to see it so I withhold opinion. Advertising dollars is what drives a lot of companies sales here in America so I see it as, it is what it is. Change isn’t always good, and when it goes bad, they change it again. Not everyone will be happy and some don’t even give a crap. I will leave my love for Toyota out of this and I only ask that may the gods please just give us FOOTBALL!!!

  55. steves11 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:05 PM

    This is the advertisers way of fighting back against fans who record the games and then fast forward through the commercials when playing them back.

  56. slugbaitspace says: Aug 11, 2014 6:05 PM

    About 15 years ago, I was channel-surfing one afternoon and came across Mission: Impossible on TBS. It was the scene where Tom Cruise is upside down in the vault. It was an intense scene until there was a sudden “whoosh” coming from all of my speakers, and Steven Seagal suddenly pops up next to a close-up shot of Cruise’s upside-down head, and then the bottom quarter of the screen filled with info of Seagal’s movie sched.

    That was the last time I watched TBS.

  57. blackqbwhiterb says: Aug 11, 2014 6:11 PM

    Intrusive ads are no worse than intrusive political commentary by broadcasters and writers….. And maybe less annoying…. Looking at you, NBC!

  58. bobsnygiants says: Aug 11, 2014 6:17 PM

    NFL IS ALL ABOUT MONEY.

  59. johnnydoughhouk says: Aug 11, 2014 6:19 PM

    Considering how vigilant the NFL is about its branding, the fact that this idea was given an AOK is very telling of Goodall’s tone deaf greed. Expect more of this chicanery in the future, fan volk.

  60. mburkett1980 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:22 PM

    joelvis72 says:
    Aug 11, 2014 4:59 PM

    The Saints’ local broadcast had a red zone “sponsored” by “Slap Ya Mama,” a hot sauce/Cajun seasonings company. It would have been very interesting had the Saints been playing the Ravens.
    ——————————————-

    You’ll get your wish in a little over two weeks!

  61. jennstergersburnedretinas says: Aug 11, 2014 6:23 PM

    So I can’t get a comment approved that points to the fact that this site has Redskins ads while putting forward the name change agenda? Censorship? Check. Yellow journalism? Check. Total crock? Check.

  62. thereyougo2 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:35 PM

    Cannot wait for the Red Zone commercial free to begin durning regular season. Won’t watch wild card weekend or the following week because of regular TV which is commercial, kick off, commercial, a few plays and a punt, commercial, a few plays interrupted with a review and a couple of commercials etc, etc.

    Pro football is dying because of flags, reviews and commercials followed by four or five very loud talking heads to explain what you just watched.

  63. gln9213 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:38 PM

    Not sure why we should care what Keith Olbermann thinks on any subject.

  64. elgranclavero says: Aug 11, 2014 6:39 PM

    I personally will never consider buying a toyota because of the intrusiveness of this commercial

  65. wdcskins says: Aug 11, 2014 6:41 PM

    They’re just doing a pretty crap job. I watch the Cardinals, locally, and they’ve been doing this for a while. It’s never bothered me. Hey, as long as I don’t have to pay for access to the games of TV (which, if I want Thursday and Monday, I do, and I thought that sucked), then let them keep the sport funded, how they see fit.

  66. hyprcaffeinated says: Aug 11, 2014 6:42 PM

    How do you get fans back in the stadiums? Make watching the games at home annoying as f**k with ads.

  67. bostonisthebestandyouallsukk says: Aug 11, 2014 6:46 PM

    I am not sure what the bid deal is. Goodell and Robert Kraft are incredibly keen and shrewd businessmen. They are simply doing now what other sports have been for years.

  68. upperdecker19 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:53 PM

    Breaking Bad marathon on Sunday > preseason football

  69. FinFan68 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:57 PM

    pftfan says:
    Aug 11, 2014 5:14 PM
    It’s capitalism, folks. You can’t have it both ways.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Yes, we can. The problem is we are basically addicted and cannot do the one thing that would ensure this crap ends–stop watching, in droves

  70. raynman49 says: Aug 11, 2014 6:57 PM

    This will be the norm in all games very soon. Remember, $$$$$.

  71. britishraven says: Aug 11, 2014 7:02 PM

    The premierleague does have some advertising at half time but I don’t really mind that too much – it doesn’t interrupt anything to do with the game and it means I have a few minutes less of some idiot talking ‘tactics’.

    I can’t understand how the NFL needs even more commercial revenue??? This is exactly the type of thing that people won’t stand for.

  72. Ferdinand says: Aug 11, 2014 7:25 PM

    That was exactly like every Saturday Night Live skit for the past couple of decades — three times longer than it needed to be, the same bit repeated ad nauseum, no real payoff and just plain not funny.

  73. granadafan says: Aug 11, 2014 7:31 PM

    Let’s see, the NFL demands and gets billions from the networks. The networks have to recoup their money somehow, so we now have 4-5 hour games from which they used to be about 3 hours. That’s right, we have over an hour worth of commercials. Now, the greed of the NFL and the networks knows no bounds as they try more and more intrusive ads until the consumers are beaten down. We can fight back by keep objecting and make those phone calls/ emails/ Twitter to the networks. Shame on Roger and Toyota. Your free publicity backfired. Ha!

  74. sportsfan18 says: Aug 11, 2014 7:33 PM

    hrmlss says:
    Aug 11, 2014 5:03 PM
    What’s next if you tune into a Viking game by accident, they lock your TV on and to that channel?

    20 6
    Report comment
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Nope, Mark Cuban said that when you turn your TV on, it WILL be on that channel and you won’t be able to change the channel.

    They’re working on a way to keep the TV on right now too, even when you unplug it… at least until the football game is over.

  75. conormacleod says: Aug 11, 2014 7:46 PM

    How dare they try to make money while I’m watching TV for free! It’s my constitutional right to get whatever I want for free! Stupid Goodell!

  76. corvusrex96 says: Aug 11, 2014 7:48 PM

    I would be ok with on field hologram ads if the NFL eliminated all commercial breaks

  77. billh1947 says: Aug 11, 2014 7:52 PM

    Advertizing is a waste of time and money,people in America know all the big companies products and if they want or need to buy them they will if not they wont so what do those ads really do to make people really want to buy their products more,nothing at all.

  78. rcali says: Aug 11, 2014 9:06 PM

    Wait till they put the ads on the game day uniforms. They already have them on the practice jerseys. Don’t think for a second the NFL won’t eventually cash in on that one. If they are willing to have players wear hot pink for a month to make a buck they’ll ad-up the uniforms.

  79. deacon85 says: Aug 11, 2014 9:36 PM

    Olbermann is right…..wow, I never thought I’d ever type those words. Hope it never happens again.

  80. cincyfredo says: Aug 11, 2014 10:23 PM

    It’s only going to get worse as players demand more & more money. The only way to get it is for the NFL to charge the networks more & more money. The only way networks make money is to sell more & more advertising.
    CBS must have paid the most because they have the most commercials. Everytime a TD is scored, kick PAT, go to 5 minutes of commercials. Come back, kickoff, then back to 5 minutes of commercials. So you get to see about 5 seconds of action along with 10 minutes of commercials. And CBS will tell us they have the no. 1 news show, the no.1 comedy, the no.1 drama, the no.1 show on Tues & Thurs about 100 times during a game. Heck, they tell us to watch something in between every play. Its getting ridiculous. The NFL is going to ruin a good thing by their absolute GREED. Go to a game and watch the players just standing around waiting on the TV official to signal they can start playing. TV IS CONTROLLING EVERYTHING.
    And hey Dennis Leary, I don’t need to by a new Ford Pickup, and please Sam Elliot, I don’t need a new RAM, so stop telling me to buy one 100 times every Sunday !!!!

  81. indyeagle says: Aug 11, 2014 10:25 PM

    I know I sound like a prude, but I’m more concerned that I can’t watch the game with my 3, 5, 6, and 8 year olds without having two women rolling around in S&M bathing suits and calling it a Hardees/Carl’s Jr. ad.

    I think the NFL should be more ashamed of this than any “superimposed” ad it decides is ok.

  82. renbutler says: Aug 11, 2014 10:38 PM

    Some local broadcasters tried something stupid, they got backlash, and it was never going to happen in meaningful games anyway.

    So what’s the big deal?

  83. randomcommenter says: Aug 11, 2014 11:42 PM

    I’m arriving from the past to warn how annoying Olbermann can be.

  84. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 12, 2014 12:35 AM

    OMG pop up ads on TV during the games? Shoot me!

  85. daninms says: Aug 17, 2014 7:54 PM

    Glad this isn’t happening for the regular season. As one posted above this crap would drive me away.

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