W.J. Astore: Major Sporting Events and Air Shows — Too Corporatized, Too Controlling, Too Much

Vox Populi

Been to a major American sporting event lately? If not, consider yourself fortunate. The NFL and NASCAR are already over-the-top when it comes to manufactured noise, exaggerated pyrotechnics, and wall-to-wall corporate advertisements. Even my beloved sport of baseball has fallen victim to sensory saturation and techniques of crowd control that would make a dictator proud. The grace and spontaneity of America’s pastime is increasingly lost in Jumbotrons, overly loud and canned music, and choreographed cheering.

With all the Jumbotrons and other video screens everywhere, people are no longer focused on the game as it takes place on the field, and perhaps turning to their neighbor for an explanation if they miss a play or nuance. Instead, people look to the screens to follow the game. Indeed, sight lines at some seats at Yankee Stadium are so poor that the only way you can watch the action on the field is…

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One thought on “W.J. Astore: Major Sporting Events and Air Shows — Too Corporatized, Too Controlling, Too Much

  1. Mr. Astore, I must agree with you to a prominent degree on the pyrotechnica which swirls around our NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL stadia these days… There seems to be a ‘more’ philosophy to the goings-on, never mind that there is no understanding of a crowd’s satiety point with the spectacle and noise. The NBA and NHL are the worst offenders, mainly since their arenas are the small ones of the major sports. One can’t get away from it in the 20,000 seaters; it’s absolutely unpalatable, and terribly jarring. And for my discretionary spending nickel, I wouldn’t throw a WOODEN one at an NFL game, as I believe that sport has become no less than a desecration and a disaster. All of which brings us to MLB: I can imagine that Yankee Stadium would be on the so-called (read: clichéd) cutting edge of the phantasmagoric revolution. It is, after all, New York, which is to translate, ahead of the field. However, I recently (late April) went to a ballgame at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, and I can report that, in middle America, there has been some success — moderate to strong success, actually — in holding the chimerical twins, exploding light and overbearing noise, at bay. I only rarely was made uncomfortable by any display…maybe two or three times the entire night. Let’s hope that the cities and ballparks which do not conform to the sensory riot will be the wave which pushes back against its continuing — from which that tide can ebb. Now: If only the Cincinnati team were as successful on the field as the team directors have been at keeping the game pastoral…!

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