Unverified Voracity Requires Kerosene Comment Count

Brian August 22nd, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Kill it with fire.Last year some horrible, horrible hip-hop artist whose songs should be titled "Making You Want To Die Part VII," "Making You Want To Die Part VIII," and so forth and so on, released some fake pump up video that momentarily panicked the fanbase into thinking we'd Freekbassed ourselves.

[By MGoLaw every mention of We Are ND must be accompanied by We Are ND:

We remain in full compliance.]

We had not. Nor have we this year when some horrible, horrible hard rock outfit attempted to pull the same trick with their song "Making You Want To Die Part IX". Should I even link this monstrosity? I will but only if everyone signs a blood oath to never support the people responsible for this.

/blood oath signing music

All right. It's here. The worst part about all of this is that someday the Assistant Vice Associate Athletic Director For Making Michigan Stadium Wicked Sweet is going to hear one of these things and think it is a good idea instead of a malformed baby we should leave on the mountain to die.

That last part is not a joke. Multiple people have sent Lucy Ann Lance's interview with the new chief marketing officer along because of an ominous passage towards the end of it.

The middle of the article has an extensive discussion of ads in Michigan Stadium and how they will never happen. While I'm grateful for that I wonder if the guys in charge of this stuff have any idea why that's important to the fanbase. I don't think they do:

Lucy Ann: Any other changes that you have coming out regarding branding of the University of Michigan?

Lochmann: Event presentation and how people experience the brand at our events is a big part of building the brand, and we are in the midst of hiring some event presentation folks to really focus on making it a wow experience for our fans who go to basketball, hockey, football, soccer. It’s not just a PA announcement.

Lucy Ann: More entertainment?

Lochmann: Exactly. We really want to make all Michigan Athletics a destination for sports fans.

"It's not just a PA announcement?" Do I have to refer a guy who actually works in the athletic department to the ten-year-old kid who blew his mind at last year's Illinois game? Shouldn't the person in charge of branding Michigan understand it? Michigan does not have "just PA announcements." It has one of the grand old men of the PA business, Carl Grapentine.

The primary reason Michigan fans don't want ads in the stadium is because they distract from the game. The chief marketing officer says he won't put ads in the stadium but looks to "really focus on making it a wow experience."

It already is a wow experience. There are a 110,000 people in a stadium watching Desmond Howard or Charles Woodson or Denard Robinson. Wow has been accomplished. Wow is also accomplished at Yost. Wow is not at Crisler, which is by far the chintziest Michigan sports venue. Make the connection. The chief marketing officer's primary duty should be to recognize and preserve the parts of the Michigan tradition that are unique, not turn everything into a February Knicks game.

I envy Notre Dame fans in this department. They have an iron grip on what they want their stadium experience to be like. It's a little weird that it does not include massive HD replays, but there is no threat someone will promise FREEEEEEE PIZZZZZAAA or play Let The Bodies Hit The Floor at Notre Dame Stadium. There would be a gentle, friendly riot.

Bo finishes. Via Wolverine Historian, a one-hour Michigan Replay special on Bo's last season:

Grimly grim under a steel-grim sky. So you're just skipping along in this article about Mike Hart's initial foray into coaching at Eastern Michigan when Ron English pops up and slaps you with this baby:

“Mike’s strengths were never his physical abilities, they were always his mental abilities, his emotional abilities, his character. That’s what I’ve always loved about him. He’s a no-brainer in this profession as long as he can deal with the hours, the commitment, the movement and the disappointment. There’s a lot of disappointment in this profession.”

English's perspective is informed by being head coach of a school where going 2-10 gets you a "keep up the good work," of course. Pair that with Eastern's gray concrete stadium and it's like being the head coach of North Korea's football team. Watch out for lightning.

And here's everything. Burnt Orange Nation has collected every nasty bit of PR to befall college football in the past year, getting up to 23 separate incidents (Michigan's major-ish violations are included). This is my favorite one:

13) Unranked UConn Cant Sell Fiesta Bowl tickets (December 2010)

In a further indictment of the current system, there were a flood of stories related to schools being unable to sell their allotment of tickets for bowl games.  Most notably, UConn resorted to begging fans to buy Fiesta Bowl tickets.  Not surprisingly, it didnt work.  Later calculations placed their financial losses for the game at $1.66 million.  Their actual losses were much higher, as OU kicked their ass and then their coach fled for Maryland.  Good times.

The bowl system has successful shoved all the uncertainty onto the college programs they are parasites on, even up to the BCS level.

Etc.: Bleacher Report hires Dan Levy, Dan Rubenstein, Josh Zerkle, and Bethlehem Shoals? What is going on? Gary Danielson declares "landlocked" MSU and Purdue the toughest gigs in the Big Ten. Indiana? Or have people given up on them entirely? He's also a superconference believer, FWIW.



August 22nd, 2011 at 12:30 PM ^

I can't for the life of me understand how anyone can think getting FREE PIZZA is ever a bad thing. (Free) Hungry Howies and (Hail To) The Victors? Match made in heaven!!


August 22nd, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

along with every pizza* I've been cajoled into eating in Michigan is an abomination and should be forced to use a different name, like Champagne vs sparkling wine. This alone is reason enough!

*Pizza House is edible, but "Chicago style" is a different story, although my chi friends tend to dislike PH as much as I do NYPD.

/New Yorker rant

Also, this is Michigan.

panthera leo fututio

August 22nd, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

The problem with the give-away (and especially the aesthetics with which it's carried out) is that it's the sort of thing that's designed to distract from the game itself and coax a moody 12-year-old into giving a shit for the duration of a time-out break.

It's very arguable whether that sort of tactic is appropriate in Crisler, but it's definitely out of place in Michigan Stadium.

Everyone Murders

August 22nd, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

>The chief marketing officer's primary duty should be to recognize and preserve the parts of the Michigan tradition that are unique, not turn everything into a February Knicks game.>

Therein lies the rub. You don't need a chief marketing officer to recognize and preserve tradition. Any assistant AD worth their salt could do that.

The problem is in having a chief marketing officer in the first place. A big part of Michigan's brand is the affectation that we don't have a brand at all (an affectation I wholly embrace). It's really very zen, if you don't look too closely.

MI Expat NY

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^

Yep, as long as their is a chief marketing officer, there's a "threat" to gameday atmosphere at the big 3 michigan sports venues.  After all, the person in charge of marketing isn't going to be content trying to get a few hundred fans to shell out a few bucks for a soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, gymanstics, tennis, volleyball, etc. game.  

The other reason why this fight is being had is that football and basketball games are no longer designed for the enjoyment of the fans in the stadium, they are designed for television audiences (and really, for television broadcasters).  Anything added to the gameday experience isn't meant to be a distraction from the game, it's meant to be a distraction from the nothingness that is commercial breaks.  Ever since television money became huge and schools had to sanction longer and more frequent commercial breaks there's a sense that something has to be provided to fans that actually paid to be there during these breaks.  So, as long as there are commercial breaks after a TD and after the ensuing kickoff, and so long as there are "TV timeouts" every four minutes in college basketball, there's going to be a greater and greater pull towards mid-game "entertainment."

South Bend Wolverine

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:47 PM ^

"Ever since television money became huge and schools had to sanction longer and more frequent commercial breaks there's a sense that something has to be provided to fans that actually paid to be there during these breaks.  So, as long as there are commercial breaks after a TD and after the ensuing kickoff, and so long as there are "TV timeouts" every four minutes in college basketball, there's going to be a greater and greater pull towards mid-game "entertainment.""

That's why we have a goram marching band.  Seriously, have you ever heard anyone leave a Michigan game saying, "man, I really wish the band didn't play so much.  I'm really sick of the band."?

Ed Shuttlesworth

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:55 PM ^

Yes, we have a marching band and a damn good one.

I think what Landon's getting at is that, now that the stadium truly is most important as a TV studio, there's a lot more time to fill.   Even though football games have been televised forever, with more passing, more TV timeouts, instant replay, etc., games that routinely used to be over in 3 hours now almost always take at least 4. 

That extra hour of time just screams out to "chief marketing officer" types to have something "done" with it.  What they "do" with it almost always sucks, but there you have it.

MI Expat NY

August 22nd, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

For the record, I didn't intend to say that the "solutions" were worthwhile.  They're not.  I'd rather listen to the Band, even if you can sometimes barely hear them, then listen to a PA announcer provide play-by-play for an imaginary race on the jumbotron.  All I'm saying is that before, when TV was just a side consideration to the game, and commercials barely, if at all, extended the "dead time" within the stadium, nobody was coming up with ideas to fill the time.  We had cheerleaders and the band.  Now it's different, and there's a reason that we're one of the last fan bases fighting the intrusion of other forms of entertainment into the game day atmosphere.


August 22nd, 2011 at 1:49 PM ^

"Ever since television money became huge and schools had to sanction longer and more frequent commercial breaks there's a sense that something has to be provided to fans that actually paid to be there during these breaks."

I disagree with this. 

When I attend games, I don't pay to see the "entertainment" during breaks, nor do I expect my money to pay for anything other than the game itself.  I pay to see the game.  I don't mind the breaks as it gives just a minute to sit and rest.

I imagine this is expectation of the majority of Michigan fans.

EDIT:  I also echo what's said above, we have the band and they are damn good!

Blue in Yarmouth

August 22nd, 2011 at 2:24 PM ^

Jus because you (and many other UM fans) don't need that time filled doesn't mean his point doesn't have merit.When is the last time DB or the marketing people asked you what you wanted? They are not thinking about what you (as a fan) want, but what they think would better market the "brand" and how they could make more money. He isn't saying this is a good idea or that he agree's with it, just that it is likely what they are thinking.


August 22nd, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

Still amazed that a draw the line in the sand, no advertising in the Stadium article still gets run over with a comb to find some negative in it. Ah, Michigan fans.

I'm pretty sure I have that Michigan Replay on VHS somewhere.... (College kids, ask your parents).

And I'm not sure disappointment in the college coaching profession is limited to Eastern Michigan.  See - University of Michigan; Last 3 years.


August 22nd, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

I mean, it's wasn't a knock on anyone in particular. I'm sure the previous staff was WAY more disappointed than anyone on here. And at least half of them weren't considered bumblers, but pretty darn good at what they did. It happens. It's the nature of sport, not just EMU. Even as fans...what do we remember most, burned like fire into our memories? Yes, passes against PSU with no time on the clock stick with us...but I bet those memories are never as sweet as the pain we still feel from (name your own game so you don't blame me for bringing it up) failure.  You only go undefeated with nothng to regret every so rarely, otherwise there's always something you wish could have gone better.  And even then, you can do all that, and still have something to lament.  See: 1997 Nebraska; bullshit.


August 22nd, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

I live in Seattle and have had season tickets to the Seattle Sounders since the franchise began playing in 2009.  I am seriously considering not renewing for a fourth year, however, because of the obnoxious, constant PA system.  Before the game, at halftime, after the game, whenever possible--they play some loud PA annoucement that makes it almost impossible to think, let alone have a conversation with the people around you.  It's like the circus.  First there is the video-game race on the Jumbotron, then they are rolling fake dice down sections 107 and 108, then they are congratulating the Bellingham Knitting Circle on second place in the regional mitten-off. 

Frankly, I enjoy UM football games a hell of a lot more than MLS soccer, and if I still lived in Ann Arbor and was fortunate enough to have tickets, I probably wouldn't give them up due to annoying PA noise.  But anyone who thinks that stuff adds, rather than detracts, from the game experience is on crack.  The only value it may have is to keep children and other people who may be at-the-game-despite-not-being-actually-interested-in-the-game entertained.

One hope is that if the people who live in the neighborhoods south of Main and elsewhere around the stadium complain enough, they can keep the PA noise to its present pleasant minimum.  I used to live in a house on John street and from the second floor you could hear the PA system lout & clear.  If there was pro-sports-style PA stuff going on, it would have been intolerable.

Wolverine 73

August 22nd, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

Aren't people buying enough t-shirts or caps or sweatshirts?  There don't seem to be any empty seats at the stadium, and people seem to arrive decked out in M gear.  Most people would conclude the fans are happy and like things the way they are.  I personally loathe what has happened to pro basketball over the last 20 years (and don't even watch it any more), and what is happening to a lesser extent to the NFL and the Major Leagues.  If the games are good, who cares about the rest of the stuff?  If the games suck, who cares about the rest of the stuff?

South Bend Wolverine

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

"I personally loathe what has happened to pro basketball over the last 20 years (and don't even watch it any more)"

Amen.  I can't even fathom how annoying it must be to have loud, canned music playing *while the game is going on.*  I mean, if I were a player, I have to imagine that I'd absolutely hate that.  I guess you get used to it or whatever, but still.

Of course, the NBA is also unwatchable because defense has been made illegal by rule, by that's a different matter.

matty blue

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:00 PM ^

anyone who uses the phrase "building the brand" with reference to michigan sports needs to be fired yesterday.

we already have a brand, you fuckwits.  use it.


August 22nd, 2011 at 1:00 PM ^

I have to think that is the toughest job (across all sports programs).  You are in an urban area where your limited fanbase is outnumbered by about 15 other schools.  The facilities aren't great and the donor base is pretty much limited to alumni.  Indiana gets limited support because they stink, but loads of people still care about IU and IU athletics (they still outdrew Northwestern by about 5,000 per game last year).  If the Hoosiers were good, I think the support would appear instantly.  Maybe the quality academics provides a unique edge, but I would think those kids would choose a school like Stanford over Northwestern every time.


August 22nd, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

unlike the other 11 in the conference, which may not seem like that big of a deal, but it affects things like "so hey we don't have a scholarship this year, but you can certainly walk on if you've got an extra $55K lying around the house."

IU has never really been capital-G good, so there's no way to test your hypothesis, but in the '80s when Mallory had them going to bowl games regularly, attendance still wasn't that great, partly because Memorial Stadium is small and partly because it sucks. (I haven't been to a game since the construction was done, but before that, it was just a smallish concrete thing, no real character or anything.) And partly because it isn't basketball.

Danielson's just mentioning Purdue out of wishful thinking, rather than admitting that Tiller's been the only decent coach there in 40 years. (Jim Young had three years of Mark Herrmann and two years of not-Mark Herrmann.) I suppose he has a point if he's talking about an environment where it's difficult to succeed: Purdue ADs seem to be fans of doing things cheaply and expecting them to work anyway.


August 22nd, 2011 at 1:01 PM ^

Here in Raleigh, the Carolina Hurricanes have a similarly dreadful arena-rock theme song. The chorus is "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let's go, C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let's go, C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let's go Canes." The first line of the first verse is "Carolina has a fun hockey team". I cringe and apologize every time I bring my Red Wings friends into the arena and that songs starts to play. If Michigan ever adopts anything like this, I really will want to die.

Desmonlon Edwoodson

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

If halftime entertainment means I can get through the bathroom line, get my wife a pretzel and a soda, and get back to my seat before kickoff, then bring on the frisbee dogs.


Seriously though, in terms of basketball halftime...more frisbee dogs.  I'm not even kidding.


And if they want to  put together a stuffed wolverine to snuggle with kids at women's basketball...Who the hell cares?  Serously?


For the record, props to whoever put the Michigan music video together.  I dont think we need to be playing it on the scoreboard, but in terms of random internet pump up video I thought it was very good, and rather dickish of Brian to tear it down.

STW P. Brabbs

August 22nd, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

My mom was telling me about this on the phone. she was really excited about it. I'm dreading the conversation where she brings it up again and I have to tell her what I thought about it.

The only reason it's not We Are ND is because it's strictly a montage (and it's shorter). This is Not Good.


August 22nd, 2011 at 1:16 PM ^

So the bands at halftime aren't good enough?  I guess neither are the cheerleaders, dance team nor the on-field guests.

If the PA announcements become more than "Don't trash the Big House" and we start seeing mascot races, I'm calling for this guy's head.

Go figure this is coming from a guy who has been to 1(!!!!) Michigan game in his life!

Ed Shuttlesworth

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:27 PM ^

Doesn't matter that the guy doesn't know anything about Michigan. (**) It's catechismic to guys like Brandon that if you've "managed" one "brand," you can "manage" any.    Mediocre middlebrow pizza, direct mail coupons, a pro sports team, one of the world's most renowned institutions of higher learning -- what's the difference????

(**) Oops, sorry.  He once saw a couple suburban Jersey guys wearing Michigan t-shirts when they were cutting the grass.   My bad.

Bando Calrissian

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

I'm getting this vision of sideline reporter-type marketing girls given a microphone and a camera to the megatrons doing in-game promotions, games, and interviews with fans during commercial breaks.  Flashy lights.  Eye-blinding graphics.  Lameness abounding.

Close your eyes and turn up Frank and Jim on the radio headset, click the heels together.  There's No Place Like Home!  

turd ferguson

August 22nd, 2011 at 2:03 PM ^

I'm totally on board for a mascot and a gameday atmosphere that draws heavily upon that mascot... as long as said mascot is an artist's rendition of Marques Slocum's fuck lion.


August 22nd, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

is that they confuse consumers for customers. while FREEE PIZZZAAAA and mascots might fire up the 12 year olds, the 12 year olds do not pay PSLs or ticket prices or parking. while my mom and her ilk may love dancing to "old time rock n roll" and "shout" during the game, they are not the ones forking over the cash, they just get the crappy game tickets in september before it gets too cold. and for every screaming, hyper 12 year old who will remember a five hour period in the stadium as "the day i almost got a t-shirt" and for every dancing mom who tells her frieds "i danced, it was so silly!" there is some guy with his arms crossed and the palm of his hand on his forehead, pleading quietly for the game to get underway.

/i know, sexist, agist, all that. there are a lot of die hard ladies out there, so this is aimed at the other 98%


August 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

who are Iowa State grads to the Michigan-Iowa game (They weren't so much rooting for Michigan as they were rooting against Iowa and Ricky Stanzi - no complaints here). Their college football experience was limited mainly to Big 12 games but they said that game and the atmosphere was by far the most exciting one that they'd been to. This point falls in line with what most people think - its the fact that when you get 110k people cheering in unison for the same team its pretty awesome. Nobody gets pumped up bc you blast in some rock songs over the PA. Keep that stuff in the NBA, let us have our band and the cheers of the fans.


August 22nd, 2011 at 2:41 PM ^

Bo's Last game in the Big Bouse was my very first game at Michigan stadium.   I was 8, and we won.  It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  This video was epic.  You rock.  Know this... you rock.


August 22nd, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

It's videos like this that I point to as evidence that Dave Brandon (as much better as he is than Bill Martin) has been influenced more by his many years in the corporate world than his four short years under Bo.

That, or he's another middle-aged guy who just doesn't know the diference between cool and corny. One or the other.