A day after announcing a novel promotion to put advertisements on bases next month, Major League Baseball reversed course Thursday and eliminated that part of its marketing deal for "Spider-Man 2."
"The bases were an extremely small part of this program," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer. "However, we understand that a segment of our fans was uncomfortable with this particular component and we do not want to detract from the fan's experience in any way."
Under the original plan, red-and-yellow ads were to appear on bases — but not home plate — during games from June 11-13. The plan began to crumble Wednesday night when the New York Yankees said they would only allow the ads on bases during batting practice — and only for one game that weekend.
While the logos will not be put on bases in big league games, it's still not certain whether they will appear during warm-ups.
The ads were to appear as part of a deal involving Major League Baseball Properties, Marvel Studios and Sony Inc., the parent of Columbia Pictures, which is releasing the movie June 30. The promotion will go on with giveaways and other ads at ballparks that weekend.
"We never saw this coming, the reaction the fans had," said Geoffrey Ammer, president of worldwide marketing for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. "Some people thought it was a great idea, but others saw it as sacrilegious."
Ammer said his group approached baseball about pulling the bases promotion.
Many baseball purists denounced the plan, including Fay Vincent, a former baseball commissioner and former president of Columbia Pictures. Having watched jockeys earn the right to have ads on their uniforms for the Kentucky Derby, some thought it was a step too far in the increasing commercialization of sports.
By Ronald Blum