October 2, 2015

"Selfie Girls" & MLB's Ongoing Alienation Of Its Audience

Diamondbacks Announcers' Selfie Shaming Needlessly Alienates Younger Fans
Tanya Bondurant, SB Nation
Major League Baseball has been extremely tone deaf when it comes to how its audience consumes its product. The generation of younger fans are glued to their cell phones, making it silly that MLB cracks down so hard on GIFs and Vines that make their product seem more appealing to a generation viewing everything through a smartphone screen. ...

The older generation seems to think this is somehow detracting from the natural enjoyment of life and take the time to criticize the practice at seemingly every opportunity. It's a generational divide that comes across as bitter and superior. Couple that generational divide with a stereotype that young women are at games to be seen for Instagram, or because their boyfriends dragged them there against their will instead of "being a good fan" by hanging on every pitch and you have the fuel for a mean-spirited rant. Arizona Diamondbacks announcers Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume decided to perpetuate this stereotype when they took two minutes to mock a group of women taking selfies at the ballpark during the fourth inning of Wednesday's game.

Having a group of women taken to task by the broadcast booth during a meaningless game in late September for enjoying themselves is pretty silly. ... Ironically, this mockery took place right as the broadcast team was pitching the T-Mobile Fan Photo promotion that encouraged fans to send in their pictures from the ballpark to be used on the broadcast. ... Why would anyone want to participate in this promotion if they know they might be mocked for it?
On "Selfie Girls" And Alienating Your Fans
Nicole Haase, SB Nation
Are those ladies hurting anyone? Are they interfering with anyone else's ability to watch and enjoy the game? Are they interrupting the game of play?

The answer to all of those questions is "NO" and that's the simple answer to why I don't give a flying frog's bottom about how those ladies (or women. But not girls. They're in college, stop being pejorative) chose to spend their evening. ...

When I'm interrupted multiple times an inning for folks to go get food and beer and head to the bathroom - where's Brenly to mock how those folks aren't really actually there to watch a game? ...

Let's be real. The ASU ladies were not initially targeted and broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona because they were taking selfies. Whether it's cameramen or producers, someone behind the scenes of every sports broadcast makes a conscious effort to put young, pretty women both on TV and on the scoreboard. As Justin Bopp put it, this silent objectification of the women who attend their games is odd and uncomfortable. It's totally unnecessary, but unfortunately prevalent.

Female fans have been marginalized, sexualized, objectified and ignored for far too long.


softserve solutions said...

I went to a game at Fenway this year, and was startled at how many free souvenirs they gave to my son. "It's an investment in the future," one of the employees responded at my disbelief.

More like too little, too late. This league is easily the worst when it comes to being paid off by cable companies for exclusive right to present their product in the dominant medium of the time (video). With that comes the exclusivity of baseball to a product hardly anybody under 30 even considers anymore. First off, many families are reluctant to spent a thousand or more just to get sports telecasts, which is what cable is banking on. Second, even in families that can afford cable, cable TV is a last-resort entertainment destination for young people. If an MLB team could accept top-billing on Netflix for a season, they'd be the most popular team in the league, but since they would receive only a fraction of what cable companies will accept to hold their telecasts ransom these days, you won't see it.

So why wouldn't they mock the future, especially young women? The broadcasters know they've been negotiated out of the future, so all they can do is make fun of it.

laura k said...

I agree with much of what softserve solutions says above. But let's not fool ourselves, this is about one thing only: sexism. Professional sports is a boys' club on every level.

Female fans are fine when they're 90 years old and imagined as an eccentric who listens to every game on the radio. But real flesh and blood young women are there to be objectified and mocked.

It's not like it was somehow better in the pre-cable days.

laura k said...

I remember one time during a postseason broadcast - I wish I could remember which game it was - one of those "meet a fan in the stands" fluff pieces. They found an older woman who was scoring the game on her own scoresheet, wearing a Red Sox cap and pins. The announcer says, "Did you ever think you'd see the team this close to winning a World Series?"

She looked at him like he was nuts, and said, "We've been closer than this. In 1986 we all but had the trophy and lost it. Don't you remember?"

The announcer was totally thrown, his whole approach now useless. He moved the mic back to him and barely let her say another word.

We were loving it.

FenFan said...

On the wire this morning...

3 female journalists stopped from entering Jags locker room

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A male usher stopped three female journalists from entering the [Jacksonville] Jaguars locker room after their loss to the [Indianapolis] Colts because they were women, asking other men if it was OK before finally allowing them inside.

Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports and Joey Chandler of the Tuscaloosa News both said on Twitter on Sunday night that they were not allowed inside the locker room after Indianapolis' 16-13 overtime win until the usher first checked to make sure the women were allowed to enter. The women were at the game as part of the Associated Press Sports Editors sports media diversity weekend.

Liam Pravarde said...

Frankly, I would be surprised if this alienates young people. Now they know going to a game could get them on television if they’re just not paying enough attention!

Seriously though, I thought it was funny that it seemed the entire section were more interested in their phones and taking selfies than the game. I also thought the commentary went on long but when you gotta fill up three and half hours of airtime you’re probably going to say something stupid once in a while.