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Volume 20 No. 42
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SportsNet New York taking its gospel to Yankees fans with campaign

The rivalry between the Mets and Yankees is always smoldering in New York, but it has cooled in recent years, since the Mets haven’t fielded a winning team since 2008. But this season’s brand campaign for the Mets’ SportsNet New York regional sports network should rekindle competitive sparks between the two. It includes a takeover of the Bronx subway stop at 161st Street and River Avenue — yes, the Yankee Stadium stop.

To be sure, there won’t be any Mets branding during July and August, when SNY plans its “station domination,” an accepted industry term for ad buys that envelop a transit stop. SNY’s campaign is squarely behind “Geico SportsNite,” its nightly local sports wrap show.

Sports memorabilia is pushed to the edge in SNY’s campaign.
The TV campaign artfully employs a collection of sports memorabilia to push a tune-in message for the show and reiterate SNY’s positioning that it’s the preferred destination, not just for Mets devotees, but for fans of all of New York’s pro teams.

In four TV ads breaking in early May from Real Art, a bobblehead, licensed toothbrush, sports-themed cake and aquarium ornament express their disdain for fans that watch TV newscasts, national sports nets, or even rival MSG Network, for their nightly fix of Big Apple sports news.

A forlorn bobblehead in pinstripes and an “NY” cap bemoans his owner’s habit of getting “sports from the weather lady,” then pushes himself off a window ledge. In another ad, a basketball player-shaped cake has the same complaint. A New York Jets-logoed electric toothbrush decries his owner’s preference for MSG Network (“the channel that seems to think there are only two New York teams”) before vibrating itself off the sink and into the toilet bowl. An aquarium ornament bubbles disdainfully as its owner watches a national sports highlights show, a la “SportsCenter,” instead of “SportsNite.” “Get Your New York Sports Here” remains the tag for the network, which adds a line advising fans, “Keep Your Sports Stuff Happy” by watching “SportsNite.”

“Anybody can say they are New York sports,” said SNY President Steve Raab. “This is to get the point across that we are where New York sports are covered comprehensively.”

The TV portion of the campaign runs for a month on local broadcast and cable outlets, including MLB Network, NBC Sports Network, Cartoon Network, FX, Comedy Central and even some Yankees games on New York’s WPIX.

SNY’s station domination at the Yankee Stadium subway stop will feature truncated versions of the campaign during July and August. One reads, “Don’t bum out your bobblehead by getting your sports from the weather lady.”

“We had to think about whether Yankees fans would accept this messaging,” said Marie DeParis, SNY’s vice president of marketing and business development, “but we think it’s clear that it’s not going up against them.”