Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Column: Marketing mayhem

The+Los+Angeles+Lakers+%28very+ugly%29+in-season+tournament+court.
Credit: NBA
The Los Angeles Lakers’ (very ugly) in-season tournament court.

If you haven’t seen the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament courts, they’re… not pretty.

For whatever reason, the NBA found it necessary to add graphics and bright colors to the courts. I’m sure they were meant to be fun viewership draws, but I really don’t understand who thought it was a good idea.

The odd colors make it difficult at times to see the actual lines on the court, and worse, the game itself has been affected by the paint. According to the Sports Business Journal, multiple players have slipped on the new courts, which seem to be slicker than standard ones.

Obviously that has a pretty large impact on the game, and I think this marks the exact moment that marketing culture in sports went too far.

I’m all for sports teams and leagues having marketing programs – their goal is to make money. But really, these programs should never affect the game.

Take MLB’s City Connect program as an example: each team had an alternate uniform designed with some connection to their home city in mind. These uniforms (for the most part) looked good, held some sort of significance and, most importantly, didn’t affect the game.

Uniforms and playing surfaces differ in another way, too: you can make money off of selling uniforms.

I don’t claim to be a marketing expert, but even I can see that the NBA made a really bad decision.

The new courts have had a tangibly negative impact on the way the game is played, don’t make the league any money and are just plain ugly.

It might be too late for the NBA to stop using these courts this year, but they should not make a return next year.

Matter of fact, the rest of professional sports should take these courts as an example: marketing endeavors are okay, as long as they don’t impact the way the game is played.

That’s not to say that leagues shouldn’t try to be creative: after a certain amount of time, the same old “let’s get new alternate uniforms” shtick loses impact.

Swings like the one the NBA took on these courts are vital to keeping things interesting, but there has to be some form of quality control. Someone has to stop and ask if the paint will obscure the three point line, or if it will make the court have less friction.

So keep trying new ways to draw fans or make money, but for the love of god, don’t let them affect your sport. After all, people turn on basketball games to watch people play basketball, not some neon yellow Lakers court.

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About the Contributor
Jake Pfeiffer, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Pfeiffer is a senior, entering his third year on the Central Times staff, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Jake joined CT as a sophomore because he wanted to write news, but since then he has grown to love just about every element of journalism. While it is rare to see Jake anywhere other than the CT office, occasionally you can find him captaining Central’s debate team, watching baseball, listening to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts or drowning in college applications.
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