Why do sportswriters give free pimpage to bowl sponsors?

I don’t see how ESPN gets paid for doing this, but they do it.  Right here, we have Ted Miller calling every bowl game by its full sponsor name.  Miller is in general a very capable reporter, and I’m a regular reader, but this baffles me.

Some would say that the game should be called by its full name (whatever it is this year) on principle.  Why is that a principle? If you are going to watch the Rose Bowl (which is not being played properly this year, very sadly), you presumably do not care whether it’s sponsored by Coors, Berkshire Hathaway or Joe’s Quikki-Mart.  You care who wins, or if it’s an entertaining game.  Surely ESPN is not getting money to make its writers do it, which would mean that the worst that could happen would be that Rotten.com (or whoever is the sponsor) writes them a nastygram, and ESPN answers, “Pay up if you want advertising.  You bought the bowl, not the media reporting.”  Instead, Miller continues to do this, as he has done in years past.

I do not get it. Unless it’s a friend, or they pay me, I don’t advertise for anyone if I can help it.  Buying a new car? Won’t drive it off the lot with the dealer’s license plate frame in place.  Wear an Old Navy shirt? You’re kidding, I hope.  Old Navy should pay me to wear their shirts, not charge me for advertising.

Maybe Miller is ordered by the brass to do this.  Maybe he just adores our precious major corporations.  Either way, to me, it detracts from his journalism.  Because as far as I’m concerned, UW is playing Baylor in the Alamo Bowl.  I don’t even want to know who sponsors it.  I don’t care.


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