Nothing says “football” quite like Wendy’s

It’s waaaay better than fast food.® It’s Wendy’s

Football fans, be prepared to hear that phrase over and over and over again as ESPN announced yesterday (and AdAge is reporting) that Wendy’s will become the official sponsor of “Football Fridays”.

What, exactly, are “Football Fridays”, you ask?  Well, according to the article:

“Football Friday presented by Wendy’s” will include a full suite of football-related content that will run across ESPN and ESPN2, as well as ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile, ESPN360.com, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN audio. Wendy’s commercials will run during every show it sponsors as well.

The program will be supported by a co-branded 30-second spot, and Wendy’s Football Friday programming will include placement on shows including “SportsCenter,” “First Take,” “College Football Live,” “NFL Live,” and the TV and radio broadcasts of both “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and “The Herd With Colin Cowherd.”

Other Wendy’s placements will include video content on ESPN.com, full-page integrations in ESPN The Magazine throughout the season and events such as the 10-city Gridiron Tour, ESPN The Magazine’s annual on-campus celebration of football fandom. ESPN.com will also have a dedicated Football Friday section.

Now, I have nothing against Wendy’s – one of the tastier fast food (wait, waaaay better than fast food) options.  And, as this “breaking news” is featured in AdAge, I can appreciate the work by all involved to create a campaign that has resonance for consumers and which helps increase exposure for the Wendy’s brand on a broad scale, something that they appear to have struggled with mightily in the years since their founder, Dave Thomas, passed away.

Wendy's - not only the Official Hamburger of NCAA® Football, but now the official sponsor of ESPN's "Football Fridays"

Wendy's - not only the Official Hamburger of NCAA® Football, but now the official sponsor of ESPN's "Football Fridays"

Unfortunately, though, it seems to me to be another nail in the coffin created years ago by ESPN (notably owned by Disney) to make the entire concept of sports nothing more than a vehicle to create revenue.  Where there was once amazement and awe at the performances of the teams and athletes that they covered, now ESPN aims to “own, leverage, and build” concepts that treat sports as nothing more than filler to marketers.

This is not a trend – it is now a fait accompli by ESPN.  Other networks engaged in the broadcasting of sports are complicit in this corporatization as they aim to keep up with what ESPN has created.

Consider this post to be nothing more than a cathartic acknowledgement of what ESPN hath wrought as “The Worldwide Leader In Sports”.  There is no going back for sports fans and no competitor that is going to match the depth and reach of ESPN for the foreseeable future.

So, with a sigh, I will quickly get used to “Football Friday presented by Wendy’s”, as will you.  Of course, if you find yourself with strange cravings for the Baconator® this fall, you’ll know why.

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~ by acm213 on September 1, 2009.

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