MLB, Sony Scale Back ‘Spider-Man 2’ Promotion

LOS ANGELES Major League Baseball and Sony said they will scale back a June 11-13 promotion for the latter’s Spider-Man 2 movie. The companies no longer intend to decorate bases in ballparks with spiderweb designs. The plan had caused considerable public outcry and debate.

Other elements of the marketing tie-in, such as ads in ballparks and spiderweb logos in on-deck circles, will remain.

On Wednesday, advocacy group Commercial Alert had called for a boycott of Sony products and films as a form of protest. “It’s time for baseball fans to stand up to the greedy corporations that are insulting us and our national pastime,” said Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, in a statement issued on Wednesday. “We urge everyone not to buy Sony products, and not to see Sony movies, especially Spider-Man 2. How low will baseball sink? Next year, will they replace the bats with long Coke bottles and the bases with big hamburger buns?” Ruskin asked.

The group was not impressed by the decision to sweep the bases clean, and Ruskin on Friday insisted that MLB and Sony, “are still insulting the fans and our national pastime. There shouldn’t be ads on the ballfield, period.”

Commercial Alert is still asking consumers “to bear in mind Sony’s degradation of our national pastime” when they consider whether or not to buy Sony products or see Sony movies, Ruskin said.

MLB and Sony did not returned calls seeking comment.

The group said it sent a letter last month to MLB commissioner Bud Selig protesting the placement of ads on baseball uniforms for the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays during their season opening series in Tokyo.

—Adweek staff report

This story updates an item posted on May 5 with news that the plan has been scaled back.