Just Asking: Why does government advertise at sports events?

just asking


It was such a great weekend, the sunshine and favourable weather made for some long backyard conversations. You know the type where everyone sits around on lawn chairs solving the world’s problems and wondering how we were the only ones to think of the answers. Now once our thoughts are tested I’m certain we would be hit with reality several times over with the exception of one issue that had each of us at a loss. Why does the government spend so much money advertising at professional sports venues? In some cases the very venues our tax dollars built.

Walk into MTS Centre, Shaw Park or Investors Group Field and you can’t help but see the provincial and in some cases local governments spending our tax dollars! Granted, they don’t plaster billboards of government officials but they might as well. You see Liquor and Lotteries, MPI, Hydro, Winnipeg Transit and Recycle Everywhere. How much are we paying for this? Some of us included MTS but were reminded it’s a privately owned company no tax dollars being spent so we left them off the list.

Keep in mind it was the weekend so we did our very best to imagine costs. The huge sign Liquor and Lotteries has at IGF cost could be $200K? MPI is all over the same facility maybe $100K? What about Work Safe and Recycle Everywhere. Then think of all the pre-recorded messages played on the big screens at both IGF and MTS Centre maybe $50K? All in, we determined — remember just our guess — these government monopolies invest more than $2 million per year advertising with professional sports. Why?

The dollars being spent don’t ensure lower ticket prices. All the government support doesn’t force the players to call Manitoba home in the off-season. What is the benefit and I’m not saying there is none. People should be aware of what these government agencies are doing plus after all I believe in advertising.  We had a few season ticket holders in the group and not everyone even noticed our tax dollars hard at work in any of the facilities.

We’re told year after year we need to budget accordingly because of rising costs. The government had to increase the provincial sales tax, we didn’t have enough money. Infrastructure projects are put off, why? Not enough money in the budget. Why then do we pay millions, or even hundreds of thousands for government advertising? Think about it, does MPI need to advertise? Who in Manitoba doesn’t know you have to use MPI for insurance. What about Hydro, do they need to advertise? Do you have a choice of whom you call when you want your power turned on?

Why can’t our leaders actually lead? Eliminate unnecessary expenditures and focus the spending on improvements that improve our quality of life. People on assistance struggle and media reports they have not had an increase in their funds for years. Why not allocate the advertising dollars to a small increase? Hire three more medical professionals? Fix another road? Sorry this could go on and on and really I’m just asking why we the government isn’t more like business. When a company needs to adjust budgets they look at non-essential areas first. The government looks at tax increases. Why?

Kevin Klein is President and CEO of MyToba News. The former publisher and CEO of the Winnipeg Sun, Kevin has spent several years in Canadian media working in newspapers, radio and television. A proud and passionate citizen of Winnipeg and Manitoba, Kevin is excited to bring you news, pictures and information on the many wonderful charity groups in our province. If you have an event you want us to know about, email Kevin at kevin@mytoba.ca and follow him on Twitter @kevinkleinwpg.
[related_post themes="flat" id="28185"]