It was really strange when FS1 ads showed up all over New York subway cars appearing to trash the Knicks. As word spread throughout social media, there were a lot more questions than answers. It turns out that it was part of some kind of “Embrace Debate” style campaign with one side of the subway giving hot takes bashing the Knicks and the other side praising them. This is ironic because there really hasn’t been a debate about the Knicks for years – they’ve been terrible.
Nevertheless, this was extremely peculiar on a number of levels. FS1 doesn’t have NBA rights and they don’t have rights to the Knicks in the New York market since they air on MSG. And unsurprisingly, the campaign made the Knicks really unhappy. Who would have thought that James Dolan wouldn’t like seeing an advertisement suggesting that the Knicks won’t be good unless he sells the team?!?
Fox ultimately agreed to pull the campaign and it’s not the only controversial spot this year that made the subject matter unhappy. To welcome the Big Ten to Fox Sports, the network put together ads for each program in the conference. Nebraska asked Fox Sports to pull the ad because scary Stephen King horror movies didn’t necessarily fit with their “brand.” At least they didn’t use killer clowns.
That’s definitely not the weirdest thing Fox has done with college football, though. Four words for you – Jim Harbaugh Khaki Bus. Fox Sports rolled this out on the open road to promote Michigan’s game with Utah in 2015.
And then there was this giant, larger-than-life Skip Bayless bobblehead to promote the debut of Undisputed. Come to think of it, that might be scarier than killer clowns.
But it really has been the television commercials where Fox has been at its most peculiar. While SportsCenter has been pumping out “This is SportsCenter” commercials for years, Fox had… Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery commentating a live birth????
And Gus Johnson magically making Erin Andrews appear in your living room? Somehow? With a unicorn?
Finally, there was this spot that promoted the “all new” FoxSports.com with a weird mix of whatever Fox considered to be viral at the time. This came years before the ill-fated pivot to video, which ironically does not have any ads to promote it because, well, there’s nothing to promote.
An entire post about the weirdest, strangest Fox Sports promotional devices… and we didn’t even mention Cleatus the Robot. How about that.