Forget Occupy Wall Street; Occupy ESPN GameDay

The news media has been bombarding us with coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests that began in lower Manhattan and have spread out across the nation. Yes, we even have one set up here in Los Angeles, making City Hall now look like a campground.

After seeing tents spread around the landmark building in Downtown L.A., I thought:

“If only sports fans could launch a similar campaign against a huge conglomerate that has taken over the sports world – ESPN.”

Well someone was listening. And his name is Dan Patrick. Yes the syndicated sports talk radio show host and former employee of “The Bristol Improv.” And it goes by the name “Occupy GameDay.”

It all started last Saturday in Dallas, where ESPN’s popular College GameDay was broadcasting before the Oklahoma-Texas game. One of the fans in the crowd held up a sign that read, “Chris in Syracuse” – a reference to one of Patrick’s regular callers to his show. The irony? ESPN (or as Patrick calls it, “The Mother Ship”) personalities are not allowed to appear on his show, but now signs making reference to his show make it on their airwaves.

Patrick said on the air this week that ESPN was planning to confiscate any such signs this weekend when GameDay broadcasts from Eugene, Oregon before the Oregon-Arizona State contest. And thus started the “Occupy GameDay: Eugene” movement.

ESPN spokeswoman Rachel Margolis denied such a ban, and added, “Our only sign concerns are obscenities and profanity, in which case we take them away.

And if this stealth campaign seems vaguely familiar to you, you’re right. It’s straight out of the pages of the Howard Stern playbook, in which his hardcore “Wack Pack” fans would hold up similar signs referencing Stern on live television.

Not surprisingly, Patrick is a huge Stern fan who even appeared on a “Superfan Roundtable” show on his SiriusXM satellite radio channel earlier this year.

Regardless, it’s going to lead to more people watching GameDay, including yours truly. And far more compelling that watching the usual home-town fans screaming and waving in the background.

Great marketing, Dan. Keep up the good work.

Used with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri runs the “West Coast View” column for Sports Climax. A veteran to the keyboard, Chris also covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. Follow Chris on Twitter for more sports observations.

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

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