A 40-second plug for House of the Dragon at a Major League Baseball game in New York has spectacularly backfired.
More than 24 hours after the promotional stunt on Tuesday local time – where a massive CGI dragon flew across a packed crowd of 55,000 at the Bronx’ Yankee Stadium – commentators and talk-back callers remained dumbfounded.
Two cable TV sports commentators were in on the House of the Dragon trickery at the New York Yankees-Cleveland Guardians game.
But the “deadpan” set-up by Emmy award-winning sports commentator Bob Costas (also a prime time host of 12 Olympic Games) and his colleague Lauren Shehadi backfired.
“[Costas] introduced the 40-second bit with a set-up that was deadpan but resonated to some as earnest, especially among Yankee fans living in a city that has been the epicentre of a number of actual emergencies,” wrote Deadline.
Costas broke into his broadcast of the match to warn the 55,000 in the audience that: “You know, big sellout crowd here, but we weren’t 100 per cent sure this game was going to be played tonight”.
With a final tease of – “it’s shocking” – he threw to Shehadi.
“Apparently, one of the stars of HBO’s House of the Dragon has decided to take in a ball game here in the Bronx,” Shehadi said, as the dragon began.
“Officials are hopeful the dragon won’t breathe fire during game play, but we’ll see if he complies.”
Costas finished with a reference to Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio performance of War of the Worlds, which prompted an actual panic among New Yorkers.
“Maybe we’re actually frightening some gullible people, that some Rodan-like creature is hovering over Yankee Stadium,” he said.
“Do not be alarmed, folks.”
‘I thought there was something terrible going on’
New York’s WFAN radio drive-time host Craig Carton was not amused.
“I love Bob Costas, he’s one of the great announcers of all time,” Carton said, according to Deadline.
“I thought there was something terrible going on.”
“Costas proceeded to walk us through one of the dumbest things broadcast television has ever perpetrated on us.”
Other social media user were also less than impressed.
“This moment was so cringe. Shameless promo,” one wrote.
“This is why Awful Announcing was invented,” said another.
‘Absurd‘ and ‘bizarre’
While the stunt was hardly the first time a major network has gone a bit far with a plug during a major event (think GoT collaboration with Bud Light at the 2019 Super Bowl), some say this felt like a new low.
“That House of the Dragon ad for #HBOMax was possibly the worst thing I’ve seen on TV,” wrote Mikey.
And this from writer Zach Morrison: “TBS. STOP IT. That House Of The Dragon integrated marketing nonsense was silly at best and embarrassing at worst. Save that for morning news”.
“This is baseball.”
For the record, the Yankees won the game. Importantly, according to The New York Post, “no players were harmed by dragon fire at any point throughout the game”.
The post ‘One of the dumbest things’: <i>House of the Dragon</i>‘s baseball game stunt backfires appeared first on The New Daily.