CSU Rams fans tailgating in advance of Saturday's Invesco Field game against the CU Buffs should keep their eyes on the sky. Because between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., a plane is scheduled to fly past pulling a banner reading, "CU Sucks! Go Rams!"
The plane will be carrying something else, too -- the dreams of the guys behind Poor-Sport.com, who hope to make a viable business out of airborne dissing and more.
Poor-Sport.com peddles a variety of self-promoting merchandise, including caps, T-shirts and stickers emblazoned with a logo of one figure kicking another in the 'nads. But its most unusual notion involves the banners.
Visitors to the website are able to buy points that go toward paying for a plane to tow a banner over an event -- like, for instance, this weekend's Rocky Mountain Showdown. And while the company is headquartered in Denver, Poor-Sport.com can provide this service at locations across the country, says Ben Caudill, president of North Shore Group, the company that owns the site.
"We have a partner" -- Ted de Reeder of Mattituck, New York-based National Sky Ads -- "who's got over a hundred planes across the US to fly banners he creates. And if we give him a two-week lead, he can get a plane anywhere. Places like, for instance, Arizona or New Mexico or even Nebraska aren't big markets for him, so he doesn't have pilots or planes there. But if I give him two weeks, he can get a plane and a banner there."
The banner concept "is a way for a group of fans or people to get together and make their money go further. It's like a co-op to run aerial advertising or banners, where you go to a page that has all the banners. You apply the points to the banners, and once you reach a certain amount of points, the banner flies in that location."
How much does it cost to hire a plane? Caudill doesn't want to get too specific, but he notes that 25 points cost $10, with discounts given for the more points an individual buys -- and most flights, including Saturday's, go for 5,000 points. You do the math.
The Poor-Sport.com site is geared to appeal to sports lovers. "We wanted to make it as interactive and entertaining as possible," Caudill notes. "That's why you'll see debates, sporting news, links to funny websites," not to mention a "Babe of the Month" photo and that merchandise, modeled by a succession of hotties. And given the passion so many people feel about favorite teams, he sees the banners and rivalry games, like CU versus CSU, as a natural match.
"Think about Ohio State and Michigan," he allows. "Someone from Ohio State can have graduated thirty years ago, and they'll shake hands with someone from Michigan and have to bring up where they went to school. And look at Duke fans who paint themselves blue and scream for an entire basketball game. They're superfans, and I think they'd have a lot of fun flying banners over rival stadiums.
"And they can do it home or away. Let's say CSU is playing Wyoming in Wyoming. Fans can pay to fly a 'Wyoming Sucks' banner there. Imagine the reaction that would get."
He also sees banner flights translating to other events, like "Little League games, political rallies. If some guy wants to use a banner to propose to his girlfriend, we'll have a place for him to go to do that."
At this point, there's no telling if the idea will catch on. Although Caudill and his cohorts have been working on Poor-Sport.com for months, the website's only been up and running for a week or two, and the CU-CSU flight will serve as the company's maiden voyage. Plus, FAA flight rules put into effect after 9/11 mean the planes can't fly over Invesco Field during the game, which is why it'll take wing an hour or more before kickoff.
"It's such a new concept, and such an out-there kind of an idea, that I feel like it's going to take time for people to really catch on to what we're doing," he concedes. "But once they do, I think they're going to love it."
CU Buffs fans gathering on Saturday morning may disagree. But they'll have plenty of opportunities to get their revenge.
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