The Best Sports Billboards Ever
If you have something to say, be loud about it. Be proud about it.
Put it on a billboard!
Nothing says you're serious like putting your thoughts out there for all the world to see on a three-story-high poster. Billboards aren't just for advertising underwear or car dealerships anymore.
If you think you know which quarterback should really be the starter and you have enough money, you can put it on a billboard. If you really want that offseason's marquee free agent to land in your town, put in on a billboard. If you think another college football team's fans are getting a little bit too big for their britches...
You guessed it.
And you can draw from the techniques of the following legends.
20. Love Animals, Don't Eat Them
These days, courtesy of one feisty tiger in The Hangover, we're well aware that Mike Tyson is an animal lover, not an animal eater. He will defend his animals like they are his own spawn.
And before he became a household name, he always loved pigeons.
For those who were unaware of Tyson's love for his furry friends, he made it clear with this billboard, erected in 2011 in West Hollywood. Tyson, who is a vegan, is shown kissing a pigeon in the name of the Last Chance for Animals campaign.
See? Even the toughest guys of them all can be softies too. Next thing you know, Gucci Mane will be on one of these pro-vegan billboards.
Remember the time when Manny Ramirez was still a valuable cleanup hitter rather than a clubhouse cancer and steroid abuser?
When the Los Angeles Dodgers first received Ramirez from the Red Sox at the 2008 trade deadline, Dodgers fans were understandably thrilled.
Ramirez was coming off eight wildly successful seasons in Boston, and he was supposed to be a cornerstone player for the organization.
That never happened, but still, the Mannywood thing caught on really fast, starting with this enormous billboard.
18. Liar, Liar
Jim Tressel could run, but he couldn't hide. Michigan fans made sure of that.
The legendary vest-wearing Ohio State coach's reputation was indelibly tarnished in 2011, when the NCAA accused him of major violations that ultimately resulted in his resignation from the helm of the Buckeyes.
No longer would he be remembered for being the third-winningest coach in school history, delivering seven Big Ten titles to the school or leading it to the 2002 BCS championship.
He would be remembered for breaking the rules and lying about it.
And just in case people forgot, Michigan fans made sure to remind them by posting this billboard along Interstate 94.
17. A Message to Al Davis
It's hard for many of us to recall a time when the Oakland Raiders were competitive.
The Raiders were once powerful. They were once champions. But things have been going downhill for the last decade.
It wasn't until 2009, though, that a group of fans took their pleas to the skies, posting this billboard in Oakland and begging then-owner Al Davis to make some changes.
16. LeBron Edition: Cleveland
This is just sad to look at knowing what we know now.
Cleveland must have been certain LeBron James was going to stick around once he hit free agency. Like, absolutely certain. Billboard-level certain. That's the only way to explain this.
While LeBron mulled over his choices in the summer of 2010 (and by that, I mean waited for ESPN to finalize the fine print regarding his announcement that he'd chosen the Heat), the city of Cleveland posted its cluelessness loud and clear on the side of this building.
Would he stay there? Not a chance.
15. Dodgers Edition: Yoda
The Dodgers have done a bang-up job with their "My Town" advertisements, and this one—featuring Yoda—is even better than the Manny edition.
Just in case anyone gets confused and starts to think that L.A. is perhaps Angeltown, the Dodgers purchased some prime real estate above the highways to eliminate any doubt.
In addition to being home to plenty of Hollywood superstars, L.A. is also home to a storied baseball team. Now, if only the Dodgers could live up to the billboards by earning a playoff berth.
14. LeBron Edition: Boston
LeBron had been dogged for his whole career for being a superstar who couldn't win the big one. So when he finally did bring a championship trophy to Miami in his second year in South Beach, it was worthy of the grandest announcement.
Just weeks after enduring a devastating Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference finals at the hands of—you guessed it—LeBron, this billboard could be seen along Interstate 93 in Medford, Mass.
Powerade may have ticked off an entire state with this one.
13. Please Stay, Brett
Fans have used billboards to plead with quarterbacks to join their teams. They've pleaded with coaches to give second-stringers a shot.
When Brett Favre was toying with retirement for the millionth time in February 2010, the fans pleaded with him to give it one more go.
As always, Favre spent the first few months of the year deliberating about whether retirement was the answer. Ultimately, he decided to humor the Minnesota faithful and give it one more shot.
Unfortunately, he started 13 games in 2010 and went 5-8.
12. Tide Rolled
These days, it's rare for the Alabama Crimson Tide to lose.
Therefore, when they do lose, it's national news. It's worthy of a three-story announcement, especially when the team that beats the mighty SEC powerhouse is little old Louisiana-Monroe.
In 2007, when the Warhawks pulled off a huge upset by taking down the Crimson Tide 21-14, a bunch of alums raised $12,000 to announce the victory loud and clear on Interstate 20.
11. Let the Kings Stay
When talk circulated that the Kings could be departing Sacramento, the residents of the city made it explicitly clear they wouldn't be OK with losing their NBA team.
Ultimately, the NBA rejected a bid to move the Kings to Seattle, and who knows? Maybe this billboard helped the cause a little bit.
Way back in 2011, the residents of Sacramento began the fight to keep the Kings in town, posting this message along Interstate 5. Two years later, they can count themselves as winners of the battle.
10. Boston Bruins Edition: Flyers Fans
Of late, the Boston Bruins' marketing department has shown a particular affinity for torturing opposing teams' fanbases via billboards.
First up were Philadelphia Flyers fans.
If you wandered around outside the TD Garden in Boston in May 2010, you may have come across the above billboard, which shot a pretty good zinger at female Flyers fans (and the men who date them, I suppose).
Of course, Philly got the last laugh when it rebounded from a 3-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals, allowing the Bruins to become a part of some very undesirable history.
9. Boston Bruins Edition: Lightning Fans
This little bit of Bruins advertising was way better for a number of reasons.
The first is that Boston actually managed to win this series against Tampa Bay, advance to the Stanley Cup Final and win a championship in 2010-11.
The second is that this little billboard provoked such a fury that the Bruins were ordered to remove it.
College football programs really know how to get at each other via billboards.
The SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 are usually packed with potential title contenders, including LSU, USC and Texas.
This billboard was put up by LSU fans who were annoyed at USC's "dynasty" label...it was also put up in Los Angeles.
Here is a little bit more about Onepeat.com's message.
7. From Englewood to MVP
In 2010-11, Derrick Rose led the Bulls to 62 wins and became one of only three players in NBA history to record 2,000 points and 600 assists in one season.
He was named MVP at the age of 22, becoming the youngest player in the history of the league to receive the award. And Powerade thanked him with this billboard in the West Loop of Chicago.
And then he tore his ACL and MCL. He was also vilified by some for not suiting up in the 2013 NBA playoffs after being medically cleared to play.
6. Start Tim Tebow
There was once a time when people wanted Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback. And even if John Fox didn't believe in his backup quarterback, the fans made it clear that they did.
In 2011, the Broncos, led by Kyle Orton, got off to a rough start, going 1-4 before the bye week. After that, it was time to make a change.
Once Tebow took the reins, he led the Broncos to a 7-4 record that included an improbable six-game win streak and a trip to the postseason. He also managed to lead them to a playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And it all started with this billboard in downtown Denver. (Or, at least, that's probably what financiers One Swoosh would like to think.)
5. Dwight Howard's Homecoming
Much like LeBron James, Dwight Howard hurt the feelings of his former fans when the fiasco otherwise known as his trade to the Lakers finally played out.
When Howard returned to Orlando with his new team in March 2013, he wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms.
This billboard, masterminded by a local radio station, went up along Interstate 4 to give Dwight and the Magic a proper reunion.
4. Charlie Weis' Coaching Internship
Charlie Weis' tenure at Notre Dame was…underwhelming.
It started off with a bang. After leading the Irish to 19 wins in his first two seasons, it looked like the star NFL assistant had found his true calling as a college coach.
Not so fast.
Weis went 16-21 over the next three seasons in South Bend, plowing one of the most prestigious programs in college football history right into the ground before he was fired in November 2009.
At least he earned himself this billboard, courtesy of a bunch of Irish alums.
3. Sleep Here, Peyton!
As we have seen, luring in marquee free agents with billboards can be a very effective recruiting technique. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out for the state of Arizona.
When the Colts decided to cut ties with Peyton Manning following the 2011 season, the rest of the NFL got into position and prepared to fight for him. In the end, it seemed that the two most likely suitors would be the Cardinals and Broncos.
In an effort to make it explicitly clear just how badly Arizona wanted him, a local mattress company put up this billboard along Interstate 10 in Phoenix.
Denver's mattress giant must have had a better one.
2. LeBron Edition: Cleveland
It was the biggest personnel move of the decade, and as such, its billboard deserves a spot on the countdown.
Cavaliers fans were caught completely off guard when their Messiah chose South Beach over Cleveland. They didn't think that one of their own, a guy who had been born and bred there, would ever leave.
Yet LeBron James did, despite all the billboard begging that Cleveland had done up to that point. So his ex-fans had to hit him back where it hurt, telling him he was no longer welcome.
1. Ray's Retirement Party
During the 2013 NFL postseason, it seemed as though the Baltimore Ravens were superhuman.
Maybe they were riding the magic of Ray Lewis' imminent retirement; maybe they were so inspired by their fearless leader that they saw no possible outcome to the season other than a trip home with the Lombardi Trophy in tow.
When the Ravens took down the New England Patriots in Foxboro to earn a berth in the Super Bowl, Baltimore rewarded its heroes with this well-deserved billboard.
Oh yeah, it was also a response to this one.
Well played, Baltimore. Well played.