Would You Want to Be Proposed to on a Jumbotron?

Would You Want to Be Proposed to on a Jumbotron?

Close your eyes and try to imagine your wedding proposal.

If you’re think you’re not really the marrying type, then imagine an alternative proposal — asking someone on a date or to the prom? (Did you know there was such a thing as a promposal?)

What did you see: a beautiful setting? Candles? Rose petals? Are you down on one knee? Is there a ring?

Now add 50,000 cheering people to your fantasy. Would that make the moment more special?

Does the idea of a Jumbotron proposal fill you with romantic delight or deep, cringy fear? (You can watch two examples here and here.)

In “Thinking of a Jumbotron Proposal? Some Say, Ugh. Others, Say Yes.,” Britni de la Cretaz writes:

Jumbotron proposals have become as much a part of baseball as the seventh-inning stretch — no matter that they are often considered tacky and in bad taste.

When a proposal appears on the giant screen, a large segment of sports Twitter world (mostly women) chime in about how they hope no one ever proposes to them at a sporting event. Still, hundreds of these public, grandiose gestures happen every year and many proposees walk out of the stadium happily ever after.

On March 31, 2018, Joanna Chan, who works for Netflix, proposed to her girlfriend of five years, Julie Morris, who is employed at Hulu. The moment happened during the first period of a Calgary Flames game and was shown on the giant screen at Scotiabank Saddledome — known as the Enmax Energy Board — home to the National Hockey League’s Flames.

Ms. Chan and Ms. Morris, both 36 and living in Los Angeles (since married and now both going by Chan-Morris), had just embarked on a five-year tour of all 31 N.H.L. arenas, and the Saddledome was their final stop.

Joanna Chan-Morris says that a few stops before their final one, she knew she wanted to propose in Calgary. “It’s not about the public aspect of the proposal, really,” she said. “It was really just about making that last game special.”

Even still, with that gesture, their engagement became a viral sensation, traveling beyond the area and onto the internet. Joanna paid 5,000 Canadian dollars ($3,782) for the opportunity, which she says was “worth every penny.”

The Saddledome is far from the only sports arena that gives fans the option to propose on a really big TV screen in front of thousands. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, does 50 to 60 live, in-game proposals each season at a cost of $350 each. At Dodger Stadium, getting engaged onscreen will set you back $5,000, an event the team estimates happens two or three times a season.

The article continues:

The whole concept irks Jessica Kleinschmidt, a content producer/reporter at NBC Sports Bay Area and a self-proclaimed “hater of in-game proposals.”

“It’s as if this person needs to show these complete strangers they love this person by making a show out of it,” Ms. Kleinschmidt said. “Needing validation from complete strangers? Go on Twitter if you want to do that.”

Also, she noted, an in-game proposal “puts the woman under pressure to say yes.”

When those traditional gender dynamics are reversed, the public response can be cruel.

In 2014, a woman surprised her boyfriend by proposing to him at an N.B.A. game. At the time, she told Fox 5 DC, “I thought this would make me the best wife-to-be ever to do it in front of his favorite team.” Her fiancé seemed happy she asked. But the response online was less than kind, with the frequently misogynist sports and culture website Barstool Sports calling it “the absolute worst proposal of all time,” among other worse things. Another blogger wrote that he would “never want to be proposed to by my girlfriend, and at an N.B.A. game no less, not in a million years.”

When Jumbotron proposals go wrong, spectators take an almost perverse pleasure in the rejection. In 2017, a rejected proposal at Fenway Park resulted in the entire ballpark chanting, “She said no!” (Jasmine Guillory’s newest novel, aptly named “The Proposal,” opens with a rejected proposal at Dodger Stadium that goes viral on the internet.)

This virality is something that more and more Jumbotron proposers are experiencing now that social media is a thing and everyone in the stadium has a smartphone, or the teams broadcast feel-good content across their various platforms.

What is it about our culture’s ideas about love, romance and marriage that allowed the phenomenon to gain traction in the first place? “Romantic comedies,” Chloe Angyal wrote for Buzzfeed in 2015, “teach us that the truer a true love is, the grander and more public the public grand gesture will be.”

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

— What do you think about Jumbotron proposals? Would you like to receive or make one yourself? Why or why not? Did the article change your views on these over-the-top proposals?

— What are the best Jumbotron or public proposals you’ve ever seen or heard of, whether live or online? Do you find them charming and delightful, or do they make you uncomfortable? Do you ever watch Jumbotron proposal fails for fun? If yes, why?

— Do you know if one of your parents proposed or not? Is there a story that went with it?

— What would be your ideal marriage proposal? Would you want to be proposed to in some elaborate way? Why or why not? What proposal ideas do you have? What dos and don’ts for success might you suggest? (You can look at some other creative proposals here.)

— If you hate the idea of a big fancy proposal, how do you feel about marriage itself? Do you ever think about it? Is a wedding proposal too old fashioned or simply too far in the future to imagine? Do you think we place too much emphasis on romantic gestures — rings, engagement parties, lavish weddings and the like?