Bleacher Report Building Biggest Space Yet For NBA All-Star Event
Bleacher Report's free fan activation event in Chicago on Sunday marks the third straight year that the Turner Sports brand has created a pop-up venue for NBA All-Star weekend. A centerpiece for what is being dubbed "B/R CHI 2020" will be a transparent basketball court on the second story of the structure, which will serve as a stage for clinics, games and music acts. B/R CMO Ed Romaine told THE DAILY that the brand is expecting 2,500 to 4,000 fans flowing through the event from 12:00-6:00pm CT. Romaine noted this is the largest footprint yet for this All-Star activation, which will be held at Saffron Rails on Goose Island. It also is the largest roster of brands yet for the event, with 13 on board, including Mtn Dew, Perry Ellis, Ruffles, Adidas, State Farm, Tissot, Gatorade, Intel, Remy Martin, Metro PCS, Wilson and Coors. Among the internal B/R brands expected at the event are B/R Kicks and House of Highlights. B/R's Taylor Rooks will serve as emcee for the event.
ALL ABOUT ACTIVATION: Romaine said of the two-story concept, "The idea is that we can welcome consumers in and around the court -- and also underneath it -- to watch game play that takes place all day." The space will culminate with a concert featuring Quavo. An in-house B/R events team worked on creating the experiential event, and that team was aided by WarnerMedia and its in-house production resources, which are helping build out the "crystal" court. Outside of NBA All-Star weekend, B/R has had similar fan-focused events at the Super Bowl (its first B.R Gridiron House) and at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Should fans expect pop-up events around more sports? Romaine: "We're probably going to be creating some sort of experience at the start of the NFL Draft."
MAKING A MARK IN SPORTS: One sponsor that is new to the B/R event is fashion brand Perry Ellis, which has not had a serious foray into sports in around a decade. Perry Ellis VP/Marketing & Communication Vincent Panzanella said, "We do a ton of research to make sure we're on the pulse of what's happening with 'our guy.' Where he works. Where he plays. What we found is that 'our guy' loves sports, particularly the NBA. We also didn't want to go it alone. We wanted a strong media partner and a strong collaborative partner who can bring us to a level we've never been before." The B/R-Perry Ellis connection started in the fall with a one-off activation with Knicks G Dennis Smith Jr. "What we found is the NBA is the place for us," Panzanella said. "That was really proven by what we did with Dennis Smith Jr. The team at Bleacher Report hooked us up with Dennis and did a great segment with him that really talked about Dennis, but also showed the brand. ... It looked organic and genuine, and we knew we had the right partner there."
FAN GEAR: Perry Ellis will be trying a new apparel-driven activation at the event on Sunday. Panzanella: "People will walk in, enter their email address, and on the wall are these 'life-ready' looks. Everything ranging from day-ready to pre-game ready to game ready. It's different parts of our collection that speak to each of those circumstances. From there, we brought in a street artist, and what he's doing is creating custom, hooded sweatshirts that have Perry Ellis on one arm and then Bleacher Report on the other. Then he creates bespoke art -- on site -- on the shirt itself that speaks to All-Star weekend. In another space, the artist has a separate installation where customers can take Instagram pictures."