NBA All-Star Weekend Filled With Entertainment and Commerce

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2018 NBA All-Star Weekend (Photo by Michael Silver)

The National Basketball Association is coming hot off the presses after a successful weekend in LA. The league was recently named the No. 1 innovative company in professional sports by Fast Company, and 10th overall in the world.

With high-profile athletes and celebrities in town for the festivities, there was no shortage of brand awareness and companies launching new initiatives.

We’ve put together highlights recapping the weekend and new partnerships announced around the Association.

Sneaker Industry:

Foot Locker’s partnership with Nike and Jordan Brand celebrated 10 years of House Of Hoops, continuing the evolution of the brands’ joint basketball platform. The @HouseOfHoops Instagram account launched during All-Star Weekend, announcing several recurring digital content series, and providing followers early access to exclusive product like the Nike “Big Bang” Foamposite, through surprise IG moments.

“Foot Locker is thrilled to be partnering with Nike and Jordan Brand to launch the new HOH Instagram handle as we head into basketball’s biggest weekend,” said Patrick Walsh, Vice President of Marketing for Foot Locker.

“House Of Hoops product, content and experiences have always been incredibly well represented as part of each brand’s existing social platforms, but the go-to destination for basketball lifestyle and culture warrants a separate and stand-alone channel that truly speaks with our basketball consumer.”

Instagram has broken away from the pack as the go-to platform for debuting new products, digital series and B2C outreach. It’s no surprise they timed this launch with All-Star Weekend and incorporated NBA players into the fold.

Jordan Brand also gained headlines late Sunday night as the company unveiled a pop-up shop built into Snapchat. Fans at an LA concert scanned a QR code on site, which unlocked the Air Jordan III “Tinker” to purchase, which is set for release in March.

As an added bonus, many of the shoes purchased that evening arrived later that night, too. Jordan used its local, L.A. distribution center, in conjunction with its partner Darkstore, to get them to customers right away.

This Amazon Prime style commerce, mixed with gorilla marketing, made it one of the most unique events in town.

Food and Beverage:

Mountain Dew announced that actor and comedian Kevin Hart as the new face of its soft drink Kickstart. In this role Hart will bring one lucky fan and a friend “Closer Than Courtside” to the NBA Playoffs, giving a boost in status to anyone who can show why they deserve to be his new “CourtSidekick,” a term Hart coined himself.

“I’m happy to be partnering with Mountain Dew Kickstart to kick off the CourtSidekick Contest and find the right person to help me take my NBA game-watching to the next level,” Hart said in a press release. The campaign asks fans to show Mountain Dew why they’re the best pick to sit with Hart using social media.

The comedian and long-time basketball fan made his rounds over the weekend celebrating the sport and unveiling of his new endorsement deal.

Technology:

Turner Sports is bringing virtual reality to its NBA coverage, debuting last weekend with the 67th NBA All-Star game and launch of the “NBA on TNT” VR app.

The technology, powered by Intel VR, places fans inside Studio J, home of the “NBA on TNT,” where they can explore and interact with available programming. Fans can watch highlights, recaps and view stats along with having access to select live games and full game replays in VR.

The app is available for download on the Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, and Google Daydream platforms. The move follows a partnership announced between Turner Sports and Intel this past November.

TNT also added that one game per week will be available in the virtual reality app. Additionally, select “NBA on TNT” playoff games, through the 2018 Western Conference Finals, will also be available.

With the push towards virtual and augmented reality, the NBA continues its stake into this immersive tech world.

In the end, the city of Los Angeles earned an estimated $116 million in spending from travel and tourism. The global game of basketball is growing at a rapid rate and All-Star Weekend has proven to set the benchmark celebrating professional sports in the United States.