With the 2019 NBA Summer League just weeks away, fans will be flocking to Las Vegas to watch the likes of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett get their first NBA reps.
Beyond basketball and Summer League, a new activation is aiming to help guests also focus on something just as interesting: their relationships.
Thanks to the partnership between the Los Angeles Clippers and dating app Bumble, Bleacher Report is working with the duo for its second annual “Jump Off” event on July 13th at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas.
Appearing unconventional on paper, both B/R and Bumble see themselves as similar in the sense that they connect communities: the former within sports and pop culture, and the latter in the digital dating world. For Bumble, one year after signing a jersey-patch sponsorship deal with the Clippers, the dating app is continuing to find sports partners with a focus on interpersonal interaction.
“When choosing to collaborate with a brand or organization, we ask ourselves if it aligns with Bumble’s mission and values and if the collaboration brings value to the Bumble community,” said Chelsea Maclin, Bumble vice president of marketing. “In this instance, the contest we’re currently running with the Bleacher Report and the LA Clippers was the perfect opportunity to engage our users in an authentic way that adds value to their Bumble experience.”
While on Instagram Stories, visitors were then given the option of swiping up to download for the chance to win an all-inclusive trip to Las Vegas for Jump Off. Given the uniqueness of the B/R and Bumble dynamic, fans were drawn in, and it was reflected in B/R’s social engagement.
During the 2019 NBA Draft week, B/R gave its audience a preview of what to expect with its Bumble affiliation. On Wednesday, June 19, the day before the draft, B/R unveiled on Instagram Stories a series that paired rookies with their projected teams to determine if they were a perfect match.
“With Bumble, they kind of recognize that Bleacher [Report] is all about driving community through every avenue that we own, and Bumble is very much the same way,” said B/R Midwest Director Maura O’Brien. “[B/R] hadn’t necessarily done something like this from a dating perspective, but it’s more than that – it’s about really connecting our communities through this unified voice.”
When compared to the average B/R Instagram story, engagement was up 364% with the Jump-Off series. This also helped contribute to a 70% increase in views, and over four times as many “tap backs” per slide than normal.
If the NBA-Draft stories revealed anything to O’Brien, it’s that Jump Off could be a massive hit with attendees.
“If you were going to use those [three] statistics being off the charts and much higher than our baseline norm, you would expect success when we’re on the ground in Vegas,” added O’Brien.
When fans arrive at Brooklyn Bowl for Jump Off, they can expect a highly immersive experience. Bumble will have a “Bumble Connect Lounge,” where each bowling lane will feature the dating app’s different functions: Bizz (for networking), BFF (for establishing friendships), and Date (its notorious dating mode).
In addition to that, the Clippers’ Spirit Dance Team will be at the Brooklyn Bowl, acting as “profile doctors” in helping visitors assemble their ideal Bumble profile. This all culminates with a musical performance by a hip-hop headliner that will be announced in the days leading up to Jump Off.
Given Bumble and the Clippers’ desire to promote female empowerment in a male-dominated NBA, O’Brien thinks B/R can help further this narrative of inclusion, while also highlighting the website as more than a sports publisher.
“[Working with Bumble for Jump Off] is a very unique first look at this type of opportunity,” said O’Brien. “It’s something we’re really excited about because it’s a very unique category coming to us, recognizing the conversation that we’re able to drive the engagement that we have and rooted in establishing this community and wanting to be a part of it.”