While professional basketball is typically played inside an arena of roaring fans, Turner's Bleacher Report wanted to take the game back to the street as part of this season's All-Star Weekend, creating a large-scale fan activation in Santa Monica ahead of the game.
Taking over the historic Santa Monica Pier, the BR/LA experiential event was a first for the organization, creating an exclusive All-Star event to let fans' personal expression and creativity flourish through a series of unique hands-on activities and performances.
Bleacher Report enlisted Clickspring Design, an experiential design studio from NYC, to help curate and design the event's master plan. Clickspring had previously worked with Turner's sports division, a sister organization to Bleacher Report, creating the broadcast scenic design for the "MLB on TBS."
“From the musical performances and live art displays, to the physical artistry performed on the basketball court, BR/LA was all about personal expression and creativity, something which the brand, with its advocacy for consumer-created content, embodies,” notes Emmett Aiello, Clickspring's VP of Design.
The entire pier was activated via an alternating rhythm of program areas surrounding the central circulation area. This allowed visitors to weave in and out, playing either casual observer or participant, while never missing any of the action between the stages, basketball court, and the sponsor zones.
Highlights of these areas included a basketball court for performances and live demonstrations alongside a stage for musical acts and DJs, including Jaden Smith.
Throughout the weekend, 76 NBA players made appearances in front of over 3,000 fans.
The BR/LA event also integrated various sponsor-driven fan engagement activities, with hands-on activations for brands like Straight Talk Wireless, McCafé, State Farm, and JBL.
"The tone for the experience was set at the entry arch: the juxtaposition of hip, street lifestyle with the playfulness of LA beach culture," adds Aiello.
Clickspring Design blended street art murals, environmental graphics, Bleacher Report branding, and sponsor logos throughout the space, forming a ribbon that weaved throughout the pier. Along with creating a space for fun photo-ops, the backdrop also surrounded the main performance stage and created a physical connection between the performances and the crowd.
With a focus on engagement, the event saw over 120 million social impressions for Bleacher Report and 600+ social posts using the #BRxLA hashtag, generating buzz ahead of the All-Star Game.