Growing up my family would get together with friends and relatives to watch marque special events. Whether it was the Super Bowl or the Daytona 500, I was glued to the TV watching the opening ceremonies and halftime show, dreaming of an opportunity to be there in person.
Fast forward 20 plus years and not only did I have the opportunity to attend one of these once-in-a-lifetime events but three in one month!
Super Bowl XLVII
For those of you that know me, this will come as no surprise that I don’t know much about the NFL. With that said, even I know that the Super Bowl is a really big deal. So when my wife told me she needed to go to this year’s game for work, I immediately figured out a way to tag along to see what I could learn.
For the last 15 years, I have been working at the highest level of event activation so I was looking forward to soaking in all the sponsorships around the big game. I was slightly disappointed with the sponsor activations; nothing struck me as out of the box or unique. However, the NFL proved again why it’s such a leader in the event fields with the halftime show. Being there was magical; the energy in the venue was indescribable and the production value was best-in-class.
I will continue to aspire to not only attend another Super Bowl but one day be a part of the production staff.
NBA All-Star Jam Session 2014
For the past three years, our partners at Sprint have allowed us to assist them with their activation at the NBA Jam Session, a three day fan festival in support of the NBA All-Star Game. The weeklong celebration of the sport attracts fans from across the country. There are events every night, including celebrity games, concerts, parties and the actual All-Star Game, which allows visitors to soak up the NBA brand and become a part of the culture.
I continue to be impressed by the NBA Jam Session and the opportunity it gives partners to market their products to consumers. It is the only event all week that guests can walk up to the gate and buy a ticket.
My favorite display of the event was The Sprint Experience, but I am also a little biased. I was also especially impressed on how Samsung activated their sponsorship this year with a large display drenched in black lights, custom-built lead generation games and well-designed product showcases. The display fit the brand while also staying authentic to the NBA lifestyle.
This was my 14th consecutive year producing entertainment elements at the Daytona 500 and it was by far my favorite. The JHE team works for six months with our partners at Daytona International Speedway to make sure every element is properly thought out. I get to swoop in at the last minute and do the fun stuff so in no way am I attempting to take credit for their long hours of blood, sweat and tears.
This year was action-packed with five different, custom-built stages to provide fans an up-close view of their favorite stars. Luke Bryan rocked out live on FOX and the driver’s paid close attention as we introduced them two-by-two for an introduction fitting of the Great American Race.
NASCAR also hired us to produce a partner breakfast the morning of the race called the NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill fueled by COPD. The high-end hospitality experience played host to celebrity chefs Chris Lilly, Hugh Acheson and Sarah McLeod Simmons among other influencers. I was beyond impressed with this event, and I’m not just saying that because we produced it.
Here is a list of the sporting events still on my bucket list. Call me if you need some help; I have a passport and am ready to use it!
Tour de France