2019 Shortlist 

SAP GM School

Entrant: Momentum Worldwide

Winner 🏆
  • Best Branded Content or Series

Nominee ✨
  • Most Creative Partnership (Without an Athlete or Influencer)

How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

Short-form branded content is common, but by thinking outside the box, SAP was able to turn its NBA partnership into something truly innovative. Not only did we break all expectations of length and scope, we also offered real fans a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break into an extremely exclusive industry. With real challenges and stakes, we were able to create authentic entertainment that went beyond the label “branded content.”

At the same time, we pushed reality television in a new direction: sports. While fields like music, fashion and food have all been explored by challenge shows before, GM School brought the format to a new genre with a new fanbase.


In pro basketball, SAP is the power behind the NBA’s stat page, but most fans aren’t aware of its role. Our goal was to raise awareness and get more people a reason to visit NBA.com/stats by showing the value of data in modern basketball.


Strategy & Execution:

Data has changed the way sports are watched, coached and played. Analytics experts are replacing former players in front office roles. Being able to process the numbers has become as important as having good instincts. The result? Sports are more exciting and more accessible than ever before.

With that in mind, SAP partnered with the NBA to create something new: a full-length reality television show aimed at discovering the next generation of basketball front office talent.

In GM School, four stat-savvy fans competed challenges that tested their knowledge, data skills and love of the game for the chance at landing an actual job in the NBA. They had to impress a panel of impressive judges: former Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin, Hall of Famer Kevin McHale and SVP of Basketball Strategy and Analytics Evan Wasch.

The hour-long show premiered during primetime on NBA TV and was part of a social media campaign. Altogether, the campaign racked up more than 11.4 million views, 190 million impressions and 307,000 engagements. And the reaction among fans was universally positive–hundreds of people took to social media to ask how they can become a contestant on season two.


The show wasn’t just a piece of branded content. It was a full, hour-long television program that appeared on NBA TV. It was cast, shot, and judged as an authentic competition reality show in the vein of Chopped, Project Runway or Making it, and the prize was real. Working for the NBA is a dream job for most basketball fans, and it made for a compelling contest where every fan understood the stakes.


  • Momentum Worldwide
  • Jane Street Productions
  • Optomen Production
  • Optimum Sports
  • Fleishman-Hillard
  • Postworks
  • Hobo Audio


Omid Farhang
Chief Creative Officer
Momentum Worldwide

Taran Chadha
Creative Director
Momentum Worldwide

Gregory Weber
Associate Creative Director
Momentum Worldwide

Michael Costa
Associate Creative Director
Momentum Worldwide

Nicole Gabrielle
Senior Producer
Momentum Worldwide

Noah Pollock
Senior Copywriter
Momentum Worldwide

Brian Koenigsberg
Momentum Worldwide

Shanan McKeaney
Art Director
Momentum Worldwide

Abbie Baehr
SVP, Director of Strategy, NA
Momentum Worldwide

Aleigh Huston-Lyons
Senior Strategist
Momentum Worldwide

Matt Belanger
Director, Strategy
Momentum Worldwide

Sandra Yang
Content Strategist
Momentum Worldwide

Marissa Weseloh
VP, Group Director
Momentum Worldwide

Sarah Ax
VP, Account Director
Momentum Worldwide

Everett Paitchel
Senior Account Executive
Momentum Worldwide

Steve Hickok
SVP & Partner

Katrina Stern
Account Supervisor

Greta Rosenblum
Assistant Account Executive

Jared Merrell
Group Account Director
Optimum Sports

Rob Calderoni
Associate Account Director
Optimum Sports

Gavin Gill
Optimum Sports

Join the Engagement + Creative Elite

The Open Call for Entries to the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards closes on March 4, 2024. Submit content and campaigns across more than 70 categories.


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