NBA In-Season Tournament - The Heist | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

NBA In-Season Tournament - The Heist

NBA

The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Integrated Campaign

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ABOUT THIS ENTRY

In the 2023-2024 season, the NBA launched the first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament in an effort to enhance the season structure to drive fan engagement and early-season viewership. To get players, fans and viewers excited, the NBA created The Heist campaign, a rallying point for the league to drive education and awareness of the new tournament and its culmination in the bright lights of Las Vegas.

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How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

The creation of the NBA In-Season Tournament was a strategic effort to drive early season interest and viewership from fans. This new innovative platform within the NBA season footprint, provided the league the freedom to be creative, think out of the box and try something new to help the inaugural tournament breakout in a loud and splashy way. NBA players came to life as action stars in “The Heist”, eye-catching courts differentiated tournament nights in-arena, reality-bending CGI city takeovers drew amazement from fans, and we turned a tunnel into a runway. All of this pushed fan engagement to a new level of innovation and creativity, both affecting the game on the court and the way fans can engage with it.

Objective

With the launch of a brand new, unknown entity the NBA’s challenge was to build education and excitement with its fans, lay out the high stakes for players as well as teams, and give NBA viewers a reason to watch this brand new tournament. The NBA needed a captivating and clear thematic to help explain the complex structure of the tournament in a simple, succinct way that the entire league could get behind.

Strategy & Execution

Nothing says “high-stakes” like a Las Vegas heist. So the NBA planned one of its own. The Heist brings some of the league’s most exciting players to a Vegas casino to “steal” the ultimate jackpot — the NBA Cup trophy. A kingpin, The Sopranos' Michael Imperioli, introduces the tournament by laying out the characters needed to pull off the take. The film follows NBA stars as they outmaneuver one another, battling on the casino floor. Turns out, the only way to get the NBA Cup is to win it on the court. The Heist film premiered on @NBA social and on TNT on NBA Tip-Off night. From there, the NBA launched a robust integrated institutional and paid media plan across linear, digital, OOH and more. To continue the momentum throughout November and build excitement for the culmination in December, the NBA tapped into influential voices through a custom bracket seeding kit shared with media & creators, designed In-Season Tournament themed basketball courts for pop cultural icons (from Game of Thrones to Nicki Minaj), built a CGI social takeover of Las Vegas and a custom red carpet tunnel to capture player, celebrity and creator arrivals for the semifinals & championship games in Las Vegas.

Organizations

  • NBA
  • Translation
  • Media Hub
  • GLOW
  • Jack Morton Worldwide
  • Coffee N Clothes

Credits

Tammy Henault
Chief Marketing Officer
NBA

Jenny Whitlock
Senior Vice President, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Alex Gerson
Vice President, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Kim Clark
Vice President, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Alaina Williams
Associate Vice President, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Timothy Hammond
Senior Directory, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Molly Yuan
Senior Manager, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Brianna Colon
Senior Manager, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Natalie Martinez
Senior Manager, Global Fan Marketing
NBA

Janine Dugre
Senior Vice President, Brand & Creative
NBA

Katie Papelian
Vice President, Creative
NBA

Matt Halliwell
Sr. Manager, Creative
NBA

Erica Holley
Director, Creative
NBA

Bob Carney
Senior Vice President, Social and Digital Content
NBA

Adam Fedorko
Vice President, Social and Digital Content Creation
NBA

Ashley Atwell
Associate Vice President, Social and Emerging Media Lead
NBA

Patrick Mulrenin
Associate Vice President, Social and Digital Content Publishing
NBA

Jake Freeman
Senior Manager, Social Content, Content Planning Lead
NBA

Leah Berry
Senior Manager, Social and Digital Content Creation Management
NBA

Justin D'Apolito
Director, Social Content Lead
NBA

Tess Quinlan
Director, Content Planning Lead, DTC
NBA

Jim Poorten
Senior Manager, Social and Digital Content
NBA

Elias Williams
Manager, Social and Digital Content
NBA

Gary Mack
Vice President, Creative
NBA

Colin Dooley
Associate Vice President, Brand
NBA

Larisa Johnson
Vice President, Media Marketing
NBA

Juan Colon
Vice President, Media Marketing
NBA

Brittany Holland
Director, Media Marketing
NBA

Chris Lien
Director, Media Marketing
NBA

Kara Dean
Vice President, Partner Marketing
NBA

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Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.

 

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