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Last night’s NBA London Live match between the New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons was the fastest selling basketball game to be staged at the O2, proving this American sport continues to grow its global fan base along with its global revenues of over $4 billion per year.

Ear to the Ground worked on a unique activation for Foot Locker alongside lead agency, Pitch. It was based around an exclusive press visit by 20 of Europe’s leading trainer, male lifestyle and sports apparel journalists and formed an integral part of the comms strategy around Foot Locker’s ‘Approved Heat’ campaign, where 70 new trainers from the collection are to be released between the 2nd February and 5th March.

Our challenge was to create an experiential engagement piece for media to take them into the world of a superstar basketball player. We did this by transforming the O2 green room into a Foot Locker branded locker room, complete with name printed vests and kits for each journalist and all the essential equipment a player needs to prepare for the game.

After getting hands on with the new product range and a series of talks including one from sneaker connoisseur and online blogger, Kish Kash, journalists were then split into two teams for their own game of basketball on the O2 court, just hours before the NBA game ‘tipped off’. They received coaching before and during the game from NBA coaches and battled it out over four 12 minute quarters.

Activities continued into the evening around the build-up to the NBA clash between New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons. We continued the theme by transforming a private room at Alphabet City into a Foot Locker branded locker room which welcomed 100 specially invited journalists, VIPs and industry professionals. The room was used before and after the game; giving guests a taste of basketball life and a unique Foot Locker experience which will help develop their new sponsorship with the NBA.

After years of working across sport, this was our first step into NBA. It was a fantastic piece of sponsorship activation and a slam dunk of an activation.