NBA Cares

Sports are part of America’s first-aid kit

Brandcenter Project  X Arts & Letters |  4 weeks | Strategy + Comms Plan | Spec |  Spec  

TLDR

Brief:

Create a comms plan surrounding a brand or organization and how it can live in a the world of COVID. 

Insight:

Sports have always been more than entertainment for Americans, they're a religion, an escape. COVID took that way when people needed it the most and we wanted to help sports, specifically the NBA make a comeback. 

Comms Plan:

A three-tiered comms plan that runs from off-season to game time that brings back excitement and hope to sports fans. Also having the NBA Cares partner with other organizations and brands to help make a difference in communities but also honor those at the frontline of the COVID pandemic. 

My Role:

  • Researched sports trends and how they've helped America during tough times and crises 

  • Talked to sports fans and did online listening to see how lack of sports was affecting people 

  • Helped craft a three-tier comms plan centered around NBA events and season schedule

The Ask: 

COVID took away sports from people when it was one of the things America needed to keep our spirits up. We wanted to work with the NBA as basketball is one of the most beloved sports and the pandemic hit right when March Madness was supposed to take place. 

Why the NBA Cares? 

"NBA Cares is the league’s social responsibility program committed to addressing important social issues concerning education, youth, family development, and health-related causes in the U.S. and around the world."

The NBA also put together a social initiative where all four leagues teamed up to create #NBATogether...the NBA's social engagement campaign that aims to educate and support in response to coronavirus.

The Significance of Sports: 

Sports have always helped the country heal or provide a sense of getting back to "normalcy" after a national crisis.

 

2001:

The Mets returned to Shea Stadium after 9/11 attacks.

2005:

Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans. The Saints became a major symbol rebuilding and growth. Five years later the Saints won the Super Bowl showing victory for the city and its people. 

2013:

The Boston Marathon bombing happened but a year later Boston held the marathon and showed that it wasn't going to let terrorists dictate their lives or bring them down. 

For Americans It's More Than "Just Sports"

Sports is a religion:

There are rituals and you pray for your team when they are winning or losing. 

Sports is an escape:

It provides a way for people to escape from reality and allows them to get away. 

Goal: 

Continue to be the escape from reality that sports fans desire in the face of tragedy. 

Challenge: 

COVID-19 is holding American sports hostage. For now, the people and fans have no escape.

Strategic Thought: 

Remain united with NBA fans to mount a major comeback.  

Consumer Truth 

In the face of uncertainty and tragedy, rooting for the hometown team brings unfiltered pride to children and  adults alike.

Brand Truth 

The NBA is committed to the people around  the globe that make up the 
NBA family, not “just” the game.

Culture Truth 

American sports play a vital part in the early stages of the healing process after a national tragedy.

Game Plan 

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“Idols Become Rivals” Player vs. Fan Match-Ups

  • With no practice to attend for the rest of the season players have plenty of time to hop on the sticks

  • Fans will have the chance to be randomly selected by NBA players for a quick online matchup. During what would be primetime Friday night games, individuals will be able to bid in a charity auction for an opportunity to play against the league’s top stars in a game of NBA 2K

  • Proceeds from Friday night charity auctions will be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts
     

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Personal Protection Equipment with Spirit: 

Authentic Protection. Authentic Pride.

  • Mitchell & Ness are the original creators when it comes to repurposing and making sports memorabilia. 

  • With the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season lost, most player practice, game, and warmup jerseys are sitting in storage with many special edition and discontinued jerseys ending up in landfills

  • Utilizing circular design the NBA can repurpose materials from unused equipment to produce masks for hospitals in critical need 

  • Not only will the masks help save lives, they can also bring a sense of hometown pride to our hometown heroes.
     

Off Season

With the season coming to a halt how can they bring some excitement back into the game? 

Draft Night

On what is normally a night of hope for fans looking towards the future, where can the NBA inspire and unite?

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A day in the life, a day for your community

  • Each team will select a celebrity influencer as honorary GM that will include celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Spike Lee and Drake as they're are known basketball fans

  • After the team makes their first-round draft selection, the celebrity GM will draft a child from the local Boys & Girls Club

  • Kids will receive one-day contract, suit up with the team for the first game of the season, and sit on the bench with the team and will be “paid” a one-game check equivalent to the NBA rookie minimum to be donated to their local B&G club

  • All members and staff of the local club will be given tickets to the game and have the opportunity to meet with both teams before the game.

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Let's bring back the competition

  • Each team will select a group of local celebrity influencers as well as a few team players and coaches to represent the team during the event

  • Fans of every NBA team will be encouraged to donate to their favorite teams via web or phone

  • Funds will be donated to local COVID-19 efforts to support those in need and healthcare workers in the teams city

  • The winning team will be awarded the first ever Kobe Bryant “Kobe Cares” Award for commitment to community excellence. 

Game Time

Draft Night

The war against COVID-19 is not over, but many battles have been won. Fall 2020 will mark the return of sports in America. 

The war against COVID-19 is not over, but many battles have been won. Fall 2020 will mark the return of sports in America. 

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In honor of you all…

  • Each team will designate a number of games on the team home schedule as “NBA Heroes Night"

  • On these nights healthcare workers who served during the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to claim two tickets to the game free of charge

  • Prior to each game tipoff Heroes will be honored during an opening ceremony with words from the team owner and star of the team

  • Heroes will also receive vouchers for arena vendors to purchase food and beverage 

Game Time

The war on COVID isn't over but when sports return in person we want to make sure we come back strong and humbly.

Off Season

The 2019-20 season came to a screeching halt, just as teams geared up for the NBA Playoffs. What can the league do to help fans bounce back?

$$$$

Funds raised for COVID-19 relief efforts to support first responders, healthcare workers and youth programs.

Earned Media

Shares, and retweets. Press coverage, blog posts, TikToks reviews, etc.

Increased Viewership

On NBA Draft Night and surrounding events, as well as opening nights of 2020 - 21 NBA season.

Positive Sentiment 

Conversations, attitudes and feelings on social media about the NBA brand and its COVID-19 relief efforts.

What Will Victory Look Like?

Team:

Cat Marsh: Strategist

Nana Dadzie: Strategist

Thuraya Al-Wazzan: Strategist