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Nike World Basketball Festival 2014, Chicago

Nike World Basketball Festival

If any company can be said to consistently manage to go one better, it has to be Nike. Take, for example, the Nike World Basketball Festival: Its ambit, stature and ability to attract stellar players and other celebrities have grown with every installment, as the latest event held last August in Chicago attests.

Client Nike
Date 15.08.2014
Services Lighting Audio Video Rigging Event Design Custom Builds
Corporate Events

The festival premiered a few years back in Harlem, New York's famous Rucker Park with satis&fy on board as reported in TC issue no. 03/2010. From the b-ball shindig's inception, Nike was adamant that the event would have to have an authentic flavor, with a look and feel similar to the NBA's.

Nothing about the sporting goods manufacturer's philosophy has changed since: The mission is to hit those urban hotspots, reach out to and motivate kids to get into the game, and point out the prospects for a way out of the ghetto. The money and time invested in staging the festival in the Bulls' hometown goes to show how seriously Nike takes its role as a responsible corporate citizen.

The three-day festival's events were held in various presentation and activation areas, most in the rather more infamous than famous Lake Front Park on Lake Michigan bordering a "not-so-good neighborhood." Our first priority was to cordon off the area, a task that involved high security fences, metal detectors at the entrances, security personnel and drug dogs.

The WBF was primarily a 'World Logistics Challenge' for the satis&fy crew that shuttled in from several sites. Up to 200 teamsters, including local reinforcements, were in on the action during the 20 days it took to set up and tear down. In addition to obtaining all the necessary permits, an exercise in red tape we had already had the pleasure of enjoying in NYC, we also provided the entire infrastructure: fencing, power (including wiring and generators), IT, Internet, radio communications gear, temporary offices, furniture, a trailer for LED walls and the stage, tents, toilets and signage. 

And of course we furnished everything else satis&fy is routinely expected to deliver: audio, lighting, video and rigging for all the locations as well as all décor, set pieces and custom builds for the tents where products, heritage stories and innovations were presented. On top of that, we rolled out bleachers for 1,500 spectators, a trailer on the lakeside stage for the basketball heroes' appearances and local music celebs' performances, and risers at various locations on the grounds. Our carpenters also crafted the mirrored walls, displays and showcases for the exhibits.

Production manager Nancy Schacht from satis&fy Portland explains how the production company's international reach was put to good use for this project: "Like the reinforcements brought in from Karben, our team always traveled to the location where we could get the most work done during the six-week prep phase. We not only worked around the time difference; we even exploited it to our advantage. For example, the Karben support units provided us with updated design drawings and plans. From our vantage point, revisions were made overnight so every morning we were given superb updates on renderings, data and other information."

Six weeks were all we had to handle the job with the biggest one-off budget to date, a three-day mega-event hosting 36,000 visitors. This was not all that had changed since we staged the first installment of the event series in 2010: This time out we sourced the set pieces and custom builds on location rather than from Germany. And for good reason: Our Portland branch, haven grown organically in the interim, now had the means to deliver the goods, so why ship it all across the Big Pond when you can get the same quality locally? The folks at the Karben headquarters were nonetheless happy to lend a helping hand, and the stateside team was equally happy to accept it.

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