Marquee sporting events these days seem to come with customized fan festivals that allow corporate sponsors to cozy up to consumers. To wit:
The National Hockey League’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Jan. 29 featured Fan Fair — 250,000 square feet of displays from companies such as Bridgestone, Upper Deck and Discover, plus current and former players celebrating 100 years of the NHL.
The weekend-long fan fest at the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game in New Orleans on Feb. 19 will include the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, the NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire and the NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest presented by Verizon.
The University of Northwestern Ohio boasts naming rights to this year’s Daytona 500 Fanzone on Feb. 26. Prior to the race, attendees will be able to roam the 211,636 square feet of the Daytona Raceway infield, mingling with NASCAR’s marketing partners, as well as drivers and racing legends. (In case you’re wondering, the University of Northwestern Ohio was the first in the nation to offer a high-performance motorsports degree, in 1992.)
The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Final Four (held at University of Phoenix Stadium and Dallas’ American Airlines Center, respectively) will each have their own fan festivals. The men’s Final Four Fan Fest and the women’s Tourney Town, both presented by Capital One, will be part of larger fan-oriented events that also includes AT&T, Coca-Cola, Reese’s, Pizza Hut and other NCAA partners.
Wrestlemania 33, the pay-per-view and WWE Network event slated for April 2 in Orlando, rewards its fans with a four-day festival. WWE Axxess has become a signature Wrestlemania event that includes meet and greets, memorabilia displays and the opportunity to fly through the air and land in a ring filled with foam pieces.
No sporting event can top Feb. 5’s Super Bowl LI in terms of generating the most marketing exposure. Why offer one or four days of fun when you can go really big and provide a lot more? Super Bowl Live presented by Verizon is, according to the event’s website, “a free nine-day family-friendly fan festival in downtown Houston celebrating Super Bowl LI. Anchored in Discovery Green and encompassing more than 750,000 square feet, approximately the size of 13 football fields, Super Bowl LIVE presented by Verizon features live music and performances, interactive exhibits, great food and a 90-foot tall virtual reality trip to Mars.” Held at the same time, the two-day NFL Experience Driven by Genesis is an interactive theme park that will offer youth football clinics, autograph sessions and plenty of marketing opportunities for the NFL Shop and several league sponsors.
Our thanks to MediaPost for the heads up about many of these events’ fan fests.