Over the course of any given year, we have the opportunity to produce a wide variety of sports and entertainment events across the country. Many stand alone as the headline festivity, but in the case of large ones like the NCAA Final Four, we are involved in planning “events within the event” that elevate the fan experience and sponsor activation across the entire weekend.
Over the course of the last week in the North Texas region of Dallas and Arlington, there was much more going on than basketball games between the top college programs in the country. Turner Sports and the NCAA have designed a mega experience that is appealing to fans of all ages and demographics.
For the basketball fans, the Tip-Off Tailgate presented by Infiniti took place in the shadow of AT&T Stadium and was included in the price of the game ticket. This outdoor festival included basketball interactive areas, chalk talks with the college game’s top coaches and the Capital One Quicksilver Stage, featuring team pep rallies and musical acts like Kid Rock and Dierks Bentley.
Meanwhile, 20 miles east in Dallas was the March Madness Music Festival, a 3-day concert series that took place at Reunion Park (site of the 1986 Final Four). This free concert series appealed to an entirely different demographic of locals and concert goers, presenting a unique activation opportunity for the NCAA’s three Corporate Champions – Capital One, Coca-Cola and AT&T. Each of the three brands hosted fan interactive areas, complete with the Capital One Ferris Wheel and Coca-Cola Social Lounge, as high profile artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tim McGraw and The Killers entertained on stage.
Across the street from Reunion Park was Bracket Town presented by Capital One, the NCAA’s ultimate fan fest with over 350,000 square feet of interactive space to engage and entertain fans of all ages. Similar in size and scope to NBA All-Star Jam Session, Bracket Town provides an opportunity to activate each of the NCAA’s corporate partners in a customized manner.
In addition to the Tip-Off Tailgate, March Madness Music Festival and Bracket Town, there were several other events that highlighted the play on the court, including Intersport’s annual State Farm Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships and the NABC’s Reese’s College All-Star Game. All of these events, combined with the Final Four games themselves, provide an experience that is well worth the price of admission and gives fans a reason to choose attending in person versus watching at home on the couch.