We're all about traditions at 3 Point Productions and with 2016 upon us, we're officially establishing a tradition with the 2nd Annual installment of 3 Points of View, this time for 2015 & Beyond. Along with my founding partners, Matt Heuer and Todd Albright, we've put together our insight into the best of last year and what's in store over the next 12 months.
Which industry trends did you enjoy most in 2015?
Matt: I've only seen the technology once in-person, so it may not be considered a trend yet, but credit our friends at Turner Sports and Samsung as trendsetters for presenting the Samsung LED Court as part of the NBA on TNT Opening Night event we partnered on in San Francisco. The court was absolutely stunning and the content possibilities endless. It's a creative producer's dream court. I'll be interested to see how technology improves for better daytime visibility but currently, at night or in a dark event space, the court is electric and captivating.
Todd: I love how teams and brands are showing personality, especially on social media. Organizations are using their Twitter and Facebook platforms to engage with fans on a one-to-one basis by replying to individual comments. My personal favorite interactions are when organizations have conversations with one another. Some are words of encouragement while some are more trash talk. Either way, it's a fantastic way for teams and brands to show character.
Pat: An industry trend that I've grown to enjoy, which isn't new by any means, but I feel like over the past year or two, it has become increasingly simpler to implement are Fan Cams. A decade ago, I recall all the steps required putting together a simple "Smile Cam", but now if you have Photoshop along with a creative mind and accurate video board specs, you've got yourself a timeout feature. Fan Cams are great for theme nights on a tight budget and most importantly, they put the focus on the fans! With technology making this easier by the year, we're in a for a slew of new cams in 2016.
What were your favorite event experiences of 2015?
Matt: My favorite event experience is tough to provide a short answer for because I enjoy working on all of our projects and our clients are such enjoyable people to collaborate with. But, for the second straight year, the NBA presented us with a once in a lifetime opportunity. The NBA Global Games China trip to Shenzhen and Shanghai to produce two NBA games and a Fan Appreciation Night in three different venues within nine days was an absolutely incredible experience. The talented staff members brought together for the events were a highlight of the experience and all had a hand in presenting three first-class examples of NBA Entertainment for the Chinese fans. It was a bonding experience that I'll never forget.
Todd: Working on projects that tie in patriotism and feel like the experience is more than just a game are always a favorite. The two events that capture this feeling in 2015 was the USA Rugby match at Soldier Field and the Semper Fidelis All-America Bowl. Chicago is a great sports city and fans came out to support the Eagles as they faced a powerful Australia team leading up to the Rugby World Cup. The "U-S-A" chants filled the stadium and the match experience created great theatre. The Semper Fidelis Bowl is sponsored by the United States Marine Corps and is one of the more unique productions we execute all year. Normally, dead air is uncomfortable in live production but the formal procedures that the Marines execute create powerful moments of silence.
Pat: 2015 was a year of firsts in many ways for 3 Point. My favorite first occurred just a day before the New Year when Turner Sports and Capital One invited us out to Miami, because who doesn't want to spend the holidays in 82-degree sunshine? Not only was it our first event in Miami, it was our first event on a beach... as in literally, on the beach. Capital One Beach Bash (the kickoff to the Capital One Orange Bowl the following day) took place on a stage built on the sand in front of 20,000 people, many clad in Clemson orange or Oklahoma crimson. One of our favorite emcees, Scotty B, joined the crew and we produced way more than just a day at the beach. Oh yeah, Massive Monkees crashed the party too with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis... and then Imagine Dragons. And Fireworks. Fun Day.
Which 2016 projects are you most excited about and why?
Matt: One project that stands out is the production of the upcoming 2016 Seattle Storm WNBA season. Our history with the Storm goes back to the team's inception and last season was our first full season back as the official production company of the Seattle Storm. I love planning for a full season and developing new content Storm fans and activations for various theme nights. There's a lot to be excited about with the team too, from the celebration of more Sue Bird WNBA milestones, to the maturation of a young line-up including last year's rookie class of Jewell Lloyd, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Ramu Takashiki and of course, the #1 overall pick in the upcoming WNBA Draft. This team is loaded with fun personalities and young talent.
Todd: Expanding our business in the Chicago market is an exciting project for 3PT in 2016. We opened our office in River North three months ago and have established many new connections in the Midwest. As the calendar year changes, we hope to see those relationships evolve into partnerships.
Pat: 2016 is destined to be a landmark campaign for 3 Point Productions as we enter our fifth year as a company in the sports entertainment industry. One project I'm very excited about is our NACMA partnership, which we started last year and will look to expand upon this year. NACMA, along with their parent organization of NACDA, is a pivotal group within the sports marketing sector of collegiate sports and I'm looking forward to expanding our impact with NACMA's member schools to elevate fan experience at college campuses across the nation.
Which industry trends do you hope to see develop in 2016?
Matt: A quickly growing trend amongst sports teams lately is the evolution of pregame entertainment. One special story within this trend is Stephen Curry. Last season's MVP & NBA Champion has turned his pregame routine into a pregame show in Golden State. Somewhat fueled by the excitement around winning their first Championship since 1975, but mostly by Curry's jaw-dropping array of dribbling and shooting drills, Warriors fans flock to Oracle ninety minutes prior to tip. Hundreds, if not thousands, of fans crowd the court with their phones out looking to capture the perfect Vine video of a Curry trick shot that will score them hundreds of likes on Instagram. I hear Odell Beckham Jr. is also drawing an early audience now also at NFL stadiums with his one-handed catch demonstrations. So, I'll be interested to see how professional athletes accelerate the trend of using informal pregame warm-ups as a window to creatively market themselves, their special talents and ultimately, their sponsored products.
Todd: While many in the sports industry are pointing to a lack of attendance in many collegiate sports, professional sports are at an all-time high. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Soccer (MLS) saw their highest attendance numbers ever. Major League Baseball (MLB) recorded their second highest ever at 30,337 fans/game. I hope to see collegiate sports continue to invest in their game day experience, as many professional teams have already done, to encourage fans to fill stadiums and arenas across the nation.
Pat: In last year's edition of this article, I mentioned the evolving state of game presentation at college sports stadiums. This year, the trend I hope to see develop is a balance of the "collegiate atmosphere" that incorporates technology advancements and canned music elements, but maintains the traditions and atmosphere that make college sports as unique as they are. I hope that schools strive to find the happy medium of a gameday audio experience that incorporates their bands along with well themed audio tracks, each scripted at the appropriate moments. I hope ASU's "Curtain of Distraction" and Arkansas's student section to serve as inspiration for creativity to peers across the nation. And I hope a few school's recruit creative minds to sit on the bench and replicate the entertainment success established by the bench warmers at Monmouth University.