With the 2017 Seattle Storm season officially in the books (although sooner than we all would've hoped), there's no shortage of memorable moments or milestones to look back on and celebrate. Some of the biggest highlights include Sue Bird becoming the WNBA's All-Time Assist Leader, and Seattle shining as a first-time host to the WNBA All-Star Game. The Storm ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, celebrated their 10th Anniversary which was honored during a halftime ceremony on Fan Appreciation Night. Breanna Stewart set some new franchise marks and made her first WNBA All-Star appearance, while Jewell Loyd certainly showed flashes of brilliance during her ascension into young WNBA stardom. The Storm have a lot to be proud of coming out of the 2017 season and, more importantly, a lot to look forward to.
2017 also marked 3 Point Production's fourth straight season as the Storm's official game presentation partner. As we continue to strive to produce the WNBA's highest quality entertainment, we also challenge ourselves to provide the greatest home court advantage in the league. We take a great deal of pride in our history and relationship with the front office staff and the Storm players (Sue and I started the same year). Their continued confidence and support of our creative process has brought to life some of our favorite ideas and concepts to date.
Each year we develop and plan for at least one premier entertainment video series featuring Storm players that we capture at Storm Media Day and debut at games throughout the season. In previous years these have included the Storm Lip Sync Battle, Between Two Birds, Storm Mini-Games and classically, Storm Movie Magic. Given our rich history with the Storm organization, we've been able to connect with the players and really get to know their personalities which I believe is evident in our work. Over the years, we've continued to develop more and more confidence and chemistry. This year was no exception.
While planning for this season, in addition to obligations for sponsorship, theme nights and marketing activations, we developed some fresh new video features to enhance the overall fan experience. We debuted a new set of situational crowd prompts and Storm Player GIFs which we were able to add to our 2016 inventory. We also unveiled two completely new, full-season video features this summer, 'Storm Toss Up' and this year's fan favorite, the 'Fake New Reports'.
Fake News Reports
Based on the Fake News phenomenon that has riddled the media in 2017, Derrick Gomez and I developed a concept for a Fake News parody series with stories based on the Storm's brightest stars. We scripted each interview for our Fake News Correspondent, Marty, who was played by Derrick himself. Working alongside David Albright Media, we dove deep into audio and visual details for each storyline - probably more than any of us are willing to admit. Filled with drops of pop culture and nods to internet sensations, the final products each propose a uniquely ridiculous but somewhat believable narrative designed to leave the viewer pondering, "Is this really fake news?".
Decide for yourself:
Is Sue Bird the WNBA Logowoman?!?
Breanna Stewart has a new nickname?!?
Jewell Loyd has Superpowers?!?
Situational Videos & Crowd Prompts
For the first time in four seasons, the Storm jersey didn't change in color, sponsor or appearance, so the video inventory we built in 2016 around the core players was still for the most part relevant. Knowing we could rely on that inventory, we were able to build out and expand on more situational crowd hypes and fan prompts. When creating a home court advantage, these type of assets are critical. Whether it was a clever audio sting or a situational player GIF that we ran on the video board, we had an element built and ready to react to every possible in-game scenario. Below are two examples of new video based elements from the 2017 season. On the left, a crowd hype we'd use coming out of late-game timeouts to hype the crowd or "bump" back into gameplay. This was a hype I originally filmed last year but one of the players we shot it with was cut early in the season so we were only able to use it one time. Below on the right, is an example of our new noise graphics that we triggered throughout the game with various audio prompts coming from the DJ. The crowd really responded to these, especially since we had four versions; one with Sue Bird, one with Jewell Loyd, one with Breanna Stewart and one with the 3 of them rotating. We used them situationally; for instance, if Jewell hit a big shot, we could come back with her specific noise prompt. Shooting these through the unique perspective from behind the player's back allowed us to feature the player's name prominently and make it seem as if the player was turning to the crowd for response.
WNBA All-Star 2017
From the moment we found out that Seattle was set to host Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 at KeyArena, we were filled with excitement. In our very first planning meeting with the WNBA, we vowed to make this All-Star experience second to none. In that same meeting, we pitched the idea of bringing back the WNBA Three-Point Contest which resulted in the competition being broadcast live on ABC Sports as the halftime entertainment. With 15,000+ fans nearly pushing KeyArena to capacity, the event provided a grand stage to represent for our city and properly showcase our appreciation for long-time Storm guard, Sue Bird. In many ways, the game was a celebration of her career here and everything she's done for Seattle basketball.
Another very special moment of the presentation that stands out from our perspective is the All-Star player introduction sequence. Working with the league and broadcast team, we were able to adjust some pregame timings to allow us to bring all of the players back of house and stage them in tunnels within the stands. As a surprise to the fans, the players were introduced roughly 15 rows up and stepped through tunnels of high-fives all the way to the court. We incorporated orange lighting and smoke effects as well as WNBA All-Star branded stair decals to enhance the visuals of the presentation. The intro video and audio selections hyped KeyArena through a rousing sequence that Sue Bird later singled out as her favorite moment of the weekend. Not only was the event a huge success in the eyes of the players, Storm, WNBA and their sponsors, but it also marked one of the cleanest overall event presentations in our company's history. It's certainly a day that all of us will never forget.
In summary, there's only one way to properly end this, the 2017 Storm season was bananas.