NBA tips off new season with action-packed 'Only Here' spot featuring fans

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is tipping off its upcoming season on 22 December with a spot titled "Only Here", starring Los Angeles Lakers player Anthony Davis (pictured). Inspired by fans, the spot also features some of them who share what is unique and exciting about the NBA this season.

The spot will air on TV, digital and social platforms globally in 10 languages, including Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Serbian. According to NBA, the spot will be modified to feature locally-relevant players. Localised spots in Asia feature Jordan Clarkson in the Philippines, Ben Simmons in Australia, and Rui Hachimura in Japan. Asia Pacific is ranked second in NBA League Pass subscriptions and revenue, and the region represents 10.9 million of the 41.7 million global NBA Facebook followers, NBA's spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

"Only Here" also includes game highlights of rivalries between teams, various game plays, and drama featured in the NBA. Additionally, the league also launched the #OnlyHere hashtag across its social and digital platforms last week.

The pandemic has resulted in the league tweaking its structure and format for the 2020-2021 season, with preseason games beginning in December instead of the usual period of October. According to multiple media reports including Adweek and AdAge, the league appointed WPP's Cartwright and IPG's Mediahub to handle creative and media duties respectively for the upcoming season.

NBA's spokesperson said that due to COVID-19 restrictions and a shortened off-season, the spot was filmed simultaneously in six cities: Brooklyn, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Denver, and Los Angeles. The selected fans each shot in a location of their choosing and were provided kits which included an iPhone, ring light, tripod and microphone to produce the best quality content possible. According to the spokesperson, the software also converted the camera into a live feed which enabled us to see exactly what was being recorded in real-time.

In March this year, the NBA initially suspended its season due to COVID-19 but resumed play on 30 July with 22 teams after its board of governors approved a competitive format which involved the games being held at a single-site campus at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Separately in July, the league unveiled cloth face coverings in Asia Pacific and Europe featuring NBA team logos. The initiative was done in partnership with sport and entertainment merchandise manufacturer FOCO, as well as operator of the league’s eCommerce stores in Asia Pacific and Europe, Fanatics.

NBA's spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE previously that its primary objective is to support communities affected by the pandemic. Hence, 100% of the proceeds will go to Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organisation with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. The cloth face coverings were promoted through NBA-owned channels, such as social media accounts and localised digital destinations.

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