What It Takes to Be an All-Star
New Orleans welcomed NBA All-Star 2017 into town with open arms and 73,000 square feet of branding.
The NBA All-Star Game features more than 24 of the most elite basketball players facing off on a Sunday night. In fact, the event has ballooned over the years into an NBA All-Star weekend. There’s now a celebrity game starring players like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, WNBA players Candace Parker and Lindsay Whalen, and lead singer of Arcade Fire, Win Butler; showcases like the Skills Challenge and Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star Saturday Night; and the NBA Development League All-Star Game. It’s an all-out affair.
And any all-out affair needs all-over branding, which takes an all-star team. The 2017 event in New Orleans called for roughly 73,000 square feet of graphics across almost 30 venues: the Smoothie King Center, where the main event was held; the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which housed the celebrity game; 24 hotels, including six that received a total graphics makeover; the New Orleans airport; and the 121,000-square-foot Champions Square amphitheater.
Electrobot Creative teamed with Crystal Clear Imaging (CCI), a print partner who had worked on New Orleans’ NBA All-Stars in 2008 and 2014, for the bulk of the wide-format work. The 2017 event was a bit of a rush job, so it was critical to find a capable and experienced partner. CCI was local, deeply familiar with many of the venues, and versatile in their capabilities.
When tasked with orchestrating the NBA All-Star 2017 takeover, Electrobot Creative and Crystal Clear Imaging (CCI) took the word “takeover” to heart. For starters, CCI printed onto Agfa Duratex 8oz mesh and Top Value Fabrics black back banner media with their Gandi Jeti 5000 and HP Scitex XL1500 printers to brand New Orleans’ Champions Square plaza. As for the building wrap stretching a total of 9885 square feet, CCI used their HP Latex 3000 to print onto Clear Focus ImageVue perforated vinyl.
Why the rush? The 2017 event was originally scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, but when the state instituted and then did not quickly repeal HB2 – a controversial law that limits legal protections for LGBT people – the league decided to relocate the game. Electrobot’s Rob Soulé says his team didn’t start work until October for the February event; usually, the project takes six to eight months to complete.
The compressed timeframe also meant the city of New Orleans had just a few other commitments that weekend: For starters, it was Mardi Gras. They were able to reschedule some events, like an Eric Church concert, but the city’s biggest holiday of the year? Not so much. CCI’s local expertise came in handy as they juggled production for All-Star 2017, other commitments for Mardi Gras-related events, and navigating the bourbon-soaked streets.
For more on Electrobot and CCI's superwide takeover: