Indoor and Outdoor Nationals
For New Balance, this meant launching a Facebook-connected track meet for its takeover of the national high school indoor and outdoor track and field championships. Rather than using sponsorship as a means of promoting New Balance to a few hundred athletes, we saw an opportunity to use social platforms and the brand’s reach to celebrate on-the-track achievements with the world.
Starting with the 2011 New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in New York City, we built an experience that connected the unique bib numbers of each competitor to that athlete’s Facebook ID, enabling us to post race times, videos, photographs and results to their friends and family at home. The New Balance Running team and National Scholastic Athletics Foundation granted us remarkable access to the event and grounds, allowing us to integrate with timing systems, start lists, live event feeds and the full event registration data — delivering a near real-time view of the full event through our activation.
Together, we delivered a branded experience that was focused on celebrating the participants, rather than just the sponsor.
Since the first of these experiences, the New Balance Facebook coverage has become the de facto home for results, photos, and videos of the three day event. Results coverage, once distributed across more than one dozen sites, aggregated on our pages. Over a typical championship weekend involving roughly 3,000 athletes, more than 250,000 unique visitors will interact with our experience — a remarkable reach for a brand that has historically lacked the cache with high school athletes that some of its competitors have.
“An observation from someone who knows the challenges of covering this meet inside and out: the integration of results, photos, videos, Facebook postings, walls comments, athletes activities outside of competition at this meet is light years ahead of anything else being done out there related to track meets, or even, I’d venture, any major sporting event. Cutting edge. Credit to New Balance for creating a 360-degree experience that sets the bar. This story should be a must-read for the USATF and others.”
David Devine, Senior Editor at ESPN RISE and USATF official