LOS ANGELES The Super Bowl may have just faded into the rear view, but buzz from another big game took its place on the national stage over the weekend—this time bringing the crush of attendees, press, and events to Los Angeles. The N.B.A. All-Star game and related activities swarmed the city, with the main event occurring Sunday night downtown: the big game, bookended by a big preshow and sprawling, multivenue after-party.
N.B.A. Entertainment senior director of events and attractions Patrick Mahoney hired 15/40 Productions to design and produce the arrivals and work in conjunction with the league on the pregame show production elements. Director of events and attractions Nicole Frank was the N.B.A.'s lead on the after-party, where 15/40 also assisted with production.
The game kicked off with an arrivals carpet, of course—but this was no ordinary step-and-repeat. The televised pregame show included 25,000 square feet of arrivals and staging area on L.A. Live's Nokia Plaza, plus 150 feet of Chick Hearn Court. Three multi-height tents all connected to create the overall look. A Bruno Mars concert took place under the tent on the Nokia Plaza. Invited guests sat on a raised, 3,000-square-foot, mezzanine deck that served as a lounge 10 feet above the carpet—which was magenta for sponsor T-Mobile—in a U-shaped layout for views down on the action. In addition, there was room for fans standing and in the bleachers.
During the game, the scene was the site of a massive changeover, with 15/40 gutting the plaza tent of the pregame action to use it for the after-party—along with six additional venues within L.A. Live: Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Katsuya, ESPN Zone, Conga Room, Lucky Strike, and Club Nokia—or “basically the whole L.A. Live campus,” said 15/40's Craig Waldman.
For the after-parties, a crowd of 5,000 assembled: a mix of the N.B.A.'s invited guests including team owners, team personnel, international basketball guests, business partners, and broadcast, marketing, and merchandise partners. “We typically host a pregame or postgame party on the day of the All-Star game. It has been held in various locations ranging from concert halls, large ballrooms, and also Jam Session presented by Adidas. However, this is the first that included a central plaza and six independent restaurants and entertainment venues,” Frank explained.
“This city has been great to us. Everyone here is used to putting on large events,” she added. “Working with several establishments and producing live entertainment in multiple venues can present challenges no matter what city we’re in.” She explained that, while thousands of people poured out of the arena, only 5,000 headed to the party, making numerous checkpoints a necessity.
“Once they were in the party, we managed pedestrian flow and capacity, while cuing entertainment in multiple venues and making sure food and beverage were readily available. With all of the challenges, it came down to teamwork and effective communication to make it all happen seamlessly,” she said. “We were extremely pleased with the support we’ve received from the people of L.A. throughout the planning process. Overall, everyone in L.A., and particularly those involved with this function, have been great to work with and have really rallied around our events to make them the best we’ve ever had.”