Success in launching a previous event at Hong Kong’s Central Harbourfront gave WRG an edge when pitching to create the Adidas Sportsbase. The arena project was part of the brand's “Boost Your Summer” campaign with an underlying theme of encouraging
young people to stay active and highlight the range of sports the brand is associated with.
This part of Central Harbourfront sees heavy footfall during the summer months and is considered prime event space. Located next to Piers 9 & 10, the Sportsbase acted as a hub for sports fans, hosting six weeks of activities with appearances from celebrities such as NBA basketball star Jeremy Lin, who kicked off proceedings, and a visit by former Manchester United and England star Lee Sharpe. The Sportsbase also hosted events such as the launch of Adidas’ Crazylight Boost shoes.
The brief was to create a full-size basketball court, soccer pitch and area for yoga and fitness training in line with campaigns developed by Adidas’ global engagement strategy. Rina Ho, brand director for Adidas Hong Kong, said WRG won the bid to develop and manage the Sportsbase because of a shared brand ethos, as well as for successfully launching Swire’s Symphony Under the Stars at the same location. Following the win, the team moved onto the site just under two weeks before the first scheduled event in late June.
Adidas’ campaigns were designed to be ongoing during the campaign's six weeks, engaging the public in freestyle football tournaments, morning yoga sessions and urban runs. Open from 7am to 11pm daily, people were invited to participate in activities on a walk-in basis or by pre-registering online.
The Sportsbase was also the brand’s base for the launch of new Adidas products, which were endorsed by celebrities such as NBA basketball player and Adidas’ global ambassador for the sport, Jeremy Lin. During the time of the campaign, Lin was involved in the “Take On Summer” campaign which was taking place throughout China. He was able to stop over in Hong Kong to kick off the launch of the Sportsbase on June 26.
Managing tight deadlines and heavy rain during Hong Kong’s typhoon season were among the challenges that WRG faced, who were also tasked with securing government approval for the 10m-high structure that would form the basketball court’s overhead roof. WRG’s Michelle Lee, who managed the project with Adidas, says time was not on their side.
“We had less than two months from the initial design to licensing while managing changing restrictions with the venues and neighbouring and partner events. We also weren’t allowed to visit the site until a week before move-in because of a previous event held at the space.”
Building the base at the site of the Central Harbourfront was another issue, which involved ensuring that the ground inside the Base was safe for the activities planned. “The area around the venue was originally soft ground and rubble; we had to pour concrete in order to level the ground and build a working basketball court,” said Lee.
Over the course of the six weeks, WRG says around 65,000 people visited the Adidas Sportsbase, with 7,718 registering to take part in events at the site. Online reach was broad too, with a video featuring Jeremy Lin during the 2v2 campaign amassing 21,000 hits online.
The sheer number of visitors was overwhelming, says Michelle Lee, especially after having managed threats to WRG’s timeline such as bad weather and build regulations.
“It was an unforgettable experience, having to deal with the rain every time we tried to paint the floor, pouring concrete to create a temporary basketball court, and after all of it, having kids waiting at 7am for us to open and clients so happy that they wouldn’t even leave to let us dismantle the base.”
Brand director for Adidas Hong Kong Rina Ho echoed Lee’s comments. “Seeing WRG’s timelapse video, which showed the ‘build’ of the Sportsbase from start to finish, was very special for us… But more than that, seeing the young people so engrossed in the activities, and having Jeremy Lin and other ambassadors engage with our audience were very big moments.”