Welcome back to the Five Spot, where we ask industry experts five questions.
The 2016-2017 season marks the 100th anniversary of the National Hockey League (NHL). Thirty teams are competing in 82 games over seven months. When it comes to producing events for the League, be it the Winter Classic, the Heritage Classic, or the stadium series, Toronto’s BaAM Productions is the go-to company.
BaAM is a creative production company that specializes in entertainment, cultural, tourism, and sports experiences. As Vice President – Creative at BaAM, Gary Myers oversees the work of a team responsible for 2D/3D design, production design, design detail, and content creation. Recent projects include the World Cup of Hockey Fan Village in Toronto and MLB All-Star FanFest in San Diego. InPark News Editor Joe Kleiman asked him five questions.
To what extent has mobile technology changed the way BaAM designs fan events?
Mobile tech allows everyone to communicate with fans before, during, and after an event – extending the experience beyond the onsite location. Onsite experiences need to be more compelling and immediately shareable than ever before. Focusing on creating authentic brand experiences that can live on in social media is a necessary and fully integrated component of the fan experience.
Are there different challenges for indoor as compared to outdoor events?
Connectivity is the key whether indoors or outdoors, so using an existing wireless network or providing a reliable wireless connection is key. We build this into our plans for all events. Indoor events offer a greater environmental control – lighting, sound, general environment – while outdoor events come with considerations around weather and ambient control levels. We plan for these conditions not only from a fan experience point of view but also from fan safety and comfort considerations.
The SAP Fan Challenge at the Scotiabank World Cup of Hockey Fan Village combined technology with physical activity. How did you achieve a successful equilibrium between the two?
Fans love to touch the sport so providing a physical hands-on activity is still really important. But they also love instant records of their achievements and they love to compete with their friends. Being able to incorporate score tracking and performance measuring technology is a great way of striking a balance between the two. The activity becomes the source of the content that fans can choose to share through their social channels.
BaAM has worked with the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings to develop science exhibits for the Discovery Cube Science Centers in Santa Ana and Los Angeles. How was the design process for these exhibits similar to and how did it differentiate from designing a fan event?
The design process is the same, from concept to actualization. The production approach is more detailed because we are creating permanent exhibits and interactives. There are many similarities because we create authentic skills-based experiences, specifying real stadium and arena materials and the aesthetic of the sport as our source of inspiration.
Do you take a different approach designing for a regional exhibit, such as Hockey Heritage North, than for a higher visibility event, such as those BaAM produces for the NHL?
The approach and the creative development process is essentially the same. The stories we tell inform the exhibit content, but the overall approach, look, and feel of the experience is simply authentic to the sport. There is a strong professional hockey connection to the exhibits at Hockey Heritage North and the Northeastern Ontario region. We never underestimate the sophistication and passion of the audience and generally sports audiences are experts in the history and stories being told.