The date: Sunday, 29 June. The time: 12 noon. The venue: NEX shopping mall.
“PRESS ME”, invited the two bright red words above the orange “basketball” button. The words were practically shouting out to busy shoppers at the mall – to touch the button.
Curious shoppers stopped and stared. A few children ran up to look at the button to find out what it was all about.
And in the process, it got “activated.”
Loud sirens were suddenly heard wailing throughout the whole shopping mall.
Basketball players coming out of nowhere to play
And out of nowhere, a large basketball stand complete with a backboard and hoop, came wheeling through Nex, with six towering basketball players in tow. They stopped in front of the empty space outside a stationery shop – which had doubled up as a basketball court.
Three were members of the Singapore Slingers (playing in the Asean Basketball League – ABL), while the rest were female players from local league basketball teams.
A basketball game being played in the middle of a busy shopping mall? That was definitely a first!
After about 15 to 20 minutes of intensive basketball action, the game stopped and the players suddenly vanished – as quickly as they had come.
Didn’t expect to see basketball played in a shopping mall
The bewildered shoppers slowly dispersed, as if they were unable to believe what they had just witnessed, right there and then, in the middle of the bustling shopping centre.
One of the shoppers, 26-year-old merchandiser Luan Chin Hao, said, “I didn’t expect to see a basketball game in the middle of a shopping mall. Usually it’s played outdoors or in a stadium. So this certainly caught my attention.”
Agreed 31-year-old business development manager Leonard Lee, “I saw the crowd, so I decided to check it out. That’s when I saw the basketball game. I have seen soccer games inside a mall, but basketball is definitely unique.”
Publicity stunt by Sport Singapore
This activation publicity stunt, Nothing Beats Live, was conducted by Sport Singapore to promote the watching of sports live. The stunt, featuring members of the Singapore Slingers, also served as a way to introduce the public to the ABL, a regional basketball competition, which begins its new season on July 16.
Said Lee Huei Chern, the Director of Communications and Engagement at Sport Singapore, “We thought this was a fun way to introduce or tell people that ABL is happening in Singapore.
“Today, we chose a heartland shopping mall to conduct the activation, because we wanted to show the heartland communities in Singapore, that watching sports live can be a leisure activity for bonding with your family.”
At the Singapore Sports Hub too
Apart from the NEX shopping mall, this “basketball game” had also been conducted at the Singapore Sports Hub’s Open House during the same weekend.
Explained Lee, “We had wanted to whet the appetite of sports fans, as the ABL will be played at the Sports Hub arena next weekend.”
At the sports hub late last Saturday afternoon, eight-year-old Phua Wen Xin was the brave person to have activated the orange button – to set off the basketball game.
Activation out of curiosity
Wen Xin, a Primary Three student at Kong Hwa School, was at the sports hub with her mother, IT Manager Yeo Kheng Hui, 40. They had confessed to missing the link between the basketball game and the orange button – at the beginning.
Explained a bemused Yeo, “It (the orange button) just said, PRESS ME, so my daughter just pressed it. I guess it’s a kid’s instinct! But subsequently, when we realised that the button looked like a basketball, and the basketball players were running out, we knew that it was because she had pushed the button.”
Mother and daughter had initially been expecting something much less dramatic, such as music, to come out of the button-pushing stunt.
But no doubt, this rather fun and interesting basketball experience has definitely whetted the appetites of both Wen Xin and her mother, to watch more live sports.
Singapore Slingers may have some new fans
So this may mean that when the ABL starts next week, the Singapore Slingers might have a few new converts – all thanks to this fun activation exercise – which even the Slingers themselves said that they had loved.
Said Slinger Ng Han Bing, 26, “I think that this is pretty creative, like, someone pressing the button and we come in and start playing basketball. This is the first time I have done something like this!”
Added his team-mate Wu Qingde, 22, “It’s also a very nice opportunity for us to interact with the community. It’s not very often that we can have some fun with the public – and doing so is a very rewarding experience for us, when we see the smiles on people’s faces.”
Read more about Meeting the Giants, a movie starring the Singapore Slingers, here.
For more on watching and participating in live sports, check out the ActiveSG portal. http://www.myactivesg.com/whats-on