When Creative Edge Media, a leading Middle East marketing and media rights company, secured the exclusive broadcasting rights to all Saudi Arabian basketball, they saw it as a chance to make something really special.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's participation in basketball goes all the way back to 1964 when it joined FIBA Asia, part of the International Basketball Federation, and is the second most popular sport in the KSA behind Soccer – but a long way behind soccer.
Creative Edge brought us on board as their branding partner, along with Deloitte as their strategic partner, so that together we could set about the task of breathing new life into Saudi Arabian Basketball.
When we started the job, sports clubs in Saudi Arabia were structured in such a way so that each individual club housed many different teams under the same name. Imagine if Manchester United was also a rugby team. And an ice hockey team. And a cricket team. And so on.
So the first thing we did was to help formulate a new league structure with a competitive knockout system under the new name of SBL – the Saudi Basketball League.
Our starting point was to take stock of the sport itself. Basketball, by its very nature, is a high-speed, high-impact experience for players and spectators both. The players on a basketball court move at a lightning-fast pace to overwhelm their opponents.
We knew that we wanted to take this energy and put it into the identity. This is what inspired us to craft the central B in the SBL marque into the stylised shape of a lightning bolt.
We took the angular shape of our lightning-bolt B to create a dazzling visual language, made from multiple shards of glass. The flow and shape of these shards as they whirl around the players represent the energy and motion of a basketball match.
The black and orange brand colour palette came from a deceptively simple source: they are the colours of a basketball. In fairness, these balls are black and brown, but nobody wants a brown brand identity.
“From the outset, we wanted the identity to have a very slick, polished feel so it would appeal directly to younger audiences who enjoy premium brand entertainment.”
Gareth Mapp, Executive Creative Director
When the SBL launched the results were spectacular. Stadium attendance at basketball matches went from 5% capacity to 90% capacity practically overnight. Television audiences saw a startling upswing too, attracting more viewers than soccer.
SBL has won:
Best Visual Identity (Travel & Leisure) Silver, Transform Europe 2015
Best Use Of A Visual Property Silver, Transform Europe 2015
Best Brand Development Project To Reflect Changed Mission/Values/Positioning Silver, Transform Europe 2015
Best Strategic/Creative Development Of A New Brand Bronze, Transform Europe 2015