LumiFlex glass LED basketball surface offers lucrative sponsorship opportunities

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ASB glass floorLumiFlex basketball court recently received FIBA ​​Level 1 competition approval. This critical step allows the German company’s court, which combines a durable glass surface with LED components and computer software to create a basketball court that is essentially an oversized monitor, to be used during any championship of the world overseen by basketball’s governing body, including the Olympic Games.

At the end of June, the head of the German Bundesliga basketball league, Stefan Holzsaid the league will allow its teams to use the ground for league play for the foreseeable future, although he did not give a specific timetable.

And now, ASB GlassFloor is turning its sights to the lucrative North American arena market. General director Christof Babinski said the company was looking for joint venture partners – strategic and/or financial – to launch a US venture. The aim is to have an office and sales and installation teams in place by mid-2023.

“We are fully aware that we need an American entity to do all of this,” Babinsky said.

Babinsky’s goal is for the courts to be used by NBA teams. An NBA spokesperson said the league is aware of the product but did not add anything further. It would clearly be a big adjustment for the league, which has been playing on wood pitches — mostly maple — for more than a century.

From graphics to rotating sponsorship posts, ASB GlassFloor’s LumiFlex LED glass basketball court offers many new potential revenue streams for users. The company has its sights set on the US market.Courtesy of ASB GlassFloor

The glass LED courts are worth watching. They are very expensive initially, but they last longer than hardwood floors, perform better and reduce labor costs. Their display capabilities generate a seemingly endless fan experience and engagement, as well as advertising and sponsorship opportunities. And the endorsement of FIBA ​​Tier 1 competition is the biggest statement yet that there would be no sacrifice in competitive integrity in moving basketball courts from hardwood to glass.

“It’s quite a remarkable innovation,” said ASM’s Global Commercial Director. Jason Oberlander, who previously worked with the NBA to manage global sales for what is now the G League. “I can’t comment on the quality of the surface as a playing surface, but from a branding and advertising point of view, in my experience, traditional courts have increasingly become beachfront real estate for brands, so a canvas to paint on and execute from a brand marketers perspective is exciting.

No longer usable

Modern manufacturing glass has qualities not well known to the public, including greater flexibility than hardwood — 1.8 times more flexible, according to one of the company’s videos — and greater durability. Babinsky, who described himself as a glass crusader, said the courts could handle any type of shoe, including high heels; they do not scratch, smudge or mark. Ceramic dots scattered on the surface prevent floor burns from dropping.

“You never changed your windows because the glass got old, you changed them because the technology around them got old,” said Babinsky, who in 2012 took over the business that his father, Horst, had. founded in the 1960s.

Over the past decade, LED has moved beyond signs on the sides and tops of buildings. Floors are a natural next progression, although the LED had to be fitted to deal with the constant vibrations of running athletes.

“The LED, itself, gets damaged when you touch it. That’s a problem,” Babinsky said. “By applying surfaces in front, you solve a lot of those problems and it makes it more usable.”

The company’s video first floor was created in 2014 and tested at a Nike 3-on-3 event in Berlin the following year. More 3-on-3 events followed, and the Harlem Globetrotters played on the court in 2017. Interested German professional basketball teams prompted FIBA ​​to take a closer look at the innovation, and the instance leader conducted player interviews and surveys last year at a 3-on-3 tournament in western Germany.

No one expects top-tier professional basketball leagues to allow a digital dinosaur to roam the court while a game is in progress – as seen in one of ASB GlassFloor’s promotional videos – but an NBA All-Star game or overseas exhibition might invite that kind of experimentation, as might a TV show.

“He’s got a ton of life, and I think that’s a really cool option,” the MKTG senior vice president said. Emilie Spiegel. “It’s like a lot of things, is it technology for technology’s sake? We come at it from a brand perspective and our “care” for our customers would be to make sure it enhances and doesn’t detract from the fan experience. »

Lucrative options

Crypto.com Arena President Lee Zeidman was intrigued by the product of the German company. But, he said, “there would be a whole series of questions that I would have before he was even on an NBA radar,” such as what kind of subcourt goes under the glass court. , or “what happens if the LED goes out and you lose the lines on your land?

The pitch doesn’t work on ice – another question from Zeidman – and the price for permanent installation – seven figures low, although each pitch is custom, so prices vary – is significantly higher than the pitches on ice. hardwood, which typically run around $250,000.

That said, LumiFlex courts are expected to last six to seven decades, which means less maintenance, more events, and no labor costs associated with floor changes, whereas hardwood floors, or pieces of these, need to be replaced much more often.

There is no doubt that the LumiFlex court would be a useful competitive addition to training facilities for top professional and college teams.

Additionally, the revenue generating potential of the LED short is immense. Teams could sell on-field sponsorships to a handful of companies, changing sponsors every two minutes, for example. Referral messages can be animation, not just a logo or graphic. Jason Miller, senior vice president of Excel and head of properties, said NBA floor sponsorships could be lucrative; maybe not seven figures themselves, but definitely part of overall seven figure packages. Oberlander believed top-tier college teams could potentially get six figures from court sponsors.

A sponsor’s logo might flash on the field after a 3-pointer, the exact moment when all eyes in the building are watching that player on the field. And so the land “becomes the most important ad space you have as the game’s host,” Babinsky said.

Bret McCormick can be contacted at bmccormick@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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