INDIANAPOLIS —ESPN The Magazine held its eighth annual “NEXT” event Friday in a downtown warehouse space that welcomed about 2,000 guests including athletes, celebrities, and industry VIPs.
Featured guests who lit up the star-studded carpet included Shaquille O’Neal, Drew Brees, Hope Solo, Blake Shelton, Spike Lee, JR Martinez, Tim Tebow, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, and a special appearance by the “NEXT” Issue cover athlete, Cam Newton, just to name a few.
The Mag’s private event also featured a special performance by multi-platinum Grammy nominated artist, Drake, with music by DJ D-Nice. Past performances include: Kid Rock, Rev Run, Ne-Yo, Keri Hilson, Wyclef Jean, LL Cool J, Ludacris and Ciara.
This year’s “NEXT” event had a modern, industrial feel with pops of color throughout the space as well as customized areas designed to incorporate visual content from ESPN The Magazine’s “NEXT” issue, which recognizes an elite group of emerging athletes to watch in the year ahead.
ESPN The Magazine’s NEXT Event is not just a party: It is a platform, a culture, and an experience.
The premise behind The Magazine’s NEXT issue focuses on looking toward the future and continuing to be at the forefront of sports, and NEXT is no exception. Starting the weekend with an unprecedented VIP event, ESPN The Magazine creates a unique experience to kick off Super Bowl weekend.
Also featured for the very first time was a one-of-a-kind social media studio where ESPN talent Marcellus Wiley and Charissa Thompson took over the Magazine’s Twitter handle (@ESPNMag) and #NEXT, engaging with event guests both in person and via Twitter.
The studio mirrored an ESPN broadcast set which invited NEXT event attendees as well as celebrities and athletes to get into the studio and tweet live from the event.
NEXT also provides brands with a high impact marketing and hospitality platform to generate additional visibility amongst the biggest trendsetters in sports and entertainment. A number of sponsors activated on-site including Bud Light, Dunkin’ Donuts, Ford, Kaspersky Lab, LG, Vicks Dayquil/Nyquil. Additional partners included Full Swing Golf and Gibson Guitars.