Bleacher Report is stepping up its fashion game with its second annual The Drop-Up, an event dedicated to sneakers, fashion, music, art and expression through the lens of the NBA.
The two-day event that brings the sports media and web site’s B/R Kicks channel to life kicks off at 459 W. 15th Street in Manhattan on Dec. 12 with a VIP viewing, and opens to the public on Dec. 13 with activations for clothing customization and sneaker donations with It’s From the Sole charity. There will also be an arcade-style claw game called the Key Master Machine, where attendees can play for a chance to win prizes, and marked selfie areas to take photos of their style, including a 1/87th-scale version of Times Square for a branded photo shoot.
Last year, nearly 2,000 attendees visited the one-day event, which included a sneaker wall display of “the greatest sneakers of all time,” the debut of Adidas’ laceless basketball sneaker, and various merchandise drops.
This year, Bleacher Report is leveraging its partnership with StockX for a “Sneaker of the Year” fan vote for the top 10 sneakers of 2019 where select fans will win each of the 10 pairs, and hosting panel discussions titled “Sneaker Deal Disruptors” and “How to Make It.”
In addition, Mike Cherman of Chinatown Market is hosting a three-part video and podcast series titled “Friends and Family” prior to the event that will explore streetwear, street culture and designers. The first episode launched on Dec. 3 and the second will debut on Dec. 6.
Bleacher Report’s chief marketing officer Ed Romaine said B/R Kicks is about all sneakerheads, both passionate and casual, and about making sneakers accessible. He said Chinatown Market embodies the company’s mission statement, saying, “If we’re going to partner with a brand to enhance credibility, we wanted a brand to parallel who we are, and we felt Chinatown Market embodies all of those values.”
The series, which is packaged by media company At Will Media, will also have an accompanying apparel collection for each episode. Rapper Lil Yachty, the first guest on “Friends and Family,” designed a T-shirt and hoodie, Lyrical Lemonade founder and chief executive officer Cole Bennett designed a basketball and T-shirt, and Phoenix Suns player and New York Fashion Week regular Kelly Oubre Jr. designed a set of shirts and sneakers.
Chinatown Market will also create cobranded merchandise with Bleacher Report that will be able to be customized by attendees, and the media company is launching New York City deli-inspired merchandise — “You don’t really know how woven into the culture the bodega is unless you live here,” said Romaine — and select branded MTA MetroCards in New York City subway stations. Consumers that find the cards can bring them to the event to be eligible for prizes.