NBA, SAP partner on long-form branded reality TV show

Left to right: Ros Gold-Onwude, Kevin McHale, David Griffin, Evan Wasch

Do you ever go over your fantasy basketball lineup and think, "I bet I could be a general manager in the NBA?"

Well, the National Basketball Association and SAP are giving four fans a chance at just that with the co-branded reality TV show GM School.

SAP has been the official data analytics partner to the NBA since 2012. In 2013, it began a quest to compile the league's entire statistical history. Dan Fleetwood, vice-president of global sponsorships at SAP, said this TV show was an opportunity amplify its stats platform in a new way in a world that's appreciating analytics more than ever.

"How do we tell the story and make it digestible for not only the people who are interested in the technology but people who are interested in the NBA overall? For us, the idea behind GM School was to touch on how we're partnering with the NBA from a data and analytics perspective, but also how that helps the fans. We like to make fans smarter, solve questions and debates around who's the better player...and so the idea of GM School was born," said Fleetwood.

The one-episode special will air tonight (20 February) on NBA TV, and after it will be distributed on the NBA's YouTube channel.

This is the first reality TV show for the NBA, and the first long-form campaign from SAP. The NBA, its Players' Association, SAP and creative agency Momentum Worldwide were all involved in the making of GM School.

Fleetwood, recognizing the average fan won't be running to buy SAP products, said GM School was a great opportunity to raise brand awareness alongside the "beloved" NBA.

"We're trying to establish and make sure people...know our brand and know who SAP is [and] know what we do in terms of the technology that we provide.

"We've been partners with [the NBA] for a long time. This is a global brand that is beloved around the world. There is a reason why we partner with these guys, and so we want to make sure people understand that association around the world," said Fleetwood.

Hosted by TNT sportscaster Ros Gold-Onwude, the show puts four fans through mock post-game press conferences and fake drafts. Hall of Famer Kevin McHale, former general manager David Griffin, and NBA senior vice-president of basketball strategy and analytics Evan Wasch participate as judges.

The winner of GM School will earn an exploratory interview with the NBA in the hopes of working for a team's front office.

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