Every summer in the Queen City of Charlotte, N.C., ESPN’s Jay Bilas holds a basketball camp. The camp is dubbed the Jay Bilas Skills Camp, and its premise is stressing the importance of dedication and the fundamental basketball skill development.
Centerfold Agency of Charlotte was put to the task of the camp’s rebrand, which included a new logo design, color upgrades, social media posts and various other deliverables. The rebranding relationship, however, started with a conversation with camp host Queens University of Charlotte.
“Working with Queens and seeing their facilities during the camp allowed us to have an organic conversation around branded environment opportunities,” said Tim Rebich, principal, Centerfold Agency. “We talked a lot about the balance of the student-athlete, and how that serves the overall brand purpose of their athletic programs and the university as a whole.”
It took three years for the camp to establish its true identity after tweaking with things and a solid growth pattern. Centerfold helped them along the way and delivered the branding.
“We knew we had figured out a model for the camp that had staying power and we wanted to connect it to a brand identity that had staying power as well,” said John Searby, camp director, Jay Bilas Skills Camp.
The camp acquired a new sponsor from Under Armour. Searby was sure Under Armour had staying power for the brand. Centerfold also recognizes Under Armour’s commitment to the camp.
“The [Under Armour] partnership has added a lot of momentum and energy to the camp, so we want to make sure we keep that going,” said Rebich.
“The addition of Under Armour as a partner put the pressure on us to step up our game from a branding standpoint to keep in step with the progressive nature of their brand,” said Searby. He believes Centerfold helped the camp find the balance between being cutting edge and embracing its core values.
The camp prides itself on being one that teaches the necessary skills to make them a better individual and teammate. Searby says the main focus is learning, and believe that’s not something the high school players get much of anymore. This, he believes, is what separates the Jay Bilas Skills Camp from other basketball camps.
“Basketball games have become the central focus of both high school and summer basketball,” said Searby. “The amount of time for the fundamental teaching of the game with no ulterior motives has suffered. They aren’t there to perform, they are there to learn.”
The college atmosphere with amenities gives the athletes a chance to foreshadow upon what playing at the higher level is like.
NCAA rules prohibit the camp from being held at a D-I campus, so it’s held at D-II Queens University. Searby believes the facilities are perfect for the camp, with three full courts, two locker rooms, and a luxurious dining-facility.
For 2018, three big changes are being made to further learning experiences.
Their Coaches Development Program is expanding to enable each camp team a collegiate head coach and three assistants. This lowers the camper-to-coach ratio to 3–1, for greater learning opportunities.
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Under Armour is ramping up their camper package as the two brands enter the second year, and the camp is focusing more on a parent development track.
“We’ve really put a lot of thought into the program in an effort to try to educate parents,” said Searby. Not only will they know about how to help their sons grow on the court, but off the court as well in ways that will make them better college players.”
Consistency is an important deliverable for any brand or camp, and Searby knows they must stay fresh — especially with newcomers every year.
“I think the number one thing the Jay Bilas Skills Camp learned was to think long-term in your brand development,” said Searby. “We have a vision about the development of the brand that will allow us to stay consistent with newcomers and parents.”
*Centerfold is a Proud Partner of FOS