Gaming case study: Under Armour hacks NBA 2K16 with boosted player stats

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US basketball player Stephen Curry emerged as the surprise star of the 2016 NBA season- which meant that the video game was giving him out of date stats. This case study looks at how sports clothing brand Under Armour partnered with the games creators to give Curry a mid-season boost…


Game Changer - Under Armour Droga5 from Benita on Vimeo.


Case study summary

• Sports brand teams with game creators to increase a players stats to mirror real life counterpart’s amazing season

• Promotion happened for a 30 hour period only on the game

• People playing with Curry increased 156% and developer 2K saw its largest spike in game play ever

• 7m+ weekly players in 52 countries, mentions of Under Armour with player doubled


The challenge

Stephen Curry’s real-life success in 2016 caught the creators of NBA 2K16 a little off-guard. By mid-season, Curry was clearly out-performing his video-game self.

So Under Armour saw a publicity opportunity and convinced the developers to actually raise video-game Curry’s ratings for all 7 million weekly global players, in celebration of Curry’s winning the Most Valuable Player award (MVP).

The solution

For 30 hours, he became the greatest shooter in NBA 2K’s 16-year history, and Curry fans across the world played with MVP Curry’s true skills for the very first time.

Droga5’s co-head of strategy Harry Roman says the idea to cross an Under Armour ad into gaming came from the idea that basketball fanatics not only use gaming for entertainment, but also for strategic training, to mentally rehearse playbooks, develop strategies, and then apply them to the court.

“The consumer in this space has a voracious appetite for basketball related content, but the sources are endless,” says Roman. “From user-generated hype reels to branded content and publisher side content. We wanted to create a unique way for people to experience what its like to have the bigger than life skills that Curry has used to break the game of basketball.”

The results

• People playing with Curry increased 156%

• Developer 2K saw its largest spike in game play ever

• 7m+ weekly players in 52 countries

• Mentions of Under Armour with Curry doubled

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