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Hurley’s Evan Slater gave me a behind the scenes tour of the Nike US Open on Friday and pointed out some of the new features this year.
Most interesting, I think, was the new US Open Scorecard, which tied in the event with beach-goers’ social media platforms.
Those who attended the event could get a scorecard, put it in a kiosk and sign into their Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare accounts.
Then, they can check-in at 10 different stations around the event and win prizes, including sunglasses, hats, sacks and other goods.
The scorecard helped boost the social media presence of the US Open, and helped make the event interactive for those there.
Evan said in the first two days of the US Open alone, there were 40,000 check-ins around the venue.
Organizers also added lots of opportunities to have photos taken around the site, and then those photos were posted online.
For example, as part of Hurley’s water conservation and clean water campaign, kids could hold up signs that described what they would do to conserve water, have their photos taken, and the photos were then posted.
The 6,500-square-foot retail store on the sand returned again and was jammed with shoppers. There was a large Hurley section, with a whole boardshort wall, a Nike area, and a Converse section. US Open merchandise seemed to be particularly popular and there was a large selection that went way beyond typical T-shirts and offered an array of sizes for adults and kids.
Skullcandy, which is also a sponsor of the event, had merchandise inside the store as well.
Evan said that retail sales had already reached last year’s level when there was still four days left in the event.
The “brand experience” booths were upgraded this year. Hurley’s included a giant photo booth, several games and a “dance party” where kids danced and sang along to songs. The visual focus was on the Phantom, particularly the 4D Phantom.
Nike’s brand experience booth focused on The Chosen advertising campaign, with images from the commercial and an overall nighttime feel similar to the campaign's.
Evan said organizers also opened up the music area this year to give it more space to accommodate the large crowds, and there was one day less of band performances.
They also worked out an arrangement with the Goodyear Blimp, which shot the surfing and the crowds from the air, and those images were used in the webcast. Fuel TV also broadcast some of US Open live.
The webcast traffic increased from last year, up approximately 50% Evan said. As of Thursday, the website had 500,000 visits.
More than 100 people from a webcasting company called Transitions worked on the US Open, and Hurley’s media content team totaled 20.
Evan said organizers believe the age demographic was a bit younger this year, with many seeming to fit the 14-to-18 year old range.
And while Nike got the top billing this year, the brand did not seem omnipresent this year compared to year's past.
See our slide show, above, to see photos from the event.