BravoCon Sponsors Turn Fan Event Into NBCUniversal’s Next Big Business – The Hollywood Reporter
During NBCUniversal’s initial presentation at Radio City Music Hall in May, speeches, clips and musical performances were interrupted by a skit.
The premise? A couple look at Bravo Watch what’s happening live try to get free tickets to the BravoCon fan event and find yourself transported to the Radio City stage. What followed was a “shock and awe” effort by Bravo meant to underscore just how far the channel had become “Dozens of celebrities, uh, ‘Bravo-lebrities,’ filled the stage as troops dance performed around the actors representing the couple.
Reality TV is big business, but unlike scripted fare, which has long found an experiential home in movie theaters or theme parks, it’s been difficult to create an experience around such programming.
And why NBCUniversal is betting on BravoCon. The fan convention will return (after a pandemic-induced hiatus) October 14-16 from New York’s Javits Center and Hammerstein Ballroom. Panels, photo shoots, parties, shopping opportunities, live recordings of Watch what’s happening live and other experiences are on display, along with more than 140 channel stars.
NBCUniversal reports that this year’s BravoCon secured 19 sponsors, quadruple the number involved in the last event in 2019. Bud Light Seltzer, Lay’s, State Farm being the main event sponsors.
As consumer demand for live events continues to be insatiable, brands are eager to get in on the action, and NBCU hopes BravoCon will supply them.
“Brands are seeing huge results and impact with live events, we see that between all of our live events, whether it’s for the Emmys, and now BravoCon, The Latin Billboards. But this event is very unique,” said said Laura Molen, president of advertising sales and partnerships for NBCU. The Hollywood Reporter. “You know, there aren’t many brands that can represent live and fandom.”
For BravoCon, many sponsors will be closely involved in the event itself, with Bud Light Seltzer sponsoring the Saturday night festivities (and providing drinks, of course), Chase Sapphire opening a VIP lounge, and State Farm sponsoring the “Bravohood “, which Molen looks like a Bravo museum.
Lay’s is sponsoring a dining experience that will see some of its fries (some salty, some sweet) paired with cast members from the Real Housewives franchise.
“The team came up with the idea of matching the flavor of a Lay to a Housewife, and they loved it,” Molen said. “And not only did they love it, but our talent loved it, they thought it was perfect. And they were so excited because a great thing about Bravo’s talent is that they know their fans build their brands… And when you put it all together, it’s just going to produce results for our marketers.
BravoCon’s success is significant because, while Universal’s theme parks could be the perfect place to experience the Minions Where jurassic park, there is a lot more content and IP that can be turned into live events. And traders want to be part of it.
BravoCon is, in many ways, a test bed for what’s possible.
“It’s really a flywheel to attract brands and once they see the power they want more, and our [advertising] The One Platform offering gives them the ability to do that across our portfolio,” says Molen. “And again, this isn’t just a Bravo opportunity at NBCUniversal…it’s the model for the future of how we sell our sponsorships and our live events.”
“If the future of our industry is all about the trio of content, technology and partnership, all coming together to deliver engaging and interactive, data-driven premium content to our fans, BravoCon is the best example,” it adds. -she.