The 2012 London Olympics was a huge success for sport in the UK, so much so that the government pleged a huge investment to sports and athletics with the aim of improving the UK's medal tally at Rio 2016.
Social media campaigns, activations and mass participation events such as Sky's 'Sky Ride' have kept the momentum of 2012 alive and acheived an enormous impact on lesser-known UK sports in recent years. (It may feel like Britain has always been cycling mad but according to figures released by British Cycling, the number of people cycling at least once a week has actually risen by more than 100,000 since October 2012.)
Participation in sports such as swimming, golf, athletics and gymnastics are also on the up - the nation is truely embracing sport and it's paved the way for brands and sponsors to connect with consumers on a level that didn't exsist before.
Here's five examples of how some of our favourite sports brands have taken engagement to the next level by creating incredible live experiences that manage to connect their brand with their desired market in a much more inspiring way....
NIKE'S HALL OF PHENOMENAL
The Nike Hall of Phenomenal is a fine example of an interactive, digital sports experience of epic proportions, synomymous with the famous swoosh brand.
Nike's live soccer experience launched in New York and travelled across Europe, landing in London ahead of their 2014 World Cup #RiskEverything campaign. It showcased an outdoor soccer pitch where participants could sign up and compete in daily tournaments, art exhibitions, a customisation center and interactive trial areas to launch the latest Nike Magista cleats.
2. HOUSE OF VANS LONDON
2014 saw the opening of multifaceted arts hub - House Of Vans. The iconic brand transformed the historical tunnels that lie beneath Waterloo Station developing a warren of venues - each one serving to cultivate creativity through art, music, skating and fashion.
As well as housing London's first permanent indoor skate park, the 3000 square metre creative complex includes an art gallery, a VansLab artist incubator, cinema, live music venue, premium café and bars.
Opening 5 days a week, the not-for-profit space is prepared for work and play, hosting a myriad of learning and educational activities - the majority being free of charge.
Inspired by neon lights, Americana and rugged skate environments; Vans have managed to achieve an 'off the wall' space that engages with its audience in spectacular fashion.
3. ADIDAS D ROSE JUMP STORE
Adidas had exactly two hours to turn NBA superstar, Derrick Rose into an urban icon for kids in London. So they built the D Rose Jump Store in Hackney and filled with hundreds of pairs of free D Rose shoes, on shelves 10ft high.
The store allowed kids to show how talented they might be at a game many of them had never played, and a new generation of Adidas icons was born.
Armed only with an online film, posters, business cards and zero media budget, the live experience and pop up shop earned over 2 million pounds of free media and hit 4 million people in just 10 days.
Now that's impressive.
4. REEBOK CROSSFIT
Reebok celebrated its patnership with super-fitness brand CrossFit by transforming 18 shipping containers into mobile CrossFit boxed gyms, driving the message that Reebok CrossFit can be done anywhere, at any time.
Reebok landed their CrossFit containers in iconic locations targeting key markets all around the world including New York's Empire State Building and London's Tower Bridge.
Not one to stop there, Reebok were also awarded two world records for the longest and largest piece of 3D art which measured an enormous 1160msq and simultaneously promoted their CrossFit range.
5. CONVERSE RUBBER TRACKS RECORDING STUDIOS
Converse's Rubber Tracks is a global family of community-based professional recording studios which alow emerging musicians to apply for free studio time. If selected, artists record at no cost while maintaining the rights to their own music.
The concept grew from Converse's CMO Geoff Cottril's desire to connect with their audience of on a no-strings-attached basis “Our hypothesis from the beginning was, do something really good for your core consumer, don’t ask anything in return, and watch what happens.”
Since the launch of Rubber Tracks, Converse’s Facebook fan base has grown from 6 million to 40 million, making it the third most popular Page on the network.
It pays to recognise and appreciate your audience, and that's why We Love This can't get enough of Converse, a collective 53 pairs and counting.