Nuggets Host First-Ever ‘Creator Suite’ During 2023 Playoffs

The 2023 postseason was a historic run of firsts for the Denver Nuggets.

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They advanced to their first NBA Finals in 47 years. Then, Denver took down the Miami HEAT in five games to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time in franchise history. Nikola Jokić became the franchise’s first Western Conference Finals MVP and NBA Finals MVP during the playoff run.

But there was another ‘first’ to be excited about. And it happened during Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals when Denver blitzed past the Phoenix Suns to take a convincing 3-2 series lead.

With matchup finally set, Nuggets' Malone says beating Heat will be  'biggest challenge of our lives' | Region | tribstar.com

The Nuggets hosted their first Creator Suite and invited 12 content creators from the Denver area to enjoy the pivotal playoff game in an all-inclusive atmosphere of a suite.  

The group of creators was diverse—food bloggers, musicians, comedians, entrepreneurs, athletes, etc.—in the suite, and it was the perfect opportunity to do some networking, enjoy a high-stakes playoff game, and of course create some incredible content! 

The activation was put on by the Nuggets and Fresh Tape Media, a Denver-based content creation agency that helped the Nuggets source creators for this activation. 

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Fresh Tape’s CEO, Jared Kleinstein, came up with the idea during the first round of the postseason. 

“A creator influencer campaign is something that a lot of teams and organizations do, but if we did something that was a bit more about hosting people and bringing together the community, and less so much about a contractual obligation to do something on behalf of the Nuggets,” explained Kleinstein, “We can essentially do two things at the same time. One, show our love to our fans, and two, connect with the communities that maybe haven’t previously been connected with the Nuggets. So, from our perspective of Fresh Tape, it was a natural extension.” 

It was an eclectic group of creators, as mentioned, many of whom don’t normally work together. That night, however, they were all united by one thing: a Denver Nuggets fandom. 

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“It was hilarious. Putting a fashion photographer next to an actor next to a food blogger, it turns out, and I’m so sorry if this sounds cheesy, but the Nuggets united everybody, right? For one night, it wasn’t about each of their individual roles, it wasn’t about who you are in your field, it was about a group of Nuggets’ fans getting together,” Kleinstein said. “That was probably the coolest thing about having a suite full of people in this space. They all were excited to see each other. But it wasn’t like it was full of fans there to meet one creator. They were all fans of each other and fans of the Nuggets as sort of a unifying force.” 

One of the attendees was Amanda Bittner, a lifestyle influencer who focuses on cool experiences and activities within the Denver area, some examples being hikes, restaurants, museums, and pop-up exhibits. 

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“Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Because I’ve never heard of anything like this. It sounded like it was a new initiative. I had no idea who else was going to be there. I was kind of nervous, to be honest,” Bittner explained. “But I knew if the Nuggets were putting it on, it’s probably going to be really amazing. And it did not disappoint.” 

Bittner used the activation to network with other creators from the general Denver area, along with enjoying the game and perks of the suite. 

“I saw some familiar faces in the Creator Space in Denver. So that was really fun to see some people I’ve followed on the internet for a while but never met in person. So that was a great opportunity that I don’t think I would have had otherwise,” said Bitter. “And then I saw a lot of new faces and people that I’ve never heard of or met but that are super talented in the Denver creative world and that I’m now following and really excited to be connected with now.” 

Another attendee was Jillian Brown, the Head of Marketing for The Pao Creative. Brown described the Pao App as the “Yelp for Gen Z” to unearth hidden gems within New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and of course, Denver. The Pao app features all sorts of highlights: favorite restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, etc.

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The Nuggets gave out personalized swag bags full of Nuggets’ gear, treats, and some knick-knacks. Brown was a massive fan of the bags as a whole, but she was especially appreciative of the Homage brand Nuggets’ gear. 

“That was so awesome,” said Brown about the swag bags. “I’m a really big fan of the Homage brand, which was included in there. They usually have interesting art styles for all these professional sports teams. So that was really cool. And then yeah, we’ve been wearing our hats and all of our shirts.” 

Bitter also spoke glowingly about the swag bags. 

“The swag bags were amazing,” Bitter said. “That really just set the bar high immediately when we came in. It was such a warm welcome to see a bag with my name on it, kind of personal to me, a handwritten note, and all these amazing goodies and Nuggets swag inside. That was just such a surprise and totally unnecessary and so generous. And it just really got me hyped up for the game because I didn’t have any Nuggets gear before the game. So, I was hooked up in the best way.” 

Nelson Holland, an outdoor advocate that uses his social channels to share hikes within Colorado, plans to put his Nuggets’ gear to good use. Holland has been a diehard Nuggets fan since moving to the area years ago and has attended other Nuggets playoff games during the 2023 postseason. He touted the suite for its comfortability compared to regular fan seating. 

“I’m definitely gonna be rocking that gear until probably the day I die as long as it doesn’t wear out,” said Holland. 

Denver’s mascot, Rocky, came up to the suite to hang out with creators and have an impromptu dance party. That was, without a doubt, the highlight of the night for the creators that spoke to Nuggets.com for this story. 

Brandon Carney, also known as BenchWarmerBran, is a sports content creator who specializes in the NFL. Carney is also a huge Nuggets fan and became one when Allen Iverson was traded to Denver way back in 2006. He offered his thoughts on Rocky’s surprise entrance. 

“Probably Rocky coming up and just turning it into a party out of nowhere,” said Carney about his favorite part of the night. “I’m so locked in on what’s happening on the court and then I hear, behind me, Rocky just pops off confetti and then is dancing. It was just a really cool vibe to be able to make a video off of, which I ended up doing after the fact to make it look like a really cool, exclusive experience that I was able to be a part of.” 

Bitter was equally excited about meeting Rocky. 

“The visit from Rocky made my entire night. I was going into it wondering and hoping that I would see Rocky somehow,” Bittner said excitedly. “And he came in, and I hugged him and got a picture with him. So that was the highlight of the night.” 

Well, Rocky’s cameo in the suite was almost everyone’s favorite part of the night. Holland offered a different perspective. 

“The Nuggets win, obviously,” said Holland. 

Kleinstein called the activation “a success” for all parties involved: the creators, Fresh Tape Media, and the Nuggets.  

“Watching us close out a series with happy people that are all creative, it’s hard for it to not go down as a success. So, if we think objectively about it, yes, we had amazing content come out of it. Great exposure for the brand and for these creatives to have a unique opportunity. We heard stories of creators saying that it was like a once-in-a-lifetime feeling. Some of them came early and got on the court, which was really exciting,” Kleinstein shared. “It feels like everybody got a lot out of it. We’re really grateful for that.” 

Kleisten’s original pitch of the Creator Suite idea was made to Jared Harding, Vice President and Executive Producer at KSE Digital. Harding was “blown away” and touted all parties involved for the impressive turnaround time and detailed execution of the Creator Suite.

“Our Digital team is always looking for new and innovative ways to promote the Nuggets brand, reach new audiences, and capitalize on opportunities. When Jared Kleinstein pitched me the ‘Creator Suite’ concept before Game 3, I loved its potential—and was also concerned about how we’d pull it off given such a quick turnaround,” Harding said.

“However,” Harding continued, “I was blown away by how quickly and seamlessly it was brought to life specifically by Shayna Glazer and Hali Oughton on my team, as well as Drew Marsh from the Fresh Tape team, who combined to somehow source and communicate with a dozen creators, put together Nuggets gift bags, plan a menu, and work with our incredible Game Presentation team to coordinate a suite visit from Rocky. Huge thanks as well for the support and guidance from a variety of KSE departments, including Legal, Risk, Security, Nuggets PR, Premium Sales, Marketing, and others.” 

Kleinsten hoped that the event would serve as grounds to build introductory bonds between creators and spur future collaborations. 

“When I walked in and saw a food blogger talking to a fashion photographer, and them realizing their mutual friends and all the people they have in common and realizing that this experience brought them together. Our dream is that in the next couple of months, we see collaborations between these creators regardless of our involvement,” said Kleinstein. “That would feel like a win for us.” 

Harding was equally optimistic about the event’s potential for building long-term relationships.

“To me, this is the beginning of some fantastic long-term relationships, and we’re just scratching the surface of what this activation can become in the future,” Harding explained to Nuggets.com. “It was also energizing and validating to hear how excited the NBA was about this activation, and the potential to use this as a best practice for other teams and markets.”

Nuggets.com accumulated data related to the activation, tracking things like the creators’ following counts, number of posts, and number of impressions generated. Instagram stories, Instagram reels, TikToks, and YouTube videos were all tracked. 

The creators that posted content during or after the event had a combined 6,248,400 followers on YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. So far, posts about the Content Creators’ Suite activation generated over half a million impressions and counting.  

“The success of this activation was measured through incremental content created, hundreds of thousands of impressions, and a spike in Nuggets platform growth. The estimated media value of the content created heretofore from our Creator Suite is in excess of $80K—a tribute to the impact these 12 creators have, and to the overall success of this initiative,” Harding told Nuggets.com.

Here are some examples of the content posted by the influencers and creators that were interviewed by Nuggets.com for this article. 

Pao Denver posted an Instagram reel (and Tiktok) of the sweet views of Game 5 from the suite level. 

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