BMA House and the Olympics (Nike Case Study)

Going for Gold - Nike Just Do It at BMA House

BMA House was proud to host Nike for their athletes hospitality programme during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Nike hired the venue exclusively transforming it into a fantastic space for athletes and their families to relax in. Read our case study below.

Venue: BMA House, London, WC1 What Nike says:

"BMA House looks prim and proper but used creatively it can be anything you want it to be!"

Mary Mize,
Nike Global Event Marketing Manager

The Event: Host venue for Nike’s athlete hospitality programme
Numbers: 12,000 over the duration of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Dates: Monday 16th July to Friday 17th August (to include set up and de-rig)
About Nike Inc.: It started with a handshake between two visionary Oregonians - Bowerman and his University of Oregon runner Phil Knight. They and the people they hired evolved and grew the company that became Nike from a U.S.-based footwear distributor to a global marketer of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment that is unrivaled in the world.

Lounge area with big screen television.

The Snow Room at BMA House

Nike trainers and photos of Nike athletes on display.

The Black Suite at BMA House

Nike Clothes on display at BMA House.

The Black Suite at BMA House

Large Screen Televisions and Display Boards.

The Black Suite at BMA House

The Event Brief:
Location, location, location – that ever important factor was certainly high on Nike’s list of criteria. A central London location, with good access to the Olympic Park was the number one criteria. St Pancras station, located just 10 minutes walk from BMA House offered just that with the new Javelin train going direct to Stratford in just seven minutes; and several other train and tube stations within a 10 minute walk. A venue with parking was essential to allow for the loading and set up of the event. BMA House offered just that and so the first tick in the box was done!

At previous Olympic Games Nike have chosen warehouses and college gymnasiums as their venues but made the jump to BMA House because of its historical and traditional British character. High on the list of requirements was a venue which could meet the logistical requirements of the event, in particular providing separate areas for athletes and the media.

For the athletes, lounges were created on the ground and first floor, offering relaxation, entertainment and of course viewing of the Games. For the invited press, the third floor rooms were used to demonstrate Nike’s latest products and technology. The outdoor space in the grounds of BMA House, comprising of a Courtyard and Garden, was a big draw to Nike and offered casual seating for athletes’ lunches to formal evening dinners for big name sports stars.

What were the timeframes?
Nike started looking for their Olympic Games venue about three years ago. The first visit to BMA House took place in April 2010 and was quickly narrowed down to one of the top two. Production crew Satis and Fy then visited to ensure the space was workable and would meet requirements.

After much planning it was agreed – BMA House was to be the host venue of the 2012 Athlete Hospitality programme. The final tick in the box was achieved and the countdown to the Games began!

What Nike said worked:

  • Hosting our six day Global Football Conference at BMA House in December 2011 allowed us to have a trial run for the main event and work out any quirks
  • BMA House staff were tremendous in ensuring the varied types of events hosted all went to plan
  • Having not one but two outdoor spaces was a real bonus!
  • Multiple levels allowed differentiation of athlete and media areas
  • Having existing kitchen facilities
  • Finding a venue that could offer good recycling facilities for the 4,000+ shoe boxes that were delivered to site!

What didn’t work so well for Nike?

  • If the British rain hadn’t held off the venue may have struggled to cope with numbers of nearly 1,000 a day for lunch.
  • Ideally a separate entrance would be available for the invited press, however a good solution was found and the press were escorted a different route through the building

Would Nike have changed anything?

  • Actually no, there was nothing but positive feedback, everyone came who was invited and the facilities available behind the façade of the main road ensured Nike had its own private world in the centre of London.

What challenges were overcome?

  • Michelin starred chef; Nicola Batavia was hired to do their Olympic event catering. Nicola had to share the kitchens with the venue’s on site caterers who have to feed around 500 BMA staff daily. The two caterers worked side by side to produce world class food for both athletes and staff and, after the initial language barriers were conquered, they soon settled down into a comfortable routine.

The Courtyard at BMA House

The Main Gate to the Courtyard at BMA House