Brave New Media reimagined the pre-pandemic Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards Show hosted by sports superstars J.J Watt and Taylor Rooks



A couple of months ago, NOUN agency brought on the Brave New Media LA team to rethink and revamp the Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards show. It was our first time working this event, which honors and celebrates athletic excellence by recognizing the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes. In short, It’s known as the most prestigious honor in high school sports. The challenge? To reimagine the pre-pandemic show in under 1 hour while presenting it in an intimately cool new setting that blows everyone away. We did it in 37 mins, without a hitch!

12 nominees graced the stage which was narrowed down to 1 girl and 1 boy to win the title, hosted by the electrifying football player J.J Watt and sports broadcasting superstar Taylor Rooks in downtown Hollywood. Brave New Media LA was in charge of writing the show, staging, and providing experiential optimizations to ensure a successful event. The team worked with Sweetwater and Kinetic Lighting to build a uniquely designed curved LED round stage. But it didn’t stop there, we made a couple of other tweaks too.

“We ended off feeling inspired by all the beaming athletes and the hard work behind the scenes that pulled everything together.”


The Challenge

Pre-pandemic this event would have been held at a fancy ballroom with a lengthy 2-hour ceremony, but the goal was to appeal to a younger demographic, primed by snappy TikTok videos. An overall quicker show was the focus. We scrapped the awkward Q and A session from previous shows to cut down on time and had the nominees come out on stage one by one instead, giving them each their time to shine by spotlighting them à la an NBA All Star game intro. We wanted to recognize and give the nominees their individual moments and a chance for a slick photo opp without putting time at stake. COVID really allowed us to reimagine this event, hitting pause on the things we thought could be improved on with our optimizations. We brought our experience from our previous red carpet events and our expertise to NOUN and Gatorade. They looked to us for advice on reserved seating, placement, and so on. Come show day, we spent time briefing the talent and walking them through everything in rehearsals to ensure everything ran smoothly come show time.



When it was all over we ended off feeling inspired by all the beaming athletes and the hard work behind the scenes that pulled everything together. This year’s show was successful and innovative in a whole brave new way and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year!