In the US, the NFL has worked with Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and experience design company Thinkwell Group on activations. Last year, the NFL appointed Wasserman's experience division to deliver its experiential activity in the UK for the next three years.
On Twitter, @NFL has 24.5 million followers, while the league's Instagram account has 10.6 million. Its official Facebook page has gathered almost 17 million "likes".
In December, the NFL opened a permanent attraction in New York offering people the chance to get closer to the game, and try their hand at blocking, jumping and throwing in the process. The interactive NFL Experience Times Square – a $30m, two-and-a-half-year development project in a 40,000ft2 space over four floors – features a "4-D theatre" where visitors can experience aspects of the game such as weather elements and aromas while motion seats recreate the movements during plays. In the UK in September, London's Regent Street hosted a day-long celebration of American football, with interactive games and on-stage performances.
At this year's Super Bowl, taking place on 4 February, the NFL is showcasing a range of activations, including a digital photo booth and autograph signings from current and former NFL players, a Super Bowl Ring Exhibit and a Clinic Field. Additional activations include the NFL Play 60 Zone, where children can test their football skills and exhibitions detailing the history of the NFL.
In Europe, the brand has worked with Wasserman's Experience division and partnered brands including Mountain Dew and Nike on fan experiences.
On Twitter, @NBA has 27.2 million followers while its Instagram account has 26.4 million, and its Facebook page has attracted almost 35 million "likes".
In June, the NBA launched its latest range of European experiences, called NBA Zone, in partnership with Spanish bank BBVA. These featured three NBA and BBVA-branded digitally immersive domes, NBA talent, an authentic NBA hardwood court and an interactive 360-degree experience. In February, Nike-owned trainer and apparel brand Air Jordan opened a pop-up shop in New Orleans to celebrate the NBA's All-Star weekend.
In October, Nike celebrated its eight-year partnership with the league, hosting basketball training sessions and a pop-up store, and took retired basketball player Kobe Bryant to Paris. As part of the events, organised by Yard, a part of Sid Lee Paris, a new court at the Jean Jaurès gym was opened by Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star Los Angeles Laker.
The NFL's activations are designed on a huge scale, with fully immersive fan experiences, and the Super Bowl is an event like no other. The NBA, meanwhile has put solid partnerships in place with top-class brands to further its experiential activity, which may just give it the edge.