Case Study: National Bar League's Smith Playground Reopening


About the Client:

National Bar League (NBX) is an organization that hosts freestyle calisthenics competitions, open to competitors around the world to demonstrate their skills. Loosely defined, freestyle calisthenics is when a person or group of people uses readily available objects, such as bars, benches, and playground equipment as a type of gym equipment, relying only on bodyweight. National Bar League was founded in 2015 by athlete & trainer Evan Harden.

Evan “OG FItness” Harden is a AAAI/ISMA Certified Personal Trainer, a Strength Conditioning Lagree Megaformer Instructor, Freestyle Calisthenics athlete and founder of the National Bar League. A Philadelphia native, Evan was shot walking home from school when he was 16 years old. The bullet went through his side, stopping just short of his spine. Due to his serious strength conditioning as a football player, Evan was able to recover much quicker from his injury. As a result, Evan became passionate about spreading awareness about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to people of all ages.

In 2015, Evan formed the National Bar League and began hosting competitions in Philadelphia. Looking for a way to make the sport and its benefits more accessible to the community, he partnered with Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation, Inc., the City of Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation and Water Departments to renovate Smith Playground in the city’s Point Breeze section.

Evan has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Profiles to Watch and was nominated for the 2018 Philly Mag Health Hero Award.

About the Project
National Bar League’s founder, Evan Harden, and Beth met when Beth worked for Austin-based start-up Snap Kitchen, launching the Philadelphia market in 2016. When Beth started her own business, Evan approached her to spearhead event logistics & public relations for the Smith Playground reopening in April of 2018, and the National Bar League’s first competition in the brand new Philly Bar Park. Together with the City of Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department, Water Department, the Offices of Representative Jordan Harris, the Mayor’s Office, Smith Playground’s Recreation team, City Fitness Philadelphia, and the Make the World Better Foundation, the Opening Day’s events were to celebrate the multi-million dollar renovation and the park’s brand new community initiatives.

Primary: Event Logistics & Public Relations

Secondary: Partnership Management, Sponsor Management


Initially, Beth worked with Evan Harden to conceptualize the event and public relations strategy for National Bar League and the Philly Bar Park as a whole, and as it related to the Smith Playground Reopening programming. 

Looking to raise funds for the community and support the National Bar League’s efforts, Beth worked with Evan to design a sponsorship/partnership deck for the National Bar League’s freestyle calisthenics competition, AKA “Bar Battle,” taking place during the afternoon’s programming. She secured partnerships with local and national brands, adding to the value for the athletes who attended the event and the partners.

Attending meetings on behalf of the League, Beth collaborated with various public and private organizations to ensure that all parties involved with the renovation were given the opportunity to activate at the event, as well as contribute to press releases and media outreach. Beth and the other organizations worked together to execute the public relations strategy, reaching out to local media and spotlighting the cleanup efforts, the Bar Battle, and what a renovated Smith Playground meant for the community as a whole.

When it came time for the day of the event, Beth served as onsite contact for the National Bar League, ensuring that sponsors and community partners were highlighted throughout the event, that the timeline was adhered to, and that the calisthenics event was executed without a hitch.