Goran Dragić's Farewell Game 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon' to Boost Slovenia's Visibility

Published: 27.6.2024 More info

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Goran Dragić's Farewell Game 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon' to Boost Slovenia's Visibility

On Saturday, 24 August 2024, Slovenia will host an ultimate basketball spectacle: the farewell game of Slovenian basketball virtuoso Goran Dragić. The high-profile event, titled 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon', will feature numerous world-renowned basketball stars and provide an exceptional opportunity to promote Slovenia. The Slovenian Tourist Board and SPIRIT Slovenia have partnered as national supporters to maximize the event's impact.

Goran Dragić's Farewell Game 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon' to Boost Slovenia's Visibility

The 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon' will not only elevate Slovenia's profile as an outstanding sports, tourism, and business destination but also foster national pride, promote sport and healthy lifestyles, and generate tangible economic benefits, including increased tourism and foreign business visits. Recognizing the event's great potential, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) and SPIRIT Slovenia have partnered with the event to maximize national visibility and impact.

MSc. Maja Pak Olaj, Director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, emphasized: "Our world-class athletes inspire us and make us proud. They embody the values of the I Feel Slovenia brand—courage, perseverance, innovation, and a love of nature. The 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon' offers a unique opportunity to showcase Slovenia to the world. Through the extraordinary attention of sports fans and global media, we can highlight Slovenia's character as a place where outstanding nature, rich culture, attractive business opportunities and extraordinary sporting spirit intertwine. STB is pleased to be a national partner in this event alongside SPIRIT Slovenia, as we believe strongly in the synergy between sport and tourism. We are proud to work together to elevate our country's profile and reputation, and to foster the further development of tourism and the economy. I am confident that this evening will create unforgettable moments and inspire many sports fans to get to know and visit our beautiful country better. It will also inspire organizers of sporting events and athletic preparations to become excited about Slovenia."

Rok Capl, Director of SPIRIT Slovenia, added: "Slovenian athletes are excellent ambassadors for our country, and their success at important sporting events enhances Slovenia's visibility as a nation known for excellence, innovation,and perseverance across all fields. We believe in the strong synergies between sport and business, which is why SPIRIT Slovenia has identified high-profile sporting events as an excellent platform for business meetings. As a national partner, together with the Slovenian Tourist Board, we are delighted to join the farewell event of the top Slovenian athlete Goran Dragić. We see this as an exceptional opportunity to promote the Slovenian economy during the competition and to present our business and investment environment in greater depth at the business event the day before. I believe that through our synergies, we will be able to achieve great things for sport, the economy and Slovenia."

Goran Dragić's rich sporting career has significantly enhanced the visibility of Slovenian sport, particularly in basketball, and Slovenia as a whole. Having competed on some of the most prestigious basketball courts in the USA, he has made a remarkable impact in elevating Slovenia's reputation as a home to top basketball talent. Proudly serving as one of Slovenia's most prominent sporting ambassadors, Dragić has left an indelible mark on the global stage.

Dragić shared his heartfelt reflections, saying: "Playing for Slovenia has always held a special place in my heart. I am proud to be Slovenian and to have grown up in Ljubljana. It is a great honour for me to be an ambassador for the I Feel Slovenia brand, and I gladly accepted the proposal to name my farewell to professional basketball the I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon. My primary goal with this event is to support young athletes from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and to promote the beauty and spirit of my country and my city worldwide." 

Set to take place at Stožice, Ljubljana, on 24 August this year, the 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon' basketball game marks Goran Dragić's official retirement from professional basketball. This event is poised to be remembered as one of Slovenia's most iconic moments, celebrating the career of a beloved athlete alongside basketball legends and distinguished guests. Luka Dončić, who is also the ambassador of Slovenian tourism, will also grace the occasion.

Brand Exposure and Business Event

Leading up to, during, and following the event, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) will conduct a series of promotional activities. The national brand has been integrated into the event's title, 'I Feel Slovenia Night of the Dragon', and the I Feel Slovenia logo will exclusively adorn the jerseys of the teams participating in the friendly match. To create a vibrant green atmosphere, the STB will distribute sports props among fans and oversee comprehensive event branding, ensuring prime visibility for the I Feel Slovenia brand and Slovenia as a top-tier tourist destination across televised event coverage. The event will also receive prominent promotion across Goran Dragić's and STB's social media platforms, which collectively boast a substantial following.

Simultaneously, SPIRIT Slovenia will contribute as a national partner in an international business gathering named 'Business Talk' at the Austria Trend Hotel on Friday, 23 August. Distinguished speakers from the worlds of sports and business will explore the synergies between these fields. At both the business event and the game, SPIRIT Slovenia will prominently feature branding to highlight Slovenia's economic strengths under the national campaign 'I Feel Slovenia. Green. Creative. Smart.' SPIRIT Slovenia serves as a pivotal resource for Slovenian enterprises, offering comprehensive support across all business phases and facilitating entry for international firms and investors. Anticipating a great number of athletes, guests and spectators from abroad, the agency will prominently showcase the Slovenia Business brand at both, the business forum and the sporting event, effectively presenting its services on a global stage.

SPIRIT Slovenia: Integrating Sport and Economy

SPIRIT Slovenia is committed to maximizing opportunities to promote the Slovenian economy. In 2019, the agency launched the highly successful national campaign 'I Feel Slovenia. Creative. Smart.', strategically promoting Slovenia's economy through targeted advertising in key markets and branding at international events. Featuring 41 exemplary Slovenian companies as ambassadors, the campaign has effectively showcased Slovenia as a leader in green, creative and smart economic initiatives on the global stage.

Sport also plays a pivotal role in enhancing Slovenia's global visibility, with Slovenian athletes achieving remarkable success worldwide. Recognizing this, SPIRIT Slovenia, under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, introduced a concept last year to host business meetings alongside major international sporting events. This initiative underscores Slovenia's holistic approach to promoting the country by spotlighting athletic achievements alongside economic ambitions at prestigious global sporting gatherings.

The Slovenian Tourist Board: Slovenia as a Top Sports Destination

The Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) recognizes the powerful synergies between sport and tourism. In 2022 and 2023, during its active leisure and sports tourism communication theme, the STB significantly boosted the visibility of the I Feel Slovenia brand and Slovenia as a top-tier tourist destination through over 120 sports events. Also in 2024, the STB remains committed to actively participating in globally renowned sporting events. In addition, they establish partnerships and connect with esteemed athletes and the ambassadors of Slovenia tourism such as Luka Dončić, Primož Roglič, Tadej Pogačar, Janja Garnbret and clubs like the Dallas Mavericks.

Last year, the STB launched the publication "Slovenia: A Top Sports Destination" which has garnered multiple international awards. Targeting specialized tourist organizations, sports preparation agencies, professional and amateur sports clubs, international event organizers, sports journalists, and industry professionals, this publication showcases Slovenia's appeal as a sports powerhouse. In May, the STB unveiled the new website "Slovenia - Sports Destination," a comprehensive platform merging sports and tourism. This site serves as a central hub offering information on sports preparations, events across all levels, competitions, and rehabilitation and prevention resources for athletes, available in both Slovenian and English to cater to a global audience.

A Farewell with a Charitable Focus

Slovenian basketball star Goran Dragić, renowned for his NBA success, bids farewell to the basketball court in 2024 with a series of impactful projects. Collaborating with the Goran Dragić Foundation and several partners, he has spearheaded four charitable initiatives. The proceeds will benefit the Botrstvo v športu initiative, which supports young athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, funds will support the Goran Dragić Foundation, known for organizing the Gogi Basketball Camp, which renovates outdoor basketball courts nationwide and hosts various initiatives benefiting marginalized groups.

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Cover photo (from left): Director of SPIRIT Slovenia Rok Capl, Goran Dragić and Director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, MSc. Maja Pak Olaj. Photo: Siniša Kanižaj.

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