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• In response to the mass shooting that occurred in the early hours of August 4, 2019, The Dayton Foundation has established the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund.

• "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

• "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

• "I intend to live forever, or die trying." — Groucho Marx RIP 8-19-1977

• Per NBC Sports: “A plane carrying Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife Amy and their daughter Isla rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire upon landing today (Aug. 15)  in Elizabethon (Municipal Airport), Tenn. All (five people) aboard the plane (including two pilots) are safe.”The airport is about 14 miles south of Bristol Motor Speedway, where Earnhardt Jr. was scheduled to be part of the NBC Sports crew cowering this weekend’s Nascar races.

• Continuing its expansion into the sports betting landscape, MLB has signed a multi-year partnership designating FanDuel as an “authorized gaming operator” of the league. FanDuel called it a “landmark deal” as it marks the company’s first partnership with MLB or an MLB team. MLB also has alliances in the sports betting category that include MGM Resorts International, Draftings and Sportradar. Full story here.

• For future trivia buffs: ex-NFL and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has become the first player to officially sign with the XFL, which is scheduled to begin play in February 2020. Landry, who played in 19 games (five starts) during his NFL career (2013-18), mainly with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be assigned to one of eight XFL teams via an eignt man QB draft scheduled for the fall. Financial terms were not released.
 

• Nick Kyrgios, currently ranked No. 27 in the world, has been fined $113,000 by the ATP relating to a series of incidents during his second-round loss at the Western & Southern Open Wednesday evening in Cincinnati, including five separate unsportsmanlike conduct situations, each a $20,000 fine.

• National consumer cannabidiol (CBD) brand cbdMD has signed a deal with reigning UFC heavyweight world champion, Daniel "DC" Cormier, which comes as Cormier is scheduled to defend his heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 on Aug.17.

• T-Mobile said it would donate $2,000 per home run hit at the inaugural T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby to Little League Baseball and Softball—pledging to hit at least $1 million in total donations in its first year of partnership. The money will fund participation grants to make programs more affordable for kids and families. The donation includes the $642,000 donated at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at MLB All-Star Week.

• Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has become an investor in the MLS Seattle Sounders, along with his wife, musician Ciara; as well as rap artist Macklemore and his wife Tricia Davis. The Sounders also said that founding owner Joe Roth is leaving the club.

NBA Opening Weekend presented by Kia national TV Games 2019-20:
Oct. 22 New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors (TNT), Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers (TNT); Oct. 23 Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers (ESPN), Denver  Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers (ESPN); Oct. 24 Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets (TNT), Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors (TNT); Oct. 25 Dallas Mavericks vs. New Orleans Pelicans (ESPN), Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN).

• WNBA Teams, Players Now Part Of NBA 2K20: "We have arrived!" Full story here.

• The NFL said the Pro Bowl would return to Orlando's Camping Ground Stadium for the fourth successive year, scheduled for Jan. 26, 2020. It will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and be simulcast on ABC (3 PM ET). Full story here.

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.”

POLL POSITION

NBC Sports Group and Mecum Auctions have signed a multi-year partnership extension to continue coverage of Mecum car auctions across NBC Sports through 2024.

The top-five selling cars since the start of the partnership in 2014:
1, 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype GT/104 $7M (2014)
2, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari $4.7M (2016)
3. 1966 Ford GT40 MkI $4.4M (2016)
4. 1933 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe $3.85M (2018)
5. 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible  $3.5 (2014)

KEEPING SCORE

World's Most Valuable Sports Franchises

1. Dallas Cowboys $5 billion, +4%
2. New York Yankees $4.6 billion +15%
3. Real Madrid $4.24 billion +4%
4. Barcelona $4.02 bilion
5. New York Knicks $4 billion +11%
6. Manchester United $3.81 billion
7. New England Patriots 43.8 billion
8. Los Angeles Lakers $3.7 billion +12%
9. Golden State Warriors $3.5 billion +13%
10. New York Giants $3.3 billion

11. Los Angeles Dodgers $3.3 billion
12. Boston Red Sox 43.2 billion
12. Los Angeles Rams $3,2 billion
14. Washington Redskins $3.1 billion
14. Chicago Cubs $3.1 billion
16. San Francisco 49ers $3.05 billion
17. Bayern Munich $3.01 billion
18. San Francisco Giants $3 billion
19. Chicago Bulls $2.9 billion
19. Chicago Bears $2.9 billion

SOURCE: FORBES

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Aug. 9-11
1. Hobbs & Shaw $25.4M
2. Scary Stories $20.8M
3. The Lion King $20M
4. Dora and the City of Lost Gold $17M
5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood $11.6M
6. The Art of Racing in the Rain $8.1M
7. The Kitchen $5.5M
8. Spider-Man Far From Home $5.3M
9. Toy Story 4 $4.4M
10. Bring the Soul $2.3M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Monday
Sep102012

Q&A: Will Fans, Videogamers Follow The Bouncing Ball To 'NBA Baller Beats'?

By Barry Janoff

September 10, 2012: NBA-related videogames have become as much a part of the hoops' landscape as the real games, with technology and graphics enabling people to fulfill their basketball Jones by transform themselves into the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and even Michael Jordan.

NBA Baller Beats wants to take this category to another level. By putting a basketball in the hands of videogamers, fans and basketball players alike, the plan is to get them off the couch and enhance their dribbling skills. The game, hitting retail September 11 for Microsoft's Xbox 360 Kinect, comes bundled with an official, full-size Spalding NBA game ball replica and challenges players to "master ball-handling skills by dribbling and performing moves including crossovers, pump fakes and flow dribble."

Videogame publishing company Majesco Entertainment describes it as "the first ever full-body motion-based NBA videogame that lets you perform like a pro using a real basketball." Players must have the Kinect Motion Sensor attached to their system. MSRP is $59.99.

NBA Baller Beats is played while listening to a soundtrack of 30 songs from such artists as Run DMC, Common, Gorillaz, Kanye West, B.o.B., LMFAO, Missy Elliot, Them Crooked Vultures and Queen. There are three difficulty levels available with every song: Rookie, Pro and Baller.

While scoring points against as many as eight challengers, NBA Baller Beats enables players to unlock songs, difficulty levels, environment accessories, more than 100 posters and Panini’s 2012 NBA Hoops trading cards, which showcase the moves of NBA players. As they play, gamers can also take pictures of themselves with the Kinect camera, which they can upload and share on Facebook.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Jesse Sutton, CEO of Edison, NJ-based Majesco Entertainment about getting NBA Baller Beats to market and the marketing being created to get the message to consumers. During a conference call with financial analysts and members of the media on Sept. 10, a day before the game was released to the public, Majesco said it spent about $500,000 on pre-launch actives during Q3.


NYSportsJournalism.com: What separates NBA Baller Beats from anything that has been or is currently available?

Jesse Sutton: There really has never been anything like this on the market and in the history of videogames. This is a product that is not only incredibly fun to play but one that you can use as a tool to improve your basketball skills. What we is done is created technology that works with the XBox 360 Kinect motion-sensor camera that really follows the movement of the ball alongside your body. Before, we've only been able to have interaction on the motion Sensor camera with your body. This is a proprietary technology that allows the camera to recognize the ball. With that, we have been able to create a product that essentially teaches you how to become a better basketball player in the area of dribbling: It forces you to use both hands. It forces you to keep your head up while dribbling. And you do it in an environment in which you don't feel as if you are working out because you are having so much fun.

NYSJ: How are you responding to critics who say that players won't be able to dribble a real basketball inside their home or apartment because of the noise, potential damage it might cause or because they have thick or shag carpeting on the floor?

JS: We have two responses. One is the practical response. We've tested the game on several different surfaces including all different types and thicknesses of carpet, and it works on most surfaces. We are offering a ball on our Web site that is more rubberized , so it is softer, quieter. It can bounce on shag carpets. It won't have the authenticity of playing with a real basketball, but you will still have the same game experience. Second, we spent the entire summer going to youth, AAU, college and pro basketball camps around the country and have had players, parents and coaches try the videogame. The feedback we received was incredible. The most telling feedback we received was people saying, 'We have to find a place in our home for this product.' Even kids who first thought they couldn't play the game then said they had to have it at home. That has been exciting.

"Once we got to the point where we were able to show the NBA an actual demonstration of the game, that changed everything."

NYSJ: What were the challenges early on when you presented the concept to the NBA?

JS: Many people who hear about the game for the first time, about using a real NBA ball when you play the videogame, either say, 'That's weird!' or 'That's interesting!' But it's a we have to see it to believe it attitude. Then they'll see a clip of the game and say, 'That's cool.' But they still might be unsure about it. Then when they actually play it, they are totally hooked. So we went to the NBA along with Microsoft, with whom we partnered to produce the game for their platform, with a concept. I felt that they got it, but they didn't truly get it. But we came away with a contract agreement and were able to advance production on the game. Once we got to the point where we were able to show them an actual demonstration of the game, that changed everything. Their level of interest and excitement jumped.

NYSJ: Were you able to get commissioner David Stern to play the game and dribble a basketball?

JS: [Laughs.] No, not the commissioner. But we have had NBA players. Deron Williams is on the cover and he has played the game many times and is a big fan. We were at Dwyane Wade's basketball camp, Kevin Durant's camp, and they played it and loved it. And they have gotten other players to play the game. Michael Strahan (former New York Giants defensive end and new co-host of TV talk show Live! with Kelly Ripa) has played it and was fantastic at it. So even athletes who dribble a basketball for a living have found it to be fun and have recommended it as a teaching tool.

NYSJ: What are you looking at as far as marketing support?

JS: We will be doing everything. We have been demonstrating the product for a while, but really began our grassroots marketing in June. We went out to the basketball camps. We partnered with Kenny Smith (former NBA player and current NBA analyst for TNT), which has been tremendous. He had it at his own camps, and he has been talking to players and basketball fans about it. We partnered with the WNBA's New York Liberty and were able to have their fans play [a demonstration version of] NBA Baller Beats at an Interactive Fan Zone at home games [at Prudential Center]. We were at New York Knicks and Liberty summer camps and part of events where the [fan-interactive] Knicks Groove Truck appeared, as well as Liberty Fit community events.

NYSJ: What about marketing now that the game is hitting retail?

JS: Beyond the grassroots efforts, we have been working with such retailers as GameStop, Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy; and Amazon and other major e-tailers. Our Web site is very robust, and we expect traffic to continue to grown once the game hits retail. We are getting the word our via social media, which is very important to reach a key demographic. We have almost 700,000 followers on Twitter. We have had more than 450,000 visits to the initial trailer on YouTube and more than two million hits among all of the [advance] videos we have put out. Facebook is getting more followers. Sometime after launch we are looking at a major TV campaign. And building that up as the NBA season begins, either with the NBA or specific teams.

NYSJ: With Deron Williams on the cover, is there anything specific activation you can talk about as far as working with the Brooklyn Nets?

JS: Deron already has done some advance promotion things. This is the perfect time to work with the Nets since they are opening up their arena in Brooklyn, which is where I grew up. So we see that as a major opportunity, both with the Deron and Nets as well the Knicks.

NYSJ: Music has become important to videogames, but how much of a role does the NBA Baller Beats soundtrack play?

JS: It's really dynamic. And its an integral part of the game. When you are bouncing the basketball, it's almost as if you are [a musician] playing along with the songs. You are not just playing basketball but dancing along to the various beats. We did not just pick random tracks. We have an array of music from great artists that really expand the dimension and quality of the game itself. It's a choreographed dribbling game. It's almost as if you are dancing with the basketball. And the more advanced the song and the more advanced the routine, the cooler you are going to look playing it. (See the full playlist and sample all 30 tracks here.)

NYSJ: This is initially intended for home play but would it work in a much larger venue such as Dave & Buster's?

JS: Absolutely. We have been approached by companies in the arcade market because the game suits itself so well for that type of environment. The idea is that if someone has Kinect, they have room in their home to dribble a basketball and move and dance around. We've had kids as young as six play on the rookie level and really get it. They get the moves and start dribbling with their left hand, their right hand, watching the screen, and they are having fun and don't even think about the fact that they are enhancing their basketball skills.

"Sometime after launch we are looking at a major TV campaign. And building that up as the NBA season begins, either with the NBA or specific teams."

NYSJ: What do you see as the future for NBA Baller Beats?

JS: There are many ways in which we can leverage the product. We will add downloadable content as far as new music and new routines. Enhance each of the challenge experiences. As far as sequels, one of the most amazing things I have found on this journey is that so many people come up with so many great ideas, ways to enhance and expand the game for the next release. We've already started to put together ideas for the next generation of the game.

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