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SBD/Issue 163/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Entertainment League Finding Success On Basketball Court
Published May 6, 2010
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Entertainment League Productions (ELP), an L.A.-based sports entertainment production and marketing company, has made basketball "Hollywood's new favorite place to broker deals while providing marketers with opportunities to place products into celebrities' hands," according to Marc Graser of DAILY VARIETY. ELP recruits "actors, filmmakers and musicians to hit the court each week" in their own dedicated league. Former NBA Dir of Entertainment Marketing Shane Duffy in '08 teamed with former NBA Dir of Live Programming & Entertainment Felisa Israel to form ELP with the "aim of expanding the league while also tapping into its talent roster to produce events for various sports organizations." The company since then has partnered with Action Sports Association and Align Entertainment Group to "book talent for events." Duffy "already had close ties to" actors Jamie Foxx, Justin Timberlake, Adam Sandler and Ice Cube, who helped "attract more players." Israel's connections also helped "recruit talent to events while producing various forms of in-game entertainment." Duffy said, "When we walked away from the NBA, the fear was that we would lose these guys. But participation has actually gone up since we left." Graser notes the league, which wraps up its current 15-week season on Saturday, has grown to 16 teams "made up of more than 200 players -- far more than the eight teams that competed when it was part of the NBA." Nike has "provided players with full uniforms and gear," and is sponsoring Saturday's pregame basketball clinic, while Gatorade "provides beverages as part of its effort to promote its new line of sports drinks." PowerBalance and Core Performance are also sponsors. Duffy and Israel want to start a league in N.Y., and "have been developing ideas for TV shows to put more of a spotlight on its league and the very recognizable players that compete in the games" (DAILY VARIETY, 5/6).