SBD/August 16, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

"NBA 2K13" Will Feature '92 Dream Team, '12 USA Hoops Team

2K13 will feature both the Dream Team and this year's Gold Medal U.S. team
2K Sports yesterday confirmed it will feature the '92 Dream Team in the upcoming "NBA 2K13" video game, scheduled for release on Oct. 2. The virtual Dream Team, however, will be an 11-man squad, as the publisher was unable to secure licensing from Basketball HOFer Scottie Pippen. "NBA 2K13" will also feature the recent '12 U.S. men's basketball team that won the Gold Medal in London. "The fantasy matchup between the legendary 1992 'Dream Team' and the 2012 USA men's national team has become one of the greatest sports debates of our time," said rapper and Nets investor Jay-Z, recently signed on by 2K Sports as an executive producer of the game, in a statement. "In 'NBA 2K13,' we're giving fans the opportunity to play as two of the best teams ever assembled in sporting history, literally putting the debate right into their hands" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Bobcats Owner and Basketball HOFer Michael Jordan said, “It’s going to start more arguments. When you stack up all the stats, which in some ways is how the game is going to be viewed and discussed, our stats are going to be a lot better than their stats. So I think it’s going to start more debates.” ESPN.com’s Zach McCann noted it is the Dream Team’s “first depiction in a video game since ‘Team USA Basketball’ for the Sega Genesis in 1992.” Pippen “isn’t part of the NBA Retired Players Association and couldn’t come to terms with 2K Sports.” Other U.S. squads, “like the talented ’96 team or disappointing ’04 team, won’t be in this year’s game.” 2K Sports VP/Marketing Jason Argent said, “We wanted quality over quantity in this first year” (ESPN.com, 8/15). ESPN's Marcellus Wiley said "it's not a problem" that Pippen is not in the game. However, John Salley said, "I understand Scottie ... saying 'I played so great on this video game that I should get more money,' but he doesn't realize that it was 20 years ago and it's not even him. Scottie Pippen just wrote himself out of it. It's a check you could have gotten that you don't have now" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 8/15).

WORTH THE INVESTMENT? ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell noted in ’11, when Jordan was “signed to be part of the game, 2K Sports rode his ‘Airness’ to 5.5 million copies sold.” At the time, Jordan’s “presence in the game was magnified by the fact that the greatest player in the game opted out of video game deals during his career.” Current NBAers “no longer have the option to decline their appearance in video games.” Rovell writes it is “always interesting to see whether these types of investments pay off.” 2K Sports parent company Take Two Interactive has "been pressured amid the video game decline.” Rovell: “All the more chance to reinvest in the Dream Team idea because staying conservative in this marketplace is not the right thing to do” (ESPN.com, 8/15).

CASH INFUSION: Electronic Arts reportedly is "quietly exploring a sale" and discussions are "at an early stage." The company has been approached by private-equity firms KKR and Providence Equity Partners. EA, which has a market cap of around $4B, said that it does not comment "on rumor and speculation" (N.Y. POST, 8/16).
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