SBD/September 12, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

WNBA Appearance In "NBA Live" Gives League Extra Exposure, Excites Players

WNBA teams and players' upcoming appearance in EA Sports' "NBA Live" is a "publicity grab," and "given the state of women’s sports today, there’s nothing wrong with that," according to Shira Springer of the BOSTON GLOBE. The WNBA’s video game debut comes 20 years after the league's launch and is a "classic win-win." By adding WNBA players to "NBA Live," EA Sports "gets the kind of buzz companies crave prior to a big release." And the WNBA "gets credibility with a bigger, broader audience." It "promotes the league’s quality of play and entertainment value." It also "normalizes female professional athletes." It is about the WNBA being "welcomed into pro basketball and sports culture in a way that hasn’t happened before." EA Sports saw the addition of the WNBA as "good for business." It is figuring out "how to expand its reach, produce a more competitive 'NBA Live' game, and make money." And there is "nothing wrong with that, either" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/10).

MORE TO COME: The AP's Doug Feinberg notes WNBA teams and players can "only be used in exhibition mode this year, and users can't create new female players yet, either." But the plan is to "add new features for the women in future versions of the game." Members of the N.Y. Liberty were still "impressed by some of the details programmers got right, including their choice of shoe and hairstyle" -- C Stefanie Dolson's purple hair even "made the cut." Phoenix Mercury C Brittney Griner has "all of her tattoos." There is even the WNBA's ''Watch Me Work'' campaign "on the video boards and the WNBA Pride logo on the scorer's table." However, Liberty G Sugar Rodgers noticed that players in the game "tended to use their left hand more than in real life." That may be because San Antonio Stars rookie G Kelsey Plum, who is left-handed, was "one of the main people used by EA Sports for motion capture" (AP, 9/12).
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