SBJ/June 4-10, 2012/Media

NFLPA playing with MindGames

MindGames Inc., a Los Angeles-based social gaming startup, has secured a group license with the NFL Players Association for its initial product, MindSports Football.

The company was founded by veteran digital media executive Larry Tobin, formerly of Yahoo, Fox Sports Interactive and NHL Interactive, and Eric LaVanchy, founder of online game development company Bottle Rocket.

MindSports Football is a trivia-based game on Facebook that seeks to incorporate elements of social gaming, digital card collecting and fantasy football. The game includes photo identification, various puzzles and virtual NFL player trading cards that can be used for in-game bonuses and, ultimately, real-world prizes.

Company executives have described the game as sort of a sports-themed blend of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and “Magic: The Gathering.” The company’s revenue model is based on a combination of microtransactions and advertising.

“We’re looking to take seasonality out of the gaming business,” Tobin said. “This is something you can play at any time, and challenge friends whenever it suits you.”

The NFLPA license gives MindGames Inc. rights to use NFL player images and will be supplemented with player promotional appearances. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MindGames Inc. has developed on early-stage seed funding, and is seeking a more formal, institutional Series A round of venture capital funding. A baseball-themed title similar to MindSports Football is in development.

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