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Volume 26 No. 26
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NBPA-ReadyUp Deal Could Help Players Become Gaming Stars

The NBPA’s licensing arm, Think450, has signed a deal with gaming startup ReadyUp meant to boost players’ side careers as video gaming and esports personalities. Under the deal, ReadyUp will launch a “smart calendar” web tool in '19 that NBA players can use to give fans advance notice of their own casual gaming sessions and livestreams, and also to seek competition partners. Users can then use the tool to watch and interact with their favorite players/gamers. Users also will be able to customize their calendar to highlight their favorite teams and personalities, and the software also includes a social component.

Execs believe the tool will open the door to new commercial opportunities apart from their basketball careers, like Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster’s recent deals to endorse video game hardware. “Eighty-five percent of NBA players play video games,” said NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts. She added ReadyUp’s software will give NBAers “an exciting new way to connect with their fans, based on their shared passion for video games and esports while creating new content and distribution channels for our business partners.”

No players have committed to use the tool yet, but ReadyUp said enthusiasm was high when it presented at the NBA Rookie Symposium, and the startup will soon announce the first group of users. “We’re essentially helping them build their online persona and online IP,” said ReadyUp co-Founder & CEO Roderick Alemania. ReadyUp is currently testing its product in a private beta mode. ReadyUp also hopes to serve as a general gaming culture advisor to Think450. The deal was announced today at the Lagardere Sports esports Rising conference in L.A.