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Volume 25 No. 63
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New "Madden"-Based Educational Initiative Aims To Teach Students STEM Subjects

Discovery Education, EA Sports and NFL Players Inc. yesterday announced the launch of “Madden NFL: Football By The Numbers,” an educational initiative aimed at teaching students in grades 5-9 about STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and math -- through a video game based on EA’s signature football simulation. The program, announced at the ’15 Momentum Sports Marketing Symposium, will be made available to educators at no charge beginning Dec. 1. It aqllows classes to go on virtual field trips to EA’s Florida-based development studio to learn about the role that math and science plays in creating video games. EA Sports Studios VP & Head of Operations Daryl Holt said, “We’ve been talking for years at EA about how we can get the math of 'Madden' in front of students. The fact that the NFLPA and Discovery approached us was a godsend, because that last bit of collaboration is what pushed it over the goal line.” Discovery Education President & CEO Bill Goodwyn during his presentation discussed the importance of creative interactive learning experiences for a generation of students that simply does not connect with static textbooks. He said that through “Football By The Numbers,” students will learn about physics by understanding the force behind a tackle, about probability by examining defensive play calling and about geometry by analyzing the trajectory of passes. NFLPI President Ahmad Nassar discussed how the advanced metrics used to analyze sports today has made athletics more relevant than ever in the classroom.

MAKING SCHOOL MORE FUN: For both EA Sports and the NFLPI, the NFLPA's for-profit licensing and marketing subsidiary, the endeavor offers an opportunity to engage directly with young fans in a way that should make their school experience more fun. “As we reach out to our players, engagement is kind of our new profit metric," Holt said. "We want to engage players, more of them, doing what they love. ... This is another way to engage with our fans and engage with our players in different ways that allows our brand to be out front, our game to be out front.” Nassar framed the initiative as a way to showcase players as “ambassadors of learning.” He added that while players have entrusted the association with commercializing and monetizing their intellectual property rights, that is "not all they’re looking for.” Nassar: “They’re looking for projects and initiatives that they can engage with authentically and organically and that they can be proud of. ... The irony there is that over the years, that has only led to more revenue.”