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Volume 24 No. 178
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Bleacher Report's NBA-Themed "Game Of Zones" Gives Company Stamp In Sports Culture

The success of Bleacher Report's NBA-themed cartoon "Game of Zones" has "made it a vital part" of the company’s efforts in "creating entertainment video series while establishing itself as a sports and culture publisher for millennial men," according to Sahil Patel of DIGIDAY. The first episode of “Game of Zones,” which debuted in May '14 on YouTube, was an "instant hit -- accumulating more than 2.2 million video views within the first week." The show is a "mash up" of HBO's "Game of Thrones" and timely NBA story lines, as the first episode showed the then-defending NBA champs Heat as the Lannisters, Heat F Chris Bosh as a dragon and the Spurs as the White Walkers, all characters within the "Game of Thrones" universe. Bleacher Report now "distributes full episodes of 'Game of Zones,' which typically run for three to five minutes, on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Bleacher Report’s own app." The first three seasons of the show, which "comprised of a total of eight episodes, were entirely written, directed, animated and produced" by brothers Adam and Craig Malamut. The company now has a "team of eight full-time producers, editors and animators working" on the show. "Game of Zones" also "propelled Bleacher Report into doing more animated series, including the football-focused 'Gridiron Heights,' 'The Sports Gods' and a sponsored series in partnership with Nike called 'Small Ball.'" With “Small Ball,” Bleacher Report’s "growth in sports and culture can be witnessed by the caliber of guest voice actors the company recruited, including 'Saturday Night Live' cast member Michael Che. Bleacher Report President Rory Brown said that by the end of the year the company "expects to have more than a dozen projects in the works" (DIGIDAY.com, 6/9).