NEW YORK, March 22, 2005 - The National Basketball Association today announced new non-exclusive licensing agreements with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY) and Atari (NASDAQ: ATAR) to continue to develop, publish and distribute NBA video games.
The new multiyear agreements, which begin in October 2005, provide fans with the most comprehensive and diverse video game offering in sports, with titles from multiple publishers. NBA video games will be available to fans in more than 100 countries and on more platforms than ever before, maximizing the reach of NBA video games around the world.
"This is a great day for NBA gamers," said Adam Silver, NBA Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer. "By partnering with the top developers of sports video games, our fans will be assured a broad and competitive selection of innovative products."
EA, Take-Two, Sony Computer Entertainment America and Midway will each have the rights to use NBA teams and current and retired NBA players in their NBA video game titles. The NBA will also work closely with each licensee to heavily promote the basketball video games with marketing and global branding through the league's various assets including NBA TV and NBA.com.
Electronic Arts Inc.
EA, an NBA licensee since 1991, will continue to publish two NBA video game franchises: NBA LIVE and NBA STREET. The NBA LIVE franchise title, a 5-on-5 simulation game currently celebrating its 10th anniversary with NBA LIVE 2005, will be released on a yearly basis under the EA SPORTSTM brand. NBA STREET, an arcade-style game, will be released every other year under the EA SPORTS BIGTM brand. NBA STREET V3, which debuted in early February, unveils a new PSPTM (PlayStationÂ® Portable) version in April.
EA NBA video games will be available on all leading video game and handheld platforms.
"We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with the NBA and delivering the most innovative and entertaining NBA simulation and arcade basketball videogames for years to come," said Jeff Karp Group Vice President of Marketing, Electronic Arts.
Take-Two, the NBA's newest video game licensee, will publish the NBA 2K franchise through its 2K Sports publishing label and develop the games through its Visual Concepts studio, the highly acclaimed developer of the series since 1999. NBA 2K, a 5-on-5 simulation, will be released on a yearly basis on all leading video game platforms.
"We are extremely pleased with the commitment of the NBA to preserve competition and provide sports fans with choice," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts. "At the heart of 2K Sports is a passion for innovation and the desire to make the best titles possible. With our proven ability to make outstanding video games and our understanding of the nuances of basketball, we will work to fully leverage current and new video game platforms to provide a gaming experience that rivals what an NBA player experiences on the court."
Sony Computer Entertainment America
Sony Computer Entertainment America, makers of the best selling PlayStation videogame systems, and an NBA licensee since 1994, will publish NBA 2006, a 5-on-5 simulation game which originally debuted in 1995 as NBA SHOOTOUT. NBA 2006 will be available on a yearly basis through the PlayStation family of products, including the new PSPTM (PlayStationÂ® Portable) handheld entertainment system which is scheduled to be unveiled later this month.
"As a platform holder and software developer, we are very pleased with the NBA's decision to create a competitive environment for league licensed basketball games." said Jack Tretton, executive vice president, Sony Computer Entertainment America "Sony Computer Entertainment America has always championed competition and diversity on our platforms and we believe that the new deals with the NBA will lead to better choices for our consumers and that innovation will attract new consumers to the category."
Midway, an NBA licensee since 1992, has agreed to continue to publish NBA BALLERSTM, an arcade-style game which debuted for the first time in 2004. The game is expected to be available every other year on all leading video game platforms.
"This deal will allow Midway to keep delivering innovative and engaging gameplay to gamers and NBA fans," said David F. Zucker, president and CEO, Midway. "We've had a long relationship with the NBA and we look forward to continuing to produce the highest quality games and growing our NBA Ballers franchise."
Atari, an NBA licensee since 2003, will continue to publish Backyard BasketballTM games which are designed specifically for younger players and feature NBA professionals as kid-sized versions of themselves. The Backyard Basketball series, which originally debuted for the first time on PC in 2003, is also currently available on PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo Game Boy Â® Advance.
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with the NBA to create Backyard Basketball games that feature the NBA teams and pros that young gamers look up to," said Wim Stocks, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Atari, Inc.
About the NBA
With 30 teams in the United States and Canada, NBA games and related programming are broadcast to 214 countries in 43 languages. The NBA is a recognized leader in sports marketing currently maintaining a long list of fully integrated domestic and global marketing partnerships with the most recognizable brands in the world. NBA players are the most recognizable and successful product endorsers in sports with dozens of players appearing in national and international promotions each season. NBA products are sold in retail outlets in more than 100 countries around the world, at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City and at the NBA Store on NBA.com. For more information on the NBA, visit NBA.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Reform Act of 1995: This press release contains forward-looking statements made in reliance upon the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The statements contained herein which are not historical facts are considered forward-looking statements under federal securities laws. Such forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs of our management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to them. The Company has no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. Actual results may vary significantly from these forward-looking statements based on a variety of factors. These important factors are described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the first quarter ended January 31, 2005 in the section entitled "Risk Factors".