Window shopping… and slam dunks?
Thanks to a new initiative that is beginning to capture the attention of hoops fans around the country, that unlikely pairing was made possible. 3BALL USA, a “well-established team organizer in Olympics rules 3×3 basketball,” hosted its first big tournament showcase earlier this summer — at a mall.Held at SIMON’s Great Mall (Silicon Valley) in Milpitas, Calif., the entire event speaks to what the league is all about: disruption, change, and continued innovation. Making sure those words become synonymous with the 3Ball USA basketball brand will be essential for the new league’s business development plans and, ultimately, future success.
“It’s the fastest, most intense basketball you have ever seen. We all love faster. We all love more intense. And these games are shorter too, which injects them with a sense of urgency and makes the content a lot easier to consume as well,” league founder and CEO Michael Wranovics stated when discussing how the league can provide a compelling product that appeals to the next generation of sports fans.
Based on the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3 rules — the kind of basketball that’s actually going to be played at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo — 3BALL USA is aiming to launch its full-fledged league in 2019, which will entail three-day tournaments held in popular locations in a league format all summer long.
The short nature of the games — which are capped at either 10 minutes or first to 21 points (whichever happens first) — lends itself to the shortened attention spans of sports fans today. The 3×3 style of play featured in 3BALL will create much more of that bite-sized content that brands are chasing on platforms today.
In addition, the 3BALL league is built to be far more than just a collection of games and tournaments. The league and its games are going to be designed more as events and experiences than just simple, singular competitions.
“I don’t see us going into traditional arenas. This is more like the AVP Tour. A lively, colorful event that adds fun and youthful energy,” Wranovics explained. “It’s about much more than the game itself. We’re going to create a festival atmosphere with VR 360 activations, selfie walls, food trucks, beer gardens, and high energy music.”
That’s what the 3BALL USA Showcase at SIMON’s Great Mall was built as. The event on August 17-19th included the music and food trucks Wranovics spoke about, as well as a stunt dog shows, “high-flying slam dunk contest,” and one-on-one challenge against streetball icon The Professor. With plans to design its entire league similarly, 3BALL is all about “wall-to-wall entertainment.”Expect to see 3BALL USA’s first full season to tip off in 2019 at similar pop-up venues around the nation, which will present Wranovics and the league with their next big challenge: gaining a foothold in a crowded sports entertainment landscape and establishing distribution channels.
Wranovics noted the games during this particular showcase event were live streamed on Twitch and had nearly 500,000 views during the weekend, and were also live streamed on the No. 1 digital sports platform in China, Sina Sports.
We’ll find out soon if 3BALL USA can give the popular 3×3 format an even bigger name during its lead-up to the 2020 Olympic Games.