SlamBall’s revival has received a sizable boost through a newly finalized, two-year media rights deal with ESPN that will provide unprecedented national reach for the upstart property.
Financial terms of the exclusive deal were not disclosed, but industry sources confirmed to Front Office Sports that SlamBall will receive a rights fee and handle production for the games.
The trampoline-based form of basketball — which also incorporates elements of football and hockey — will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN+ during its 2023 and 2024 seasons. Play this year begins July 21, and more than 30 hours of live coverage will be shown, concluding with the Aug. 17-19 playoffs and title game.
In its original early-2000s form, SlamBall was shown on networks such as Spike TV (now Paramount Network), CSTV (now CBS Sports Network), and the now-shuttered NBC Sports Network.
SlamBall’s return was fueled in large part by a viral social media campaign generating more than 200 million views for the hashtag #BringBackSlamBall. “Live sports dominate the airwaves these days, and audiences are looking for the next big thing,” said Mike Tollin, famed television producer and SlamBall co-founder.
Tollin is joined in the SlamBall effort by a large and high-powered group of investors that participated in a recent $11 million Series A funding round, including Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment co-founder David Blitzer, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils co-owner David Adelman, and Fanatics chief executive Michael Rubin.
SlamBall is also working with global premium experiences company Legends on retail, sponsorship strategy, and other revenue-related activities.