NEWS - Monday, May 12, 2003


Sega Teams Up With ESPN

Visual Concepts Entertainment, a SEGA® development studio, today announced that it has expanded its relationship with ESPN®, The Worldwide Leader in Sports, for its "2K4" lineup of video games. Only one year after joining forces to deliver the most authentic and realistic sports simulation video games, including ESPN's trademarked presentation features, the two sports powerhouses are taking integration to the next level. The expanded relationship will incorporate even more ESPN elements into the critically acclaimed "2K" franchises, including ESPN commentators, as well as an increased marketing alliance between the two brands. The upcoming "2K4" lineup will further blur the lines between a sports video game and a sports television telecast by incorporating more ESPN-stylized features such as newly designed stat panels, fresh overlays, and more music. ESPN commentators will also provide in-game commentary on select 2K4 games. In addition, the opening game interface for the "2K4" lineup will be modeled in trademarked ESPN style including the ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown animation and the in-studio SportsCenter set. "We've built a powerful sports video game brand by combining two of the biggest names in the business," said Greg Thomas, president, Visual Concepts Entertainment. "In our second year of the relationship, we are celebrating the successful integration of ESPN into our games with a more enhanced and robust look for the '2K4' lineup. Last year, we added a few ESPN features that were met with great enthusiasm by gamers. In the '2K4' series we are taking the integration to the next level with a new look and feel that even more sports fans and gamers will identify with and appreciate." "ESPN's ultimate goal is to continually serve sports fans in every way possible," said Rick Alessandri, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Enterprises. "Our relationship with SEGA has allowed us to make significant inroads with sports gaming fans everywhere, and we look forward to continuing to work with SEGA to build on that strong base." On the marketing front, ESPN will further consult and partner with the "2K4" team on promotions, advertising and events. This includes promotional and event tie-ins with ESPN such as the ESPN National College Tailgate Tour and the ESPN National Truck Tour, working together to create national advertising campaigns and maximizing on-air integration of "2K4" games within ESPN programming. This powerful combination will further differentiate and support the new direction of the "2K4" titles. Additional exclusive ESPN features will be built into the "2K4" series of sports games including "NFL 2K4", "NBA 2K4", "NHL® 2K4", "NCAA® College Basketball 2K4" and "World Series® Baseball 2K4." The first title to unveil these features will be "NFL 2K4", available in the fall for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft.
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