Slamball Is Back, Baby
By Kyle Koster
Before they invented energy drinks, we watched Slamball. It's tough to express just how exciting it was to fire up Spike TV, then called The National Network, back in the day to watch world-class athletes playing a particularly aggressive blend of basketball and trampoline gymnastics. But because nothing gold can stay, the initial foray disappeared after two seasons and middling ratings.
It's been a rough two decades because nothing can really replicate that viewing experience. So it is with great joy that we take the opportunity to be the very first to tell you that Slamball is making a comeback.
SlamBall is set to return as a six-week series, plus a seventh week for playoffs, in July. It will be played in Las Vegas. Games last roughly 20 minutes, and a set of three are played per night.
This is genius. If a low-octane sport like pickleball can garner an incredible amount of media coverage and speculation, imagine what something that's actually awesome could accomplish. Slamball's discussions in that area are on-going and the plan is to broadcast games on traditional television, a streaming partner, and on social media.
The venture has a strong lineup of investors, including David Blitzer, Michael Rubin, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Adelman and Blake Griffin. It's also crazy enough to realize some realistic goals. Launching new things like this does not have a great conversion rate yet there are a few elements for optimism.
First, it's fun as hell to watch. The action is the star, meaning it's less important to develop individual stars and elevate them to household names. And, crucially, there's a bit a nostalgia play to draw upon. Like, if you think I'm not at least checking out one Slamball game, you're crazy.
There are thousands of us.