February 27, 2008 10:35 ET

IMG and Mike Tollin Productions Announce New Joint Venture to Create 'SLAMBALL' Sports League

New League Will Launch Season of the Action Team Sport in June 2008; Top Athletes and Coaches Trained at IMG Academies

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 27, 2008) - IMG, the world's premier sports, entertainment and media company, and Mike Tollin, Founder of Tollin Productions, an award-winning and highly acclaimed television and feature film production company, today announced the formation of a new joint venture to develop and expand the action sport SLAMBALL.

Leveraging the worldwide resources of IMG, including the company's industry leading sports production and distribution network, as well as IMG Academies, the venture will bring the exciting hybrid spectator sport to a global audience.

Created by sports entrepreneur Mason Gordon, SLAMBALL is the first action team sport, a full-contact competition played on a combination of surfaces and including elements of football, hockey, soccer and gymnastics. The high-flying, hard-hitting action is often described as a videogame brought to life.

SLAMBALL features two teams (playing four on four) engaged in a high intensity, 20-minute game. The playing surface is approximately the size of a regulation basketball court, with four springbeds (tramps) built into the court around each basket. The remainder of the court is fully shock absorbent and surrounded by 12-foot plexiglass walls that keep the ball in play at all times.

In April, IMG Academies, the world-renowned, multi-sport training and education division of IMG, will stage a two-month training camp in Bradenton, Florida to identify, recruit and train high-caliber SLAMBALL athletes and coaches. Approximately 120 players will be invited to the training camp following a review of 50,000 players who will participate in regional SLAMBALL tryouts. Ultimately, 64 players and 16 coaches will be selected to participate in a single-venue season this June. The intent is for SLAMBALL to return in 2009 with eight franchises playing in U.S. cities.

The new company is currently in discussions with broadcast partners to expand the league and deliver televised SLAMBALL competition to audiences in the United States and internationally in 2008. Former Philadelphia 76ers President and successful entrepreneur Pat Croce will serve as the league's commissioner.

In making the announcement, Chris Albrecht, Head of Global Media at IMG, said, "Putting an innovator like Ted Forstmann together with Mike and Mason, makes this partnership a natural fit for IMG. This project leverages our expertise in entertainment with our capabilities in athletic training and sports production and distribution to create a multi-platform SLAMBALL league with the potential to attract a worldwide audience."

George Pyne, President of Sports and Entertainment at IMG, added, "SLAMBALL combines the best elements of team and action sports and even live action video games. Combining the worldwide sports, marketing and production resources of IMG with this innovative sporting concept will take SLAMBALL to the next level."

Mike Tollin said, "This is a perfect partnership and an ideal scenario for Tollin Productions. To combine our longstanding relationship with Chris with the reach of an IMG will allow us to raise the visibility of the sport around the world and maximize its opportunities on a wide range of platforms."

Mason Gordon said, "Starting from a warehouse with a court made of spare parts, the rapid growth of SLAMBALL has been remarkable. With this team in place, now we can take on the world!"

Pat Croce added, "I've loved the SLAMBALL concept since the very beginning. The strength, skill and pure athleticism of the athletes and the vigorous, non-stop competition make SLAMBALL a sport with a bright future that deserves to be seen around the world."

About Mike Tollin/Tollin Productions

Through his Tollin Productions, Mike Tollin has produced more than a dozen feature films and currently has two prime-time television series in production. He most recently produced "Wild Hogs," a comedy starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and Bill Macy, which has grossed nearly $250 million at the box office; and "The Bronx is Burning," an eight-hour mini-series for ESPN about the 1977 Yankees, which was nominated for two SAG Awards, a DGA Award, and the PGA 'Producer of the Year' Award.

Other films produced by Tollin include "Coach Carter," "Dreamer," "Hardball," "Varsity Blues," "Summer Catch," "Big Fat Liar," and "Radio," which Tollin also directed. Tollin wrote, produced and directed the documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream," which won a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Academy Award.

In television, Tollin has won three Emmy Awards. He is Executive Producer of the CW's "Smallville" and "One Tree Hill." Tollin previously produced seven seasons of "Arli$$" for HBO; ABC's "I'm With Her" and "The Days"; "What I Like About You" for the WB, and several series for Nickelodeon, including "All That," "Kenan & Kel," "The Amanda Show," and "Sports Theatre with Shaquille O'Neal."

About IMG Academies

IMG Academies, a division of IMG, is the world's largest and most successful multi-sport, training and education camp/academy business. Spread over 300 acres in Bradenton, Florida, the IMG Academies complex encompasses the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, The Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Softball, and Swimming Academies, International Performance Institute, The Pendleton School, University of Miami, The Wellness Spa, Academy Realty, and the IMG Academies Golf and Country Club.

More information about IMG Academies is available at

About IMG

IMG is the world's premier sports, entertainment and media enterprise.

Operating in 30 countries, IMG's diverse businesses include: consulting services; event ownership and management; fashion events and models representation; licensing; golf course design; and client representation in golf, tennis, broadcasting, speakers, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, coaching, Olympic sports and action sports. IMG Academies are the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class sports training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year.

IMG's media and entertainment operations include content production subsidiaries Darlow Smithson Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions. Globally, IMG produces and distributes more than 11,000 hours of sports, documentary, drama, comedy, entertainment, popular factual and children's content annually. IMG also represents the broadcast rights to many of the world's premier sporting events and has the world's largest sports archive with more than 250,000 hours of footage.

Forstmann Little & Co. purchased IMG in 2004.

More information about IMG is available at

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