March Madness is giving TV viewers a full-court press of basketball binge-watching this weekend.
While the NCAA pares the field of 68 teams to an national champion on April 5 in Indianapolis, another field of hoops contestants is vying for title of best trick shot. XvsX Sports, the basketball app founded by ex-NBA star Metta World Peace, has teamed with Boost Media to create what they hope is must-see viewing online.
“It’s got a little bit of the game show concept and the potential to create YouTube stars,” World Peace told MarketWatch. “The idea is to engage urban markets with a bunch of spectacular shots, and coming up with a winner.”
Thousands of shots have been submitted via TikTok and Facebook Inc.’s
Instagram in the #boostballer competition. The best ones will be selected by corporate partner Boost Mobile, a division of DISH Network Corp.
and a panel of celebrity basketball judges that includes World Peace, Bone Collector, and Jaden Newman will pick the winner on March 31.
“We see a real chance of this going viral among the younger demographic. It is a huge, untapped audience,” says Stephen Stokols, chief executive of Boost Mobile, which has more than 9 million subscribers and $4 billion in annual revenue. “This is a first-of-its-kind competition with a wow factor.” Boost is providing users with special deals, discounts on phones, contests and more specifically targeted to the XvsX audience and kicking off with a BoostBaller campaign to coincide with March Madness.
There is a genuine appetite for such contests. Consider the appeal of Dude Perfect, a sports and comedy web site that features trick shots. It is one of YouTube’s most-popular channels, with 55.6 million subscribers and 225 million views.
In other words, it’s the sort of content that dovetails with the XvsX app, an Airbnb-like
service for pick-up basketball games. The app, which lets hoopsters find and book top-tier indoor courts across the country, was founded in 2019 by World Peace, a long-time basketball veteran who was a member of the 2010 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
There are around 23 million basketball players in the U.S., but they have access to only about 5% of indoor courts — and those that do, pay on average of $160 per recreational league.
Investors and other participants include ex-NBAers Al Harrington, Nick Young, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson. The tech roster consists of angel investor Brad O’Neill, whose company TechValidate was sold to SVMK Inc.
and Charles Jolley, who sold two companies to Facebook.