Sega rebrands 2K line as ESPN Videogames

Sega is rebranding its "2K" line of sports video games, swapping ESPN into the series' title to emphasize Sega's partnership with the sports broadcasting network.

The series will now be known as ESPN Videogames, with a line up including ESPN NFL Football, ESPN NBA Basketball, ESPN NHL Hockey, ESPN College Hoops and ESPN World Series Baseball. The 2K branding will live on as a logo in the lower right-hand corner of the games' boxes.

With the rebranding comes a deeper level of integration with ESPN, executives from Sega's Visual Concepts Entertainment development studio said Wednesday at a press conference in New York.

ESPN announcers are recording extensive commentary for the games, with ESPN's Chris Berman narrating ESPN NFL Football, and commentators Gary Thorne and Bill Clement offering play-by-play and color in ESPN NHL Hockey. ESPN-style presentation will permeate the games, with stylized camera angles and themed ESPN music and graphics featured during play.

"In the games last year you saw basic ESPN elements. What you're going to see this year is a complete broadcast presentation. We have absolutely blurred the line between a video game and a television broadcast," said Visual Concepts Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Steve Raab.

Visual Concepts also unveiled its choice for this year's ESPN NFL Football spokesman and cover player: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who "plays like every game may be his last," according to Visual Concepts President Greg Thomas.

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Stacy Cowley

IDG News Service
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