Hero Ball | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

Hero Ball

Bleacher Report

The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics

ABOUT THIS ENTRY

Hero Ball is an action-packed web series that reimagines the current NBA landscape as a sprawling anime epic about powerful fighters who compete to be the best in the land. Can the young and raw Celtics finally get it together? Is Lebron’s stranglehold on the western lands waning? Will Zion ever level up? By reimagining major real-life storylines as epic anime clashes, Hero Ball celebrates today’s basketball stars with an irreverent comedic tone, topical jokes and eye-catching animation. Episodes of the show air across many platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and the B/R App.

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How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

Sports-centric animation is a small genre of content, but with Hero Ball, B/R can reach many fans in a non-traditional way. When creating serialized content in the digital landscape, the biggest channel is winning viewers over enough to cause them to be invested in future episodes and seasons to come. We accomplish this by featuring popular NBA players and the most topical storylines being discussed in the NBA landscape at the time, which initially draws viewers in. Then, they are thoroughly engaged by the creative spin we bring to real life NBA, causing them to become invested in future episodes and seasons. Once they are hooked to the show’s universe, they tend to go back and watch earlier episodes and seasons. By serializing this content into a narrative show format, we can ensure that people will seek out Hero Ball episodes months, even years, after they initially air. Continuing this cycle ensures that our fanbase keeps wanting more.

Objective

Throughout the years, B/R Animation has successfully produced several projects and hit series across various genres and sports. Our specialty is researching the current popular trends and storylines, then producing creative content at the intersection of sports and pop culture. In creating other anime-adjacent content that has found great success, we discovered a substantial overlap between young sports fans and the anime genre. Naturally we decided to combine these two distinct interests into one project, Hero Ball. With Hero Ball, the team is able to retell the story of an NBA season through comedy and tapping into the Anime style, a genre with ever-growing popularity, to reach fans in a way that news, highlights, and podcasts cannot. Through Hero Ball, we’re able to tell engaging stories that the modern NBA fan isn’t typically able to see come to life.

Strategy & Execution

Born out of trial and error with one-off anime videos created by the B/R Animation Team, Hero Ball is designed to appeal to an ever-growing cross-section of basketball and anime fans. Gen Z sports content consumption has deviated from trends set by previous generations that consisted of people rooting for specific teams. Now more than ever, younger fans are following specific players from franchise to franchise. With this in mind, our creative decisions center on a player-first mentality, celebrating specific player accomplishments as opposed to focusing on team success. This strategy allows fan-favorite players from different franchises, that may not play together typically, to serve as heroes in their own stories. This appeals to both the younger fan who is enthused to watch their favorite player, and anime fans who are familiar with Hero-focused content. Hero Ball thrives on finding the sweet spot of short and digestible content, while maintaining a high level of artistic quality and basketball knowledge to keep younger fans engaged.

Organizations

  • Bleacher Report
  • TNT Sports
  • Warner Bros. Discovery

Credits

Hal Lee
Director
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Chester Knebel
Lead Animator
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Matthew Rodriguez
Animator
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Elena Suarez
Animator
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Mimi Chiu
Animator
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Richard Silvius
Background Artist
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Tom Soulen
Background Artist
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Jean Yu
Background Artist
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Nikki Sharma
Animator
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Rachel Headlam
Animator
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Sean Sullivan
Animator
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Erica Perez
Animator
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Amanda DePasquale
Animator
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Brian Martin
Animator
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KK Glore
Animator
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Jeff Brody
Compositor
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Dennis Flynn
Executive Producer
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Kristofer Wollinger
Supervising Producer of Animation
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Chris Thompson
Head Writer
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Evan Matthews
Producer
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Chelsea Kurtz
Producer
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Amy Strauss
Producer
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Myriam Wilson
Producer
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Eddie Mostert
Editor
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Tyler Price
Co-Executive Producer
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Kenny Beecham
Co-Executive Producer
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Vance Tucker
Writer
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Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.

 

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