PRESS RELEASE: Wimbledon Champion Maria Sharapova Signs With I-Play
Press release supplied by Games Press 09:35 04/04/2005
London, UK & San Mateo, CA, April 4, 2005
-- Reigning Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova has signed with I-play, the mobile games company. Sharapova, who turns 18 on April 19, will front a new mobile game, titled I-play Maria Sharapova Tennis, soon to be available across Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.
Blessed with powerful first and second serves, a fierce two-handed backhand, great speed, and an arsenal of amazing ground strokes, Sharapova combines supermodel looks with an aggressive playing style. The Russian-born, U.S.-based player took the tennis world by storm when she won the 2004 All-England Championships at Wimbledon, the world's most prestigious tournament. Just 17 and only a professional player for three years, she also captured the WTA tournaments in Seoul and Tokyo before beating Serena Williams in the 2004 final of the WTA Championships in Los Angeles. In 2005, she won titles in Tokyo and Doha, Qatar, and reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.
"Tennis is a sport that everyone should be able to enjoy across any format, and by using my name in a mobile gaming context, I hope that tennis fans will be able to share my passion, whatever the weather or conditions of play," said Sharapova.
"As part of our drive to create mobile games for everyone, we are very pleased to bring an athlete of huge, global appeal like Maria Sharapova to mobile gaming. The game will be simple to play but difficult to master, just like tennis itself, and we are very much looking forward to working with our distribution partners as well as other Maria Sharapova marketing partners to bring it to as wide an audience as possible," said Paul Maglione, Senior Vice President of Publishing and Marketing for I-play.
I-Play Maria Sharapova Tennis joins other I-play mobile games based on well-known sports personalities, including Colin McRae Rally 2005; Nate Adams Freestyle Motocross and, via I-play's distribution arrangement with Electronic Arts, EA Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005.
The Maria Sharapova deal was brokered by IMG, the world's premier sports and lifestyle management firm. "The increasing popularity of mobile games enables us to help our sports personalities capitalize on the opportunities that this powerful medium presents. After a careful selection process we felt that I-play was the partner that we could work with closely and entrust with Maria Sharapova's name and image," said Greg Oldfield, Vice President Brand Marketing & Interactive Media, IMG.
The mobile games company behind the game today also unveiled its new brand, 'I-play' and its mission to make mobile gaming easy, intuitive and fun for a mass-market audience. I-play believes that gaming is an integral part of the global mobile lifestyle and will deliver on a 'consumer comes first' promise. Through an expanding games portfolio ranging from premium-branded action titles to simple, "one-thumb" puzzle and arcade games; I-play will bring consumers quality, easy-to-use and easy-to-access content that gives a great gameplay experience.
I-play, the mobile games company, brings the best in mobile entertainment to a mobile gaming audience of half a billion people via mobile operators, retail stores and online portals, including www.Iplay.com
. I-play has been creating mobile games since 1998 and continues to spearhead the creation of games for the next generation. As one of the world's longest established and respected creators of mobile games, the I-play brand stands for quality and the best in mobile game development. Working with the best media and entertainment brands, I-play is 100% focused on mobile games, and dedicated to fulfilling the promise of the mobile phone as the first truly mass-market electronic games platform.
I-play's investors are Apax Partners and Argo Global Capital. I-play is headquartered in London, Global Technology and European Publishing HQ in Dunfermline, Scotland and North American Sales & Publishing HQ in San Mateo, California as well as sales offices in Paris, Munich, Madrid, Rome, New York, Fairfax, Sao Paolo and Singapore.
I-play is a trademark and trading name of Digital Bridges Limited.
IMG is the world's premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing firm, with an international staff of more than 2,200 people in 70 offices in 30 countries. TWI, IMG's television division, is the largest independent distributor and producer of televised sports, managing a library of more than 150,000 hours. TWI annually produces and distributes 6,500 hours of original programming to more than 200 countries covering 200+ sports, as well as being a global leader in digital sports and entertainment. IMG is also commercially involved in an average of 11 major sports and cultural events around the world every day; IMG Consulting works with many of the world's largest corporations on marketing and sponsorship programs; IMG's stadium and arena group works with leagues and franchises worldwide; IMG is the world's largest non-character licensing firm, and is a leading literary agency and book packager. In addition, IMG Models is the world's number one international model management firm, IMG owns and operates top sports and fitness academies, and IMG Artists is the top global performing arts management firm.
IMG's clients include Charles Barkley, James Brown, Jennifer Capriati, Vince Carter, Bob Costas, Ernie Els, Chris Evert, Sergei Fedorov, Renée Fleming, Sergio Garcia, Gisele, Reteif Goosen, Jeff Gordon, the GRAMMYS®, Denny Green, Scott Hamilton, Elizabeth Hurley, Jaromir Jagr, Derek Jeter, Nancy Lopez, John Madden, Major League Baseball, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Steve Mariucci, John McEnroe, Joe Montana, Kate Moss, Jim Nantz, Jack Nicklaus, The Nobel Foundation, Olympus Fashion Week, Arnold Palmer, Itzhak Perlman, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Pete Sampras, Marty Schottenheimer, Maria Sharapova, Michael Schumacher, Vijay Singh, Annika Sorenstam, Picabo Street, Liv Tyler, USGA, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Dick Vitale, Bill Walton, Wembley National Stadium, Venus Williams, Wimbledon and Tiger Woods.
Contact for I-play: +44 (0) 20 7901 1760
Contact for IMG: Carla Schalman/Linda Dozoretz
Linda Dozoretz Communications