Vladimir Andri­anov, one of the founders of the tour­na­ment, spoke about how bas­ket­ball won the hearts of the stars and how to turn a sports tour­na­ment into a real show.

— How did you come up with the idea of ​​orga­niz­ing a media bas­ket­ball league? Why bas­ket­ball?

The idea to cre­ate a media bas­ket­ball league came to us a long time ago, back in 2019. Then we, togeth­er with Nike, were going to do small one-day tour­na­ments in Gorky Park with per­for­mances and par­tic­i­pa­tion of artists. How­ev­er, due to the events that have occurred over the past few years, this could not be real­ized: the tour­na­ment was con­stant­ly post­poned. As a result, in 2022 we cre­at­ed a media foot­ball league — this was our first expe­ri­ence, thanks to which we learned a lot. Since child­hood, we love bas­ket­ball, the NBA and every­thing con­nect­ed with it. Our main activ­i­ty is par­ties and nightlife, so our social cir­cle con­sists of enthu­si­as­tic and cre­ative peo­ple. And at some point we decid­ed to gath­er all our friends who love bas­ket­ball and make a tour­na­ment to show oth­ers how inter­est­ing and cool it can be. In the spring of 2023, we launched the first sea­son of the Media Bas­ket media bas­ket­ball league. It is brighter and more spec­tac­u­lar. This includes sports, street cul­ture, music, and fash­ion — every­thing that we and our audi­ence are inter­est­ed in. This is an inte­gral part of the pop cul­ture that we devel­op.

— What are your plans for this sea­son? Will there be any inno­va­tions?

A lot of them! First­ly, we have a new venue: the match­es will move to the Inter­na­tion­al Box­ing Cen­ter on the ter­ri­to­ry of the Luzh­ni­ki Olympic com­plex. This is a new cen­ter that opened only a year ago, and it can accom­mo­date more spec­ta­tors. If the match­es of the first sea­son were attend­ed by more than 9 thou­sand peo­ple in total, now there is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to exceed this num­ber many times over — the are­na allows it. As in the first sea­son, Media Bas­ket offers offline view­ers not just a trip to bas­ket­ball, but full-fledged par­ties around bas­ket­ball match­es: cool visu­als, per­for­mances by DJs and musi­cians. You can safe­ly come for the whole week­end. There are also plen­ty of com­plete­ly sports events: open train­ing ses­sions, con­fer­ences and sports chal­lenges. In the sec­ond sea­son there will be an inno­v­a­tive broad­cast — match­es will be shown on YouTube with aug­ment­ed real­i­ty, AR graph­ics in 360 degree for­mat. This will help you immerse your­self in the game and cre­ate the effect of pres­ence on the floor.

Vladimir Andrianov

— Which stars are plan­ning to take part?

Par­tic­i­pants can be divid­ed into sev­er­al groups: pro­fes­sion­al ath­letes, bas­ket­ball leg­ends and media stars. Among the stars from the world of bas­ket­ball: Anton Ponkrashov, Fedor Likholi­tov, Egor Vyalt­sev, Mikhail Gunter. Of course, there will be media stars. In the sec­ond sea­son, as in the first, the T‑killah team — “Moth­er­land of Media”, as well as Eldzhey’s team — Say­onaraBoys, will take part. In addi­tion, foot­ball play­er Dmit­ry Tarasov, musi­cal per­form­ers NILETTO, OBLADAET with their Play­ers Club team will take to the floor. Among the new par­tic­i­pants: the FLAVA team — they have a bright line-up of stars, as well as a new team from the Rock­et label. This is the label of rap artist YurKiss. The team pres­i­dent will be DJ Smash, their team also includes Doni, Jacques-Antho­ny, Karan­dash and many oth­ers. It will be a cool show!

— Does media bas­ket­ball have a chance to become as pop­u­lar as media foot­ball?

This is our main goal, and over­all there is every chance. Despite the fact that foot­ball is a more pop­u­lar sport in Rus­sia, bas­ket­ball has always been dis­tin­guished by its spec­ta­cle and close­ness to mod­ern pop cul­ture, the only thing miss­ing was the show ele­ment, and we added it. It turned out to turn a sport­ing event into a real par­ty. This is where we believe our great advan­tage and appeal to the audi­ence com­pared to media foot­ball is.

— How does the process of orga­niz­ing media tour­na­ments work? Is it dif­fi­cult to attract stars to par­tic­i­pate? Are there any selec­tion cri­te­ria?

Pre­vi­ous­ly, media tour­na­ments as such were not held in Rus­sia. There was one media tour­na­ment — the Moscow Celebri­ty Cup (MCC). But it was also inti­mate. We, in turn, also stood at the ori­gins of the cre­ation of a media foot­ball league in 2022, so we can safe­ly say that we are one of the founders of media sports in Rus­sia. Orga­niz­ing media tour­na­ments is a rather com­plex process that requires a huge team to work on. But thanks to the cohe­sion of our team, we eas­i­ly cope with all dif­fi­cul­ties and plan to devel­op fur­ther. Regard­ing the stars, we haven’t had any dif­fi­cul­ties with this issue yet. Since we have a back­ground in par­ty plan­ning and a large audi­ence of influ­encers, we are cur­rent­ly attract­ing var­i­ous celebri­ties and influ­encers through per­son­al con­nec­tions. When select­ing, the main cri­te­ri­on is the love of bas­ket­ball and the desire of the artist him­self to either assem­ble his own team or take part, and after that we get involved and cre­ate all the con­di­tions for a spec­tac­u­lar fight. In addi­tion, when form­ing teams, it is impor­tant to main­tain a bal­ance between pro­fes­sion­al ath­letes and media play­ers — this is one of the most dif­fi­cult tasks.

— What moti­vates stars to take part in this kind of tour­na­ment?

Many artists have a bas­ket­ball back­ground, many of them at one time want­ed to real­ize them­selves in the sport, and now they have this oppor­tu­ni­ty, so they go to play. And this is not so much about the stars, but about all the par­tic­i­pants in the tour­na­ment in gen­er­al. For exam­ple, about man­agers or team pres­i­dents — well, this is an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate your own team, mon­i­tor it, and lead it to suc­cess. I think this is the most basic moti­va­tion. As chil­dren, all the boys divid­ed into teams in the yard and recruit­ed par­tic­i­pants. I’m sure every­one has had this expe­ri­ence. Now there is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do this at such a cool lev­el: with cool broad­casts, a won­der­ful offline event. It’s amaz­ing!

— In your opin­ion, is media sports a tem­po­rary trend or part of pro­fes­sion­al sports in the future?

This is def­i­nite­ly not a tem­po­rary trend. This is 100% part of the future of pro­fes­sion­al sports. We are try­ing our best to show what bas­ket­ball can look like: both in terms of the lev­el of events and the qual­i­ty of the broad­cast. We are con­stant­ly com­ing up with some­thing new both in orga­niz­ing the event itself and in film­ing, so that the tour­na­ments are even more spec­tac­u­lar and inter­est­ing, and bas­ket­ball itself becomes a top sport in Rus­sia. Pro­fes­sion­al sports is a very com­plex and closed area. But media sports, on the con­trary, are about open­ness, about peo­ple and their emo­tions. It is more demo­c­ra­t­ic and clos­er than pro­fes­sion­al sports. And we hope that media and pro­fes­sion­al bas­ket­ball will devel­op togeth­er.

— What are the prospects for the devel­op­ment of the project? What oth­er sports are in your plans?

Since we have cre­at­ed a new bas­ket­ball for­mat for Rus­sia due to the size of the court, the num­ber of play­ers, and in prin­ci­ple 3x3 in two rings is a new sto­ry, we plan to devel­op this for­mat and make it not only a media tour­na­ment, but also a sep­a­rate new dis­ci­pline as a whole. In addi­tion, in the future I would like to expand to the regions, as well as reach a lev­el of orga­ni­za­tion com­pa­ra­ble to the NBA. In addi­tion to foot­ball and bas­ket­ball, we are now work­ing on media golf tour­na­ments, and in the plans — for exam­ple, hock­ey, but this requires more com­plex and detailed work, since on the hock­ey rink there are peo­ple on skates, and to play you need to be able to wield a stick.