Title:
Interactive sports system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for interactive sports. The system is comprised of participants and two or more real-life athletes organized individually or in teams. Participants direct operational decisions for a real-life athlete or team of athletes who must follow the directions of participants. Participants compete against other participants controlling other athletes and teams, based on the performance of the athletes or teams that they control. Participants vote by numerous communications media and their preferences are collected and processed by an information system. Participants also communicate with real-life athletes and players and other participants. Athletes and teams compete and winners receive compensation. Participants who control winning teams are also eligible for compensation.



Inventors:
Chanda, Parthapratim (Forest Hills, NY, US)
Friedler, Ariel Manuel (Arlington, VA, US)
Porsch, Adam Grant (Arlington, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/422289
Publication Date:
10/30/2003
Filing Date:
04/24/2003
Assignee:
CHANDA PARTHAPRATIM
FRIEDLER ARIEL MANUEL
PORSCH ADAM GRANT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F13/12; (IPC1-7): A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SAGER, MARK ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Parthapratim Chanda (Forest Hills, NY, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. An interactive sports system comprising a) Participants b) Two or more players, individually, or organized into two or more teams c) A system allowing participants to direct a significant operational decision or action for a player or team.

2. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein the significant player or team operational decision or action includes, but is not limited to, one or more of the following: a) Naming the player or team b) Choosing the logo of the player or team c) Selecting the initial players d) Selecting a coach e) Selecting starting line-ups for each game f) Selecting specific plays during games g) Selecting game point spreads h) Substituting players during games i) Providing feedback to players before, during and after games j) Communicating live with players after games k) Trading players l) Selecting a season Most Valuable Player m) Setting player salary and bonuses

3. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein participants are comprised of one or more of the following: broadcast viewers, fans, others who participate in directing a major team activity and/or characteristic.

4. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein a team is comprised of two or more players.

5. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein participants provide instructions to a team and/or player prior to, during and after one or more games.

6. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein participants direct the major team activity and/or characteristic by providing instructions via one or more of the following: telephone, internet, television, mail, remote control, text messaging and other communication media.

7. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein instructions of participants are processed to produce a narrower set of instructions, based on at least a plurality of voting participants.

8. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein players and teams follow the instructions.

9. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein players and teams compete to win.

10. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein player and team competition is broadcast by one or more of the following: live performance, television, radio, internet.

11. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein a participant registers to direct the activities and characteristics of only one player or team.

12. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein participants who register to direct the activities and characteristics of the winning player or team receive a prize.

13. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein a player who wins in an individual sport or plays on the winning team of a team sport receives a prize.

14. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein participants can pose new significant operational decision choices to other participants.

15. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein participants may take part in a separate fantasy competition with other participants.

16. The interactive sports system of claim 1, further comprising a fantasy competition.

17. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein one or more players are selected from the general public.

18. The interactive sports system of claim 1 wherein one or more players, in addition to playing, are involved in a community activity.

19. The interactive sports system of claim 18 wherein the community activity is broadcast by one or more of the following: live performance, television, radio, internet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable

BACKGROUND—FIELD OF INVENTION

[0003] This invention relates to all varieties of sports.

BACKGROUND—DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

[0004] The concept of fantasy sports is well known and popular. Fantasy sports allow participants to select active real-life athletes from existing sports teams to form virtual teams which the participants control. Virtual teams are evaluated based on different statistical criteria related to the “real-life” performances of the players that constitute the virtual teams. Fantasy sports usually involve leagues of participants who compete against each other for the best performing virtual team. Participants may alter their virtual teams by engaging in transactions such as purchasing players or trading players with other virtual teams.

[0005] The concept of fantasy sports is limited in that it is virtual in character, as implied in the name of the concept itself—“fantasy” sports. Participants create virtual teams that are distinct and separate from the real-life teams and athletes. Participants do not control the teal-life teams and athletes that constitute their virtual teams. For example, participants can not trade the real-life players. Nor can they affect the decisions the real-life teams make that affect their virtual teams.

[0006] One variation has been in the case of a sports team, “Club PK-35,” a Finnish soccer team, that enabled fans to vote on three to ten questions relating to team tactics, choice of players and substitutions during games. Winning votes were transmitted to the coach who followed them. While the interactivity level of the Finnish team was greater than ordinary fantasy sports, viewer-participants were limited to voting on a limited range of questions. The participants could not vote on some of the fundamental questions that underlie the management of a sports team—which players should comprise the team, which players should be traded, how much players should be paid, or who the coach should be. The participants could not decide what decisions to vote on. Participants also could not provide feedback to the real-life players. The Finnish variation also did not involve more than one team and did not provide a competitive dimension to the experience of the participant.

[0007] Both fantasy sports and its variation in the case of the Finnish team suffer from the serious limitation that participants are limited in the decisions they can make. Important operational decisions are not made by participants. For example, in both systems participants can not control whether players are traded, whether the coach should be replaced or what salaries the players should receive. Participants also can not provide communicate directly with players. Furthermore, no system provides both the real-life voting of the Finnish soccer team with the competition between participants of fantasy sports leagues.

[0008] The need exists for a new system for sports by which participants can play numerous roles in the sport process. Participants can vote on the operational decisions of real-life sports teams, from choosing the real-life players who engage in the sport to who is traded. Participants can decide which decisions participants should vote on. Participants can communicate directly with real-life athletes and players and provide feedback and chat with the real-life athletes directly. Finally, participants can compete against other participants with the knowledge that they influenced the real-life performance of their team.

SUMMARY

[0009] In accordance with the present invention a system of interactive control of sports teams, by which participants decide the operational decisions of real-life sports teams or individual players and compete against one another based on the performance of their teams or players.

[0010] Objects and Advantages

[0011] Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the present invention are:

[0012] (a) to provide Participants with the ability to choose the players that comprise a sports team;

[0013] (b) to provide Participants with the ability to choose the basic attributes of a sports team—including its name and uniform design;

[0014] (c) to provide Participants with the ability to provide feedback to the players that comprise a sports team, before, during and after real-life games;

[0015] (d) to provide Participants with the ability to substitute players, before, during and after real-life games;

[0016] (e) to provide Participants with the ability to create a sports team from inception;

[0017] (f) to provide Participants with the ability to cast votes through a variety of means including, but not limited to, phone, internet, remote control, and mail.

[0018] (g) to provide Participants with the ability to trade real-life players;

[0019] (h) to provide Participants with the ability to determine the compensation levels of real-life players;

[0020] (i) to provide Participants with the ability to decide which decisions the participants should vote on;

[0021] (j) to provide Participants with the ability to financially benefit from the performance of the real-life sports team or player they control;

[0022] (k) to provide Participants with the ability to compete with other Participants who are also subject to the aforementioned objects and advantages;

[0023] (l) to provide Participants to communicate with other Participants through a variety of means including, but not limited to, the internet;

[0024] (m) to provide players and teams an opportunity to participate in community activities.

[0025] Further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

DRAWING FIGURES

[0026] FIG. 1 is a flowchart of the system forming the present invention

[0027] FIG. 2 is a flowchart of the system by which information flows from participants to players and teams.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 1 AND FIG. 2—PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0028] A preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. In a preferred embodiment, the disclosure relates to a league of basketball teams. The league is comprised of the top amateur and/or professional basketball players from around the world. The league is under the full control and management of participants, who include viewers of game broadcasts at home and live, and other interested parties.

[0029] At the start of the season, viewers register online to become a co-owner of one of the teams in the league. Following registration, co-owners make every major decision facing their team throughout the season by voting online, over the phone, with remote control technology, and other available technology. A majority or plurality of votes of all viewing owners of each team, depending on the type of issue voted upon, determine what the team actually does. The decisions voted on include, but are not limited to, the following:

[0030] a) Naming the player or team

[0031] b) Choosing the logo of the player or team

[0032] c) Selecting the initial players

[0033] d) Selecting a coach

[0034] e) Selecting starting line-ups for each game

[0035] f) Selecting specific plays during games

[0036] g) Selecting game point spreads

[0037] h) Substituting players during games

[0038] i) Trading players

[0039] j) Selecting a season Most Valuable Player

[0040] k) Setting player salary and bonuses

[0041] Participants also provide feedback to individual players and chat with them electronically. Participants make the critical decisions owners and GMs make every day and see their effects play out in real time with real players in real games.

[0042] FIG. 1 details this process. The arrows denote voting. At the top of the drawing, participants vote for a team they want to co-own. They then vote on numerous decisions and provide feedback to and chat with players and teams. Those decisions and feedback are followed by players and teams, providing direct control to participants. This process is repeated during games and throughout the season. Teams and players compete in a season format and the best performing team wins a prize. Participant co-owners of the winning player or team also receive a prize.

[0043] FIG. 2 details the flow of information in the preferred embodiment of this invention. Participants access numerous communication avenues to vote. They transmit different decisions and feedback for their respective teams, denoted in FIG. 2 by the different types of Decision/Feedback triangles. Their decisions are transmitted via these communication avenues and are collected and processed at one or more information processing units which calculate majority and plurality votes for the decisions and feedback and relay those results to the teams which follow the results in their actions.

[0044] The league and all of its games are broadcast over television and internet. The league is launched with a public search for players. Open auditions and talent searches produce a field of contenders who compete further to determine their skill and fitness levels and create a final group of draft choices. At this stage, participants register online and over the phone by creating a personal account and signing up with one of the teams. As part owners of their team, fans can register for only one team and can vote only on decisions facing their team. Owners then vote on the team name and logo and coach.

[0045] The league begins with an introductory episode introducing viewers to the concept and the players, followed by a televised draft, regular season play and tournament play leading to the crowning of one championship team. The winning team and the league MVP, chosen by viewers, win cash prizes and national exposure. Participants who co-own the championship team also win prizes.

[0046] At the draft broadcast, co-owners select the players that will comprise their team by majority vote. In the preferred embodiment, the structure of the draft consists of a round based draft in which 1) the order of picks for the teams will be selected randomly; 2) each team will choose players, with one of their players selected automatically by computer from the remaining players. The draft is set up as a snake-selection system in which the first round votes for teams proceed from team one to the last team and votes for the next round start from the last team and work backwards to the team one. Voting is predominantly live, with some absentee ballots. While viewers are voting, clips of the top un-drafted players are shown, with commentary from sports analysts.

[0047] Once players are drafted and the team's logo, name and coach are selected, co-owners chat with both other participants and players before the first game. Co-owners vote on the starting line ups for the first regular season game. During the game, co-owners vote on substitutions and play selection and provide feedback to players. At the end of the game, all viewers vote on the best and worst player of the game.

[0048] Between games co-owners provide feedback to individual players and chat live with co-owners and individual players. Participants can pose new questions or operational choices to their fellow participants to decide upon. Co-owners can trade players or replace players with reserve athletes. Trades work in the following way: 1) Each team has a designated deadline to trade. The worst team of the week chooses first, and their owners have 24 hours to make a trading selection; 2) Co-owners are asked if they want to trade the worst performing player from the previous week, selected by sports analysts; 3) They are then asked to vote for one of the remaining players in the reserve squad; 4) If more than 50% of co-owners vote in favor of the trade then the player will be substituted with the reserve player who receives a plurality of the votes; 5) Once each team's choice is approved, fans of the next worst team of the week will have the following 24 hours to go through the process and choose from one of the remaining players in the reserve squad or the player traded back to the reserve squad by the previous team. If a player is injured, selection of a replacement player follows the same protocol as the player trade system described above.

[0049] During the voting process, participants will view the voting progress before the polls close on all votes in an online voting interface. That interface provides video clips, stats, player diaries and game recaps for fans to conduct the most detailed research into their players and teams

[0050] Fans also have the ability to predict the final game score of the next set of games, with the winner(s) with the best predictions identified on TV at the end of the show.

[0051] This process repeats itself through a round-robin championship tournament in which one team will prevail. At the end of the championship game, fans vote for the championship Most Valuable Player (MVP). The MVP will be announced at the end of the program and will receive a cash bonus

ADDITIONAL EMBODIMENTS

Example 1

[0052] Fantasy League

[0053] An interactive sports game system as described herein may also comprise a fantasy league element. For example, participants may take part in a fantasy-like component alongside the show. This option will allow fans to create their own dream team of players from the entire league and completely control all trades. Like other fantasy leagues, fans will be able to compete in groups with their friends. The broadcaster or other corporate sponsor could decide to charge a nominal fee to participate in the Fantasy League and the winner could be eligible for a prize.

Example 2

[0054] Community Involvement

[0055] An interactive sports game system as described herein may also comprise a community involvement component. For example, players could also perform community service during the week which would form interesting human story clips for the show. A community involvement component could further differentiate this system from any other sports programming or system. A community involvement component could provide marketing opportunities for the program in new communities and good will for the idea.

ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

Example 1

[0056] Individual Sports

[0057] An interactive sports game system as described herein may also comprise individual athletes rather than teams of athletes. Such an embodiment of the system would be used for golf, tennis, bowling, archery and other individual sports.

ADVANTAGES

[0058] From the description above, a number of advantages of my interactive sports system become evident:

[0059] (a) The system allows for the control of operational decisions of real-life sports teams and athletes.

[0060] (b) The system allows for competition between participants based on their real control of real-life sports teams and athletes.

[0061] (n) The system offers the possibility for participants to create a real-life sports team.

[0062] (o) The system allows participants to control their sports teams through various communications media.

[0063] (p) The system allows participants to financially benefit from the performance of a real-life sports team whose performance they control;

[0064] (q) The system allows participants to communicate with real-life athletes, teams and other participants.

[0065] (r) The system allows participants to pose new questions or operational choices to their fellow participants to decide upon.

[0066] (s) The system allows athletes to participate in community activities.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE

[0067] Accordingly, the reader will see that the interactive sports system provides the opportunity for participants to control the operational decisions of real-life athletes and teams. Those operational decisions may include, but are not limited to, creating a team, choosing players, making trades and setting salaries. Furthermore, the interactive sports system provides participants the opportunity to compete with other participants based on the performances of the real-life athletes and teams that the participants control. Furthermore, the interactive sports system has the additional advantages that:

[0068] Participants can communicate directly with real-life athletes, teams and other participants.

[0069] Participants can use various communications media, including but not limited to telephone, internet, television, mail, remote control and text messaging, to vote and communicate with athletes and teams and other participants,

[0070] Participants can financially benefit from the performance of a real-life sports team, performance they can control.

[0071] Athletes are selected from the general public.

[0072] Participants can pose new questions or operational choices to their fellow participants to decide upon.

[0073] The system allows athletes to participate in community activities.

[0074] Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, the operational decisions can be different from those included in this embodiment, such as location of the team, selection of the general manager, etc.; or the communications media can take a different form, such as a special module that fans use to communicate electronically with athletes and teams, etc.

[0075] Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.

[0076] Definitions

[0077] The term “including” is used herein to mean “including but not limited to”.

[0078] The articles “a” and “an” are used herein to mean “one or more” or “at least one” of the grammatical object of the article.