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NFL, Electronic Arts to Release Wii Fitness Video Based on Football Drills

Electronic Arts Inc. and the National Football League and will release a fitness video game for Nintendo Co.’s Wii console in November, expanding a partnership that produced the best-selling sports game of all time.

“EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp” takes participants through fitness drills similar to those used by football players. The game was designed by the EA Sports unit that produced the top-selling “Madden NFL,” which the company says has generated about $3 billion in revenue in the past 22 years.

Leo Kane, the NFL’s vice president of consumer products, said the new game may have a broader audience than Madden, while promoting exercise and fitness, which the league encourages through efforts including its “Play 60” campaign against childhood obesity.

“Not only does this allow our fans to train like NFL players, it allows them to compete against their family and friends,” Kane said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has cited digital media as a potential source of new revenue for the U.S.’s most-watched sports league. Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, said in February that the company would introduce a version of Madden for use on the Facebook social-media website. In June, the league also reached a licensing deal with online game company Quick Hit Inc. for an online football game.

Tough Drills

At a demonstration in New York last week, Tony Gonzalez, a tight end for the Atlanta Falcons, sat and watched a child wearing sensors on his right leg and arm throw passes in a virtual Georgia Dome.

Gonzalez said the game includes drills designed by the league’s strength and conditioning coaches, including at least one -- racing through a pattern of tires, then leaping and dodging various obstacles -- that he particularly hates at real training camp.

“This is the same stuff I do,” he said. “The beauty is we’re getting people up off the couch.”

That was the designers’ objective, according to Justin Sheffield, a producer for the title. The game’s more-than 70 drills aim to alleviate the tedium of exercise by incorporating competition. They allows multiplayer competition and comparing statistics online. They also try to provide a real workout.

“This isn’t just a game, it’s also a fitness product,” said Sheffield. “It’s obviously not as intense as real training camp, but if you’re doing the squats, holding the poses, you’ll get results.”

The company’s Madden title has sold about 85 million units since being introduced in 1989 as “John Madden Football,” EA said in a news release. EA, the world’s second-biggest video- game maker after Vivendi SA unit Activision Blizzard Inc., started putting players on the cover in 1999.

Shares of the Redwood City, California-based Electronic Arts, which have declined 14 percent this year was up 27 cents at $15.36 at 4:29 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Kuriloff in New York at akuriloff@bloomberg.net

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