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ESPN in New Game

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LOs Angeles—Always on the lookout for popular sporting activities, ESPN this week begins promoting a version of an age-old college game that requires players to bounce quarters into a shot glass and drink until they fall down.

The game is a cleaned-up version of "quarters," and its sponsor is Bud Light. The brewer hopes participants will be competing in bars around the country.

Players bounce quarter-sized tokens off a miniature table-top basketball court that has shot-glass-sized nets. Instead of downing drinks after each basket, they will compete for prizes, including a trip to Atlanta for the finals of the NCAA men's basketball tournament this spring. The contest will be held in 64 U.S. cities.

Two 15-second commercials and one 30-second spot promoting the Bud Light/ESPN Quarter Bouncers Tournament were created by Los Angeles shop The Ballpark Advertising Agency. They are slated to run on ESPN until mid-March, with ESPN sportscaster Trey Wingo as tournament host.

One spot has Wingo trying to work in his ESPN cubicle while a co-worker practices his quarter shots. As one sails into his coffee, Wingo gets upset but then begins to coach the co-worker.

Sean Hanrahan, ESPN vp of sponsorship management and promotions, said the aim is to promote the network's "Big Monday" slate of regular-season college basketball games. The Ballpark was hired, he said, because of the success of its past projects for the network.

"They understand the sensibility of the ESPN brand," Hanrahan said. "We take sports seriously but not ourselves."