Hasbro announced Nerf Ball. Nerf Ball is Hasbro’s next big sport. The announcement happened yesterday with not a lot of fan fair. There isn’t a lot of information about what Nerf Ball will be. All we really know is that Hasbro came up with a “new sport” and is going to have a tournament in 2023.
They said it was their first official sport. That is not true. The first sport that Nerf came up with was Dart Tag. Dart Tag was a variant on capture the flag. Nerf had their own electronic flag. The goal was to get it into the other team’s zone. If a player was tagged (hit with a dart), they would have to drop the electronic flag and go back to the respawn point. At the peak of the sport, there was a national tournament. The tournament was even on ESPN.
The first problem with Dart Tag was that everything had to be bought from Nerf. No other company made the Velcro ammo or compatible blasters. Due legal reasons no other company could get in on Dart Tag unless Hasbro wanted them too. Not having any competition was bad for the sport. In addition to that they put age restrictions on their sport. Their primary focus was junior high aged kids. I think these two factors really limited the sports ability to grow. Most sports separate age groups. This is the only sport I know of that limited the entire sport to one age group.
Limiting Dart Tag was the worst thing they could do. After poor sales, they decided to end Dart Tag. Dart Tag as a national tournament was only around for three years. This was a first glimpse at what Nerf could be. Eventually, this would be the inspiration for things like the Pro Foam Tour.
I have a feeling that Nerf Ball will share a lot of similarities with Dart Tag. It seems to be a response to the Pro Foam Tour getting a sponsorship from Dart Zone. I have no idea what the gameplay will be like. I can guarantee that Hasbro will limited the sport in the same ways they did Dart Tag. I guarantee people will have to buy Nerf products to play the sport. I can guarantee they won’t let anyone use non-Nerf products in their tournament. I can almost guarantee they will not have multiple age groups for their tournament. I don’t see this going well for the community as a whole. Whatever Hasbro does will be what the public view of foam blasting as a sport. I don’t see Nerf Ball lasting very long. Most of the Nerf product lines lately haven’t last more than a couple years. Hasbro is going to limit the potential of Nerf Ball right out of the gate. The tournament at this point seems not to exist to help Nerf become a legitimate sport but to promote a new product line.
Nerf as a sport is something I have thought about a lot. Ever since I first saw as a kid that there was Nerf tournaments. To me it was so cool. As an adult, I have wondered what a Nerf league would look like. I think it is one of those sports that could draw five to ten thousand people a game if given a real chance. The game I have come up for a pro nerf sport is similar to Dart Tag. Each team has a goal. There is a mini soccer or volley ball that both teams are trying to put in the other team’s net. There would be two twenty minute halves like in NCAA basketball. It would be 3 on 3 and played on an area similar size to a basketball court. Teams could play indoors or outdoors. It would be structured like NCAA basketball with regional conferences and a national tournament. I think that would be a good foundation for a long-term league. I have actually tested and played this game before. I would love to turn it into a legit league. I may even do more posts about it.