BigHoops brings social basketball entertainment to Atlanta

Big Hoops CEO Paul Brown shoots the basketball during a round of the game Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. Brown created the immersive basketball-themed experience in 2022 and plans to open locations in Atlanta in the coming years. (Natrice Miller/

Big Hoops CEO Paul Brown shoots the basketball during a round of the game Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. Brown created the immersive basketball-themed experience in 2022 and plans to open locations in Atlanta in the coming years. (Natrice Miller/

Imagine Topgolf, but it’s basketball indoors; gather with your buddies, enjoy food and beverage, and laugh — or marvel — at each other’s attempts to be Steph Curry.

That’s what BigHoops will offer. The tech-enabled basketball startup, founded by Atlanta-based brothers Paul and Dan Brown, will open its first standalone location later this year. Paul, a Georgia Tech graduate, and Dan, a Georgia State product, are Augusta natives with expertise in coding and finance.

BigHoops is their magnum opus. The company describes itself as “the world’s first tech-infused basketball game that allows for social competition between all skill levels up to 10 players,” per its website. The standalone location will be an entertainment restaurant.

“If you combine the proper amount of technology with one of the most popular sports, you can get everyone playing,” co-founder and CEO Paul Brown told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

BigHoops will feature multiple bays capable of hosting groups in immersive competition. Each bay will offer multiple game options and variable customization. The hoops’ location can be adjusted depending on preference and/or skill level. New or lesser talented individuals might prefer closer distance while those seeking a challenge would want the hoop farther back. The goal can go as far as 20 feet back.

Its angle can be adjusted (forward, right 45 degrees and left 45 degrees). Two hoop sizes are available (big and small). The height can be adjusted from regulation height (10 feet) to eight feet. The bay also has custom backgrounds to give a lively background to your game. The interactive projector covers the back and sides surrounding the goal, providing evolving scenery of places such as cities and tropical destinations.

Customers will sign up, sign a waiver and create an account one time. The account will track your stats based on your phone number and provide information such as a workout summary, improvement data, badges based on performance, experience points as well as a level-up system geared toward keeping customers engaged.

There are five difficulty levels, and the AI will adjust, depending on how the player is faring, a component the Browns stressed was instrumental. Their hope is to appeal to all audiences, from the everyday players to those simply willing to participate and see how it goes.

“We wanted to make it where it’d interest a serious baller, but then the idea is that their mom — who takes them to every practice — or somebody with a lesser skill level, a co-worker or friend, can really go and play alongside,” Paul said. “That was the genesis for the skill-level differentiation.

(Left to right) Big Hoops CEO and Founder Paul Brown poses for a photo with his brother and Chief Technology Officer Dan Brown at their headquarters Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. Paul Brown created the immersive basketball-themed experience in 2022 and plans to open locations in Atlanta in the coming years. (Natrice Miller/

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“It’s a very popular sport, but people only play in their driveway or at the YMCA if they’re more serious. There’s a huge gap of possible social players who enjoy basketball in the middle there. We felt they were underserved and didn’t have a social outlet to go play. Then we thought people who like basketball should be able to bring friends and family, then everyone should have something to do. So that’s where the skill adjustment came in.”

As for the dining, BigHoops has been working with a local restaurant group to refine the menu aimed at “crafty and interesting takes on your standard bar food,” Paul said. “Cool sauces and different takes on it. Making it affordable but having some cool spins on it so the food is just as impressive as the gameplay.”

So why basketball? They considered other sports, but in a contained environment, with its emphasis on individualism, basketball was the clear choice. Sports such as football, baseball and hockey are maximum velocity sports; throwing faster, hitting harder is encouraged. They’re also mostly team sports. This was deemed more user friendly regardless of skill.

Some Atlantans might’ve already experienced BigHoops. Its prototype spent eight months at the now-closed Second Self Beer Company, where the Browns gathered intel and saw how customers reacted. They wanted to learn how inclined consumers would be to prebook bays and create events around them. It helped them verify dimensions for the project, test the skill-adjustment AI and make hardware refinements.

“We made sure we’d have a robust unit going in front of customers,” Dan said. “We took surveys with people, trying to see what they’d want in a standalone location and if they’d come to a standalone location. What price points would you participate in? The gambit of, ‘Hey, we’re a startup, what do you want out of us to ensure we’re doing data-driven moves with our strategy to make sure we’re serving our community.’

“Quite frankly, it validated a lot of our assumptions already. And we learned a lot. It was very valuable and it was great. It was awesome to see people get excited about something we’ve been passionate about for so long.”

A smaller BigHoops location (of seven or eight bays) could come earlier in 2024 while a larger location (around 15 to 17 bays) might open toward the end of the year. BigHoops has raised seven figures and is welcoming additional partners as it continues growing. Inquiries can be sent to

“Long term, we hope to bring social basketball entertainment to the nation and the world,” Paul said. “We’re committed to starting here in Atlanta, because this is our home base, and refine our operations and hope to spread throughout the U.S. in the next five years.”