It used to be that pro sports stars had to wait for press conferences or interviews to have their say, but new social media platforms like LeBron James’ Uninterrupted have changed that. Now, even off the court or field, professional athletes double as entertainment figures. As such, it’s fitting that Warner Bros. and Turner Sports have invested $15.8 million in James’ platform, as reported by THR. The funds are expected to bring more content, focused on big names in sports, to mobile, web, and social media platforms, and even to TV and film.
James originally financed the platform with his manager, Maverick Carter, with the goal of creating a forum where athletes could share thoughts and opinions “uninterrupted.” The duo teamed up with Turner’s Bleacher Report to launch a hub for short point-of-view videos from athletes. Through the videos, sports stars speak directly to fans — no media middleman needed.
“It’s giving athletes an opportunity to have a platform where they can speak about any issue,” James said to THR. “They don’t have to wait to be in front of a camera.”
On December 1, for example, New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski used Uninterrupted to give fans an update on an injury he’d sustained during the team’s game two days before. Typically, the injury report is made available to the public and the media, and then reporters have to dig for more information.
In addition to King James himself and Gronkowski, a variety of athletes have been featured on Uninterrupted. The list ranges from fighter Ronda Rousey to tennis star Serena Williams. The sports icons often talk about their careers, but they also provide glimpses into their personal lives.
The new investment won’t just focus on first-person videos. According to THR, projects in development include a documentary series about the best quarterbacks in high school football, an animated comedy about Gronkowski, and more. Carter and James plan to market it to fans in strategic ways. “We’re going to take the content where it can be consumed the best,” said Carter.
The deal expands James’ presence in the entertainment industry, which was already noteworthy. Along with appearing in Amy Schumer’s summer hit Trainwreck, he and Carter have a partnership with Warner Bros. through their banner SpringHill Entertainment.