LeBron James Banks $16 Million For Startup From Warner Bros., Turner

Warner Bros. Entertainment and Turner Sports have solidified their relationship with LeBron James with a $15.8 million investment in his Uninterrupted multimedia network. The project, launched earlier this year on Bleacher Report, offers athletes a platform to deliver short “point-of-view” videos directly to their fans. Today on the channel, for example, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski delivers an update on his own knee injury.

The Turner-owned Bleacher Report will still have a “preferred content relationship” with Uninterrupted, plus, in addition to taking an equity stake, will serve as the brand’s primary sales arm.

“Uninterrupted has been a perfect fit with Bleacher Report’s mission to provide compelling, mobile and social-first content that drives engagement with sports fans in an authentic way, and we look forward to further growing the reach of this popular multimedia platform,” said Turner Sports president Lenny Daniels in a statement.

The move follows Warner Bros.’ production partnership with James’ SpringHill Entertainment this summer. SpringHill projects include Disney XD’s series “Becoming,” the Starz’ scripted comedy “Survivor’s Remorse” and a primetime gameshow for NBC.

Heretofore self-financed by the Cleveland Cavaliers forward and his business partner Maverick Carter, Uninterrupted will use the new financing to develop exclusive content, advance the brand, expand to additional platforms and further engage potential partners.

For example, the company has inked a new multi-year deal with the mobile-first platform go90 to provide content, original series and exclusive athlete point-of-view videos. That pact follows a partnership with Facebook to host 360-degree videos including the five-episode “Striving for Greatness” about James’ preparation for his 13th NBCA season.

“The best thing about Uninterrupted is there are so many creative opportunities for athletes to tell their stories,” James said. “I’m excited to be partnering with important, innovative companies like Warner Brothers and Turner to keep building Uninterrupted as a place for athletes to go to connect with fans and share their stories in a different way.”

Uninterrupted isn’t the only athlete-centric platform on the market. Kobe Bryant turned to Derek Jeter’s newly launched Players’ Tribune to announce his retirement on Sunday and nearly crashed the site.

Source: Los Angeles Business Journal, Annlee Ellingson
Photo: LeBron James launched Uninterrupted earlier this year to offer athletes a platform to deliver short “point-of-view” videos directly to their fans. (Keith Allison | cc-licensed https://flic.kr/p/pS5En8)