LeBron James is set to expand his media empire.
The Los Angeles Lakers forward and longtime business partner Maverick Carter have secured $100 million in funding to consolidate their trio of media companies into a single conglomerate, whose goal is to produce content for underserved Black creators and consumers.
Dubbed SpringHill Co., the entity received backing from investors that include financial services firm Guggenheim Partners LLC, News Corp. media executive Elisabeth Murdoch, the University of California’s UC Investments and entrepreneur Jason Stein’s SC.Holdings. (The funding, which was announced today, closed in March, prior to the coronavirus pandemic’s sweep across the United States.)
“When we talk about storytelling, we want to be able to hit home, to hit a lot of homes where they feel like they can be a part of that story,” James said in an interview with Bloomberg. “And they feel like, ‘Oh, you know what? I can relate to that.'”
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On his Twitter account, the NBA star wrote that he was “incredibly proud” of the announcement. He added that, in his team of more than 100 employees, about 64% are people of color and 40% are women.
Sports experts had speculated that James’ move to Los Angeles was not just to play basketball for the Lakers, but also related to his desire to build a media corporation. Along with Carter, he owns marketing agency The Robot Co. and digital media company Uninterrupted LLC — which is behind NBC’s “The Wall” game show and the forthcoming “Space Jam” sequel, as well as helped produce HBO’s “The Shop.”
It’s not the only venture by James that has recently captured widespread attention: Early this week, luxury fashion brand Coach announced that it had entered into a partnership with the basketball star’s More Than A Vote organization aimed at combating voter suppression in the Black community. Launched this month, the nonprofit is focused not only on protecting voting rights, but also on improving public safety and expanding education opportunities for young Black and Latinx individuals.
“To my brothers and sisters in sports and arts,” he wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday, “we have incredible influence in our community. We need to use this moment to demand change… The easiest way to keep us from changing anything is to keep us from voting.”