Franchise: The Power of Going Beyond the Jersey

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The year-old publication has garnered respect from some of the biggest names in basketball.

A look at the cover of the magazine’s third issue. (Photo via @thisisfranchise)

Founded in 2016, Franchise has brought a new style utilizing the culture of photography to enhance the way we look at sports journalism. In just one year, basketball stars such as Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade have shown love for the product.

While the magazine is described as a publication highlighting basketball culture, it covers everything from the industry of music to fashion and art, all with a focus on high-quality photography.

One of the keys behind the quick success of the publication is, Victoria Jacobi, Part Owner and Content Curator.

At just 24, Jacobi continues to make inroads from what was not a typical journey to the world of sports. In college, she was taking psychology, but through the use of her social media on the side, she was noticed by the founder of Franchise, Justin Montag. As Victoria puts it, “The rest is history.”

With a unique platform such as Franchise, Jacobi, based in New York City, has had the opportunity to collaborate with people of influence across many fields. Over this past summer, she had the opportunity to access Lifetime Athletic at Sky, the place where Carmelo Anthony aka ‘Hoodie Melo,’ and his trainer, Chris Brickley, became a phenomenon.

Via Instagram @CountonVic

Franchise has garnered an immense amount of respect from NBA players, who view Jacobi as more of a friend, rather than a traditional journalist.

By digging into the passions these players have off the court rather than asking them about their on the court performance, they can express themselves to her like it’s a normal conversation with a friend and not expect to read about their quotes being taken out of context the next day in the paper or online.

“These guys really don’t want to talk about what they always talk about. Especially guys that have played in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami and the bigger cities. They are so involved in fashion and art. For instance Melo has a crazy art collection and you guys see what Russell Westbrook is wearing,” said Jacobi.

Athletes have a voice and a perspective on aspects outside the sports world, and it allows for them to relate with a whole new culture that may not care what that players box score was the night before. With that comfort and trust Jacobi has provided for these athletes, it makes Franchise the spot for these stories to be published.

“Athletes have never done stuff like that before, now they are venturing into other things outside of the game, so they want to talk about that, and want to see it featured in an appropriate way and I think that is what Franchise does.”

Jacobi realizes that athletes’ continue to journey into the fashion world with their pregame outfits heading into the arena, and now fashion week.

“We had the event at the Sky Art Gallery and Shump [Iman Shumpert] came through wearing some wild outfit, which was dope. D’Angelo Russell attended, obviously Brandon Jennings. It’s really nice to see how much they appreciate fashion and fashion week.”

Via Instagram @ColorBlind

The fashion culture has continued to adapt to having athletes and influencers in their products.

“I think it is because now they have more of a platform to do it. Allen Iverson was probably the one guy known for his street style and his commitment to style. So, they really did not have the platform to show it,” she said. “Now you see Russell Westbrook doing Calvin Klein… and they have good relationships with people in the fashion industry, photographers, models, fashion editors. It is fun to see NBA players sitting next to Anna Wintour during fashion week. It’s just a vibe.”

With influencers like that contributing off the floor, it allows for Franchise to use their platform to share a storyline that many journalists in the business cannot cover. It is unique that in just one year Franchise can be this adapted in the inner circles of sports culture, fashion, photography and music.

“It is like a coffee table book, it’s timeless and you can have it always. Sometimes, magazines will talk about what happened this month or the summer. This is more of a publication that you can always have and ten years from now it’s still going to be relevant and people will still like the content and appreciate it.”

Interested in learning more about Victoria? Check out my interview with her on my podcast:

I want to thank Victoria and Franchise for the inside look in all that is happening in this quarterly magazine, follow them on social media and check out the website.

Victoria, Franchise ,

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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