Mamba Sports Academy develops athletes to the peak of their potential with the help of diverse experts and a a full-circle approach including body, performance and mind training. The organization operates physical training academies, a sports focused venture lab, and a charitable foundation, called the Mama Sports Foundation.
At July’s Front Office Sports Brand Marketing Huddle, Mamba Sports Academy CMO Tzvi Twersky sat down with Ian Thomas to discuss the organization’s goals, his personal professional history, building relationships with brand partners, and more.
Edited highlights appear below:
On the organization differentiating itself from other fitness organizations (5:37)
Twersky: “We got Kobe Bryant, so if we’re trying to come back to the kid who loves sports, you already have that pinnacle guy. I’d say the second thing is we’re really involved with muses and so what we do is we have a lot of pro athletes who work out with us, NFL guys train for the draft with us, NBA guys train for the draft with us, and then guys come in the off season. We have innumerable guys there right now and we don’t have a separate VIP section. They work out hand in hand with the young kids. They workout hand in hand with everyone who comes into our facility and though we make sure there’s no fan boying or fan girling, but we let everyone work out next to their muse so that they can see what they’re doing isn’t different than what I’m doing. “
On how his background as a journalist helps be a good marketer (7:26)
Twersky: “Working my way from intern all the way to second in command and at a small company like SLAM Magazine, probably like a Front Office Sports, you wear many hats. I was an editor, I was a writer, but I was also on the publishing side helping bring in deals. What I like to say is my next step, the way that helped me is I wear so many hats.”
“I went to Stance Socks thereafter. And at the time it was really just a surf and skate company and they decided that they wanted to get into sports…What they did was they created verticals where basketball has a category director and baseball has a category director. And I ended up being the category director for both. They each had their own vertical. And the most important thing was everyone in the building had the skillset of how to build product…We’re launching a category, what’s the first thing we want to do? We want to land with a splash, we want to make a bang, we want to get the name out there. So having come from the journalism side, having been in media rooms with so many people that are gonna help get the message out for free, it was the best.”
On the organization’s evaluation process for brand partners (31:42)
Twersky: “For us, honestly there’s a major element of less is more…People are excited to see [Kobe] because he makes himself scarce and we’re kind of in the same scarcity model. We want to limit and be very strategic with our partnerships. The second you start taking every check that comes your way, you’re partnering with every brand that comes your way. You might as well not partner with any brands because it all gets lost in the chaos and the fog. So I would rather pick three, four or five strategic partners, tell full stories with them, invest a lot of money and a lot of time with them and now we’re going to do something special.”
On building on the reputation of Kobe Bryant (41:54)
Twersky: “When you think of Kobe, you think basketball. When you would think of the old sports academy, you would think of basketball. The biggest thing for us is Kobe is obviously the number one muse, right? People hear [Kobe’s name] and it just lights people up. For us, now we’re instilling that second layer and that second level across all sports where we have, if not ambassadors, then muses in all of those spaces where you can look up to him and associate him with us, but also associate him with greatness. Then the goal is to connect those two. We’ve been lucky where players want to work with us, whether that’s because of Kobe, because of our amazing trainers, because of our amazing staff, we’ve been able to put people in across those multiple sports to where this past year we had 20 draft picks in the NFL that worked out with us. We had multiple [NBA] first round picks working out with us pre-draft to the point where it’s bigger than basketball, like they say.”