(BrandForward is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
During NBA All-Star Weekend, Players Media Group announced its plans to launch PlayersTV, a new network dedicated to sports lifestyle and culture entertainment. The goal: making it easier for fans to access the athlete content they desire, and easier for athletes to reach their fans and monetize their content. PlayersTV launches March 25, 2020 on Samsung TV Plus.
“Being part of the PlayersTV family is an exciting opportunity to work in collaboration with other athletes and create a space where we can tell the stories that matter to us,” said CJ McCollum, NBA Player and PlayersTV investor. “I am looking forward to all the great content that will be showcased on PlayersTV and the opportunities it will bring to future athlete storytellers looking for the best place to bring their own stories to life.”
The new channel is supported by elite professional athlete partners such as Carmelo Anthony, Vernon Davis, Garrett Temple, Anthony Tolliver, Chris Paul and McCollum – among others – who are all active in content creation and production.
“We created PlayersTV to give athletes access to a dedicated platform where they could showcase their other skill sets. I believe it’s just the beginning for the type of premium content that athletes want to produce, said Tolliver, NBA Player and PlayersTV investor. “Through PlayersTV, we can give all athletes the freedom to create and share their passions.”
PlayersTV looks to solve the biggest issues facing athletes and their content today: distribution. Players Media Group co-founders Collin Castellaw and Deron Guidrey saw the impact of the challenge firsthand through their previous venture, Pregame Media, where they worked with sports influencers to develop, monetize and scale their brands.
“In today’s world, the desire to not only connect directly with athletes, but also learn about their lives off the field of play, continues to grow exponentially. But it hasn’t always been easy getting great athlete content into the hands of fans,” said Guidrey. “Through PlayersTV, we’ve created a distribution ecosystem that brings fans and athletes together in one place.”
Garrett Temple believes PlayersTV can make a real impact when it comes to solving the distribution issue as well as how to monetize that content.
“The biggest issue facing athletes with their content is how to distribute it. We might have great content but don’t always have the opportunities to get that content in front of fans,” said Temple, NBA player, PlayersTV investor and founder of GBT Productions. “PlayersTV is going to solve the distribution problem for athletes.”
For Vernon Davis, he believes monetization of content has been an issue for athletes across sport.
“I’ve been in the content space for a while, so I’ve seen the need for better ways for athletes to monetize their content,” said Davis, NFL veteran, PlayersTV investor and founder of Reel 85 Production. “I believe PlayersTV can fill that real need and that’s why I wanted to get involved.”
For athletes like Chris Paul, they see PlayersTV as an opportunity to bring together athletes in support of each.
“In sport, they focus on the competition between players. That’s why PlayersTV is so exciting, it gives us the opportunity to come together and unite, as athletes and creators,” said Paul, NBA Player, PlayersTV investor and founder of Oh Dipp!!! Productions. “It will be one hub where all of our content can live and then together, we can grow opportunities. This is just the beginning.”
At the NBA All-Star PlayersTV launch event, Katelyn Ohashi also talked about the opportunities PlayersTV could provide to female athletes.
“Women only receive 4% of sports media coverage, so to have a platform like PlayersTV where we can come together as a community to push out great content and support one another is incredible,” said Ohashi, gymnast and founder of Behind the Madness.
Players Media Group has attracted a team of media industry experts with a combined 70+ years of digital, broadcast and streaming experience.
“We’ve assembled a world-class team of industry professionals who have proven track records of success in both linear and OTT channels,” said Castellaw. “With this executive team at the helm, and with the support from athletes, strategic partners and our advisory board, we believe we can make an immediate impact and help athletes to fully benefit from their content.”
Television industry veteran Nancy Pingitore will serve as CEO and is leading the launch of PlayersTV into the video viewing marketplace. Pingitore has 30 years of experience in cable television and broadcast, including senior positions at the Tennis Channel, Incanta, MOR Music TV and the ’92 Olympics ‘Triplecast’ PPV Coverage. In addition, the executive team will include veteran sports and entertainment attorney Matt Allinson, and Showtime and Disney programming alum Bruce Rider as Chief Content Officer.
PlayersTV will debut exclusively on Samsung TV Plus beginning March 25, 2020. Samsung is one of six distribution partners, with three additional distributors launching PlayersTV before Q3 2020.
Anthem Sports & Entertainment is providing advertising and sponsorship sales support for PlayersTV. Anthem, which acquired a majority interest of AXS TV in 2019 and became partners with remaining shareholders Mark Cuban and AEG, has also joined Players Media Group as a strategic partner and investor.
On the content side, PlayersTV already has deals in place with content partners such as CloseUp360, the multimedia platform that takes an immersive look into the lives of NBA players off the court.
“PlayersTV is becoming a new option to address the challenges of distribution that many producers are facing today,” said Carmelo Anthony, NBA All Star and Co-Founder of Creative 7. “The opportunity to leverage a platform that can be home for sports content by athletes, for athletes, and about athletes is powerful.”