LeBron James’ Site Lands $15.8 Million Investment From Time Warner

Dave McNary/Variety:

Warner Bros. Entertainment and Turner Sports have invested $15.8 million in NBA superstar LeBron James ‘ multimedia site, Uninterrupted.

Funds from the Time Warner companies will be used to expand the offerings on the year-old Uninterrupted platform, which specializes in offering athlete point-of-view content, it was announced Wednesday.

“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.”

The investment comes on the heels of NBA star Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement Sunday through another website for athletes, Players Tribute, which resulted in the site nearly crashing.

“Whether it’s through real-time videos, original digital series or documentaries, Uninterrupted provides that creative outlet for athletes to share their stories in a way they can’t anywhere else,” Uninterrupted CEO Maverick Carter said.

Uninterrupted, which is self-financed by Carter and James, launched a year ago on Turner Sports’ Bleacher Report site with a specialty in athletes offering point-of-view videos.

Craig Hunegs, president of business and strategy for Warner Bros. Television Group, said, “LeBron and Maverick bring incredible energy, focus and creativity to everything they do and are excellent partners with us in TV, film and digital. Joining forces with LeBron, other world-class athletes and Bleacher Report to aggressively build Uninterrupted was an easy decision that’s great for fans and great for Warner Bros.”

In addition to having an equity stake in the company, Turner Sports will now serve as the primary sales arm for Uninterrupted. Part of Wednesday’s announcement included a new multi-year deal with mobile platform go90 to provide content, original series and exclusive athlete point-of-view videos.

Besides Bleacher Rerport, Uninterrupted recently announced partnership with Facebook to host 360 videos including the five-episode original series “Striving for Greatness,” featuring behind-the-scenes footage of James prepping for his 13th season in the NBA.

The announcement also disclosed that Uninterrupted has hired Jamal Henderson, who previously led some of PepsiCo’s integrated marketing and brand development strategies, as president. Other hires include Yelp veteran Matthew Trunzo as the head of business development; Amber Mayo, former director of media and partnerships at Samsung Telecommunications America, as head of marketing; and NBA writer and former Staance product manager, Jimmy Spencer, as head of content.

James announced a deal in July through his SpringHill Entertainment to partner with Warner Bros. Entertainment in an agreement covering projects in TV, film and original digital content. That announcement came shortly after James made his feature film debut in Universal’s romantic comedy “Trainwreck,” portraying himself and evoking praise from critics for his comic timing opposite co-stars Amy Schumer and Bill Hader.

SpringHill is already involved with producing Disney XD’s inspirational series “Becoming,” Starz’s scripted comedy “Survivor’s Remorse” and an upcoming NBC gameshow.

The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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