PlayersTV has attracted over 50 sports-star investors to its athlete-driven “sports lifestyle” platform. They include the NBA’s Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Damian Lillard, Deandre Jordan, and Carmelo Anthony. The NFL’s Travis Kelce and Vernon Davis. The WNBA’s Natasha Cloud and Angel McCoughtry. And National Pro Fastpitch softball player AJ Andrews, who in 2016 became the first woman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Now Dallas-based PlayersTV is inviting a radically new set of players to its investor table: Fans.
Today the sports lifestyle destination—whose content can be viewed 24/7 on Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Vizio, Sling TV, Philo, and other platforms—launched a Fan Ownership Initiative to enable fans to become “shareholders, owners, and investors” in PlayersTV Digital.
Seeking a ‘symbiotic relationship’ between sports stars and fans
Aiming to transform fans from passive viewers into active participants and stakeholders, PlayersTV seeks to create a “symbiotic relationship between sports stars and their unwavering supporters.”
PlayersTV Founder Deron Guidrey said the move “marks an exciting milestone as we open the doors for fans to become proud owners in PlayersTV, our very own athlete-owned media company.”
“This journey has always been about bringing athletes and fans closer together,” Guidrey added in a statement, “and now, by becoming owners, our fans are not just spectators, but integral players in shaping the future and redefining athlete media.”
Co-founder Collin Castellaw called the fan ownership offering “more than a business move,” portraying it in a statement as “a movement that celebrates the unity of athletes and fans. We’re breaking down barriers and creating an ecosystem where everyone’s passion is reflected in every aspect of PlayersTV.”
Three years of growing distribution
Since it launched in March 2020 on Samsung TV Plus, PlayersTV has been steadily growing its distribution.
In 2021, it added Rakuten TV, YouTube TV, Philo, and Local Now as distribution partners and extended its reach to more than 280 million households.
PlayersTV also signed a distribution agreement with ReachTV in 2020 that put its content on airport TV screens across the country. In 2022, PlayersTV landed an additional “seven-figure” investment from ReachTV that could potentially land the streamer on more than 2,500 airport screens and in 1 million hotel rooms, according to Deadline.
“This is about Black-run media companies building a bigger table, recognizing the intrinsic value they bring one another, and forgoing competition for collaboration and growth,” Lynnwood Bibbens, ReachTV’s founder and CEO, said in a statement at the time.
Online pitch deck aims to turn fans into investors
PlayersTV created an online pitch deck of sorts that invites fans “to disrupt sports media backed by 50+ pro athletes and pioneer a fan-owned revolution.” The offering notes that many athletes own their own production companies, but “have previously lacked a potent distribution network to optimally leverage their intellectual property and content.”
“By building an unprecedented 360-degree digital distribution ecosystem paired with unparalleled talent,” PlayersTV writes, “we have revolutionized sports media monetization, and also finally helped sports fans connect with the athletes they love through a more authentic platform.”
The online offering, posted on the Issuance Express platform, notes that “PlayersTV Digital was established as a new entity in August 2023 by the same founding team who built PlayersTV from the ground up.”
“Through a direct licensing agreement with PlayersTV, PlayersTV Digital has exclusive access to the content library, production resources, and talent roster of PlayersTV as a dedicated platform for distribution,” the offering states. “This relationship empowers PlayersTV Digital with an outsized network of athletes and momentum in the media industry in return for an equity stake, making PlayersTV a 49% owner in PlayersTV Digital.”
So will fans get off their sofas and into the world of streaming media ownership? Only time will tell—but the ball’s in their court.
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