SBD/February 17, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

LeBron James' Influence, Power Translates From Basketball To Other Entertainment

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James founded SpringHill and produced its first show, "Survivor's Remorse"
Cavaliers F LeBron James is "without debate, the most powerful athlete in entertainment today," according to Pablo Torre of ESPN THE MAGAZINE. James founded SpringHill Entertainment and produced its first show "Survivor's Remorse," and has been involved in NBC primetime game show "The Wall" and "Space Jam 2," which is still in the early stages. He also had a hand in the feature-length documentary about Muhammad Ali coming for HBO and a comedy in "development for New Line Cinema about a guy who pretends to be an NBA draft pick." NBC President of Alternative & Reality Programming Paul Telegdy said James will have "one of the most exciting careers to be a part of for the next two decades." Torre notes James is a "globally recognizable brand that attracts eyeballs," as he has "more than 60 million followers between Twitter and Instagram." James can "create viral marketing." Comedian and director Neal Brennan, who has worked with James on commercials, said, "LeBron is a bridge to black programming. The impetus for picking up a show may start off stupid, even embarrassing: LeBron's a guy executives just want to meet. But then white people get access to a smart black dude who has them spend time around other smart black people." Torre notes while it is true that SpringHill has "consistently leveraged the magnetic pull" of James, LRMR Management Founder Maverick Carter, James' business manager, does "not want to be known only for merchandising his friend's image." While James "helps sell the shows, he isn't all over them."

STAR OF THE SHOW? James was "lauded by critics" for his performance as himself in the movie "Trainwreck," but the movie "wasn't James' film." Carter said, "He's not even on the poster." Additionally, as much as James "overdelivered, his character was, yes, himself." James has "committed to sitting down each offseason in L.A. ... and reviewing offers for his next movie role," and the offers "are coming." James was asked if at some point he "might want to be what every blockbuster-starved producer is truly craving" -- a superhero --a role that can be the "most lucrative in modern entertainment." James: "I love comedy, but I've always wanted to be a superhero" (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 2/27 issue).
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