LeBron James joins Drake in Canadian sports media deal

Rapper and Lakers forward join forces to bring Uninterrupted platform to Canada

LeBron James, left, and Drake at the premiere of the STARZ original series “Survivor’s Remorse” on Sept. 23, 2014 in Los Angeles. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Sayles - Invision

Drake and LeBron James are joining forces to reshape the sports media landscape in Canada.

The music superstar and the Los Angeles Lakers forward announced on Tuesday a partnership to bring Uninterrupted, a digital platform for athletes, to Canada. Drake is a part owner and promoter for the platform which James began in 2015, while Scott Moore serves as chief executive officer and Vinay Virmani works as chief content officer.

Moore, who resigned as network president of Sportsnet in October, says Uninterrupted Canada will not be competing with his former employers, TSN, or any other traditional media outlets.

“I think it’s complementary, but it’s also a bit of a disruptor,” said Moore on Tuesday. “In trying to describe it to people it’s not a TV channel, it’s not a website, it’s not a Twitter feed. It’s a brand, it’s a content ecosystem that can appear anywhere.

“It might appear in a podcast, it might appear on Instagram, it might appear on YouTube, it might appear on a television channel. But it’s the content ecosystem and the brand itself that drives the content.”

Uninterrupted Canada will focus on the interests of athletes outside their field of play. When the Drake-James partnership was announced it was also confirmed that Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka would have a fashion-based property on the platform and that Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman — who was traded to New York by the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday — will have a motivational series.

Although it has clear ties to the NBA, Moore believes that many NHLers will also be interested in working with the company.

“Hockey players are dying to show their personalities,” said Moore. “I’ve seen this change over the last four or five years where hockey players have started to become their own brands, to let their personalities come through. You’ve seen it in Toronto with guys like Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews, in Vancouver with Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson.

RELATED: ‘Break from Drake’ – Milwaukee radio station bans rapper’s music during Raptors-Bucks series

“Many professional athletes, regardless of their sport, want to build their brands. Want to have an opportunity to speak quote uninterrupted. That’s the beauty of this platform. It gives them the voice to do it.”

Drake will contribute his musical talents to some major projects, either creating original songs, as a producer, or as a consultant. But he and James’s primary contributions will be their impressive network of personal and professional connections.

“Obviously, it’s a gigantic advantage. The doors that open when you have two partners like that, the people that want to be involved with the platform when you’ve got two partners like that, the possibilities are endless,” said Moore. “In Canada, where there is no other brand like this, we’ve got a little bit of green field for a bit. I’m sure there will be others.

“You’ve got the biggest musician in the world and, arguably, the biggest professional athlete in the world, it makes for a strong brand, that’s for sure.”

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton photographer publishes book showcasing resilience of Okanagan people

Okanagan Strong showcases the bravery of many during crisis; from COVID-19, to floods, and fires

Summerland steam train to begin operations

Reduced schedule, physical distancing planned for Kettle Valley Steam Railway beginning July 18

Summerland to hold meeting on solar project

Event on July 13 at 1 p.m. open to comments from the public

LETTER: Land for Summerland’s solar project site was designated for growth

Site represents close to 20 per cent of land marked for future growth

South Okanagan RCMP member speaks out against criticism

Police have been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read