By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
The Players Media Group has officially announced its new creation: PlayersTV, a network designed to allow athletes free-reign in creating content regarding their sports lifestyle and cultural entertainment.
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, CJ McCollum and Vernon Davis are a few of the big-name investors supporting this new “Athletes in Demand” brand, which launches in March 2020 via Samsung TV Plus. Officially announced late last week, Players Media Group hosted a launch announcement party that featured a discussion panel featuring all the investors and leaders of the network during All-Star weekend in Chicago back on Valentine’s Day.
Collin Castellaw, co-founder of Players Media Group, discussed how Players Media Group got started and what inspired him to come up with the idea of PlayersTV.
“Our roots are in the YouTube and digital media ecosystem, and inside that ecosystem, we started to notice the wave of professional athletes becoming increasingly active in the content space,” Castellaw said.
“But a few major problems stuck out to us. First and foremost being the poor content monetization options. Secondly, we knew that fans were beginning to be fragmented in their viewership across far too many platforms. We wanted to set out and solve a problem both for athletes wanting to distribute and monetize their content, as well as for fans to have one centralized location to connect and discover the personalities and interested of world-class athletes.”
From an athletes’ perspective, there’s a belief in the impact PlayersTV will have on today’s generation of athletes. As host of the launch event, McCollum echoed his support for PlayersTV and his belief of this network becoming the new wave in the sports digital industry.
“I’m onboard with PlayersTV and I think it’s great,” McCollum told WARR Media. “I like the collective part of it to where all athletes from all sports all backgrounds all genders can contribute content and be able to share content with fans. I feel like it’s the next wave and hopefully it will continue to grow and expand and people will get more familiar with it.”
Davis, former standout NFL player and founder of Reel 85 Productions, recently retired from the NFL after finishing his 14 year career in Washington. Part of his plans with his post-NFL career is to help produce content within the new network. Davis discussed his love for producing and acting, and using that passion to help aid the platform PlayersTV is giving to athletes.
“I invested in PlayersTV because I love the content space,” Davis said. “I love producing, I love acting and just overall outing content together from A to B. It’s going to be a great platform for athletes to be able to monetize their content.”
Platforms that highlight athlete’s voices and non-playing aspects of their lives are becoming commonplace as The Players’ Tribune, UNINTERRUPTED and the “More Than An Athlete” movement have gained in stature and relevance, but PlayersTV targets a different demographic. Melo believes it to be a powerful tool for athletes to utilize their natural leverage within the media equation that fuels the 24/7 news cycle.
“PlayersTV is becoming a new option to address the challenges of distribution that many producers are facing today,” Anthony said. “The opportunity to leverage a platform that can be home for sports content by athletes, for athletes and about athletes becomes powerful.”
Anthony’s banana boat buddy, Chris “CP3” Paul, has his own production company — Oh Dipp!!! Productions — that will contribute to PlayersTV. At the network reveal, Paul added to Melo’s analysis on the potential power of PlayersTV, highlighting the concept of unity that this network brings between media and athletes.
“In sport, they focus on the competition between players,” Paul said. “That’s why PlayersTV is so exciting, it gives us the opportunity to come together and unite, as athletes and creators. It will be one hub where all of our content can live and then together, we can grow opportunities. This is just the beginning.”
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media