Lebron James: 4 Billion Eyeballs Shows The Power of Athlete Investors

I finally found a stat that proves a lot of what I talk about…

LeBron James’ investment in Major League Pickleball drew over 4 billion eyeballs to the league – according to MLP founder, Steve Kuhn.

I have absolutely no clue how they determined that number, but nonetheless, it’s insane.

4 billion.

That’s 50% of the globe (8 billion people currently inhabit the Earth).

Visualization of the largest populated countries by continent
Visualization of the largest populated countries by continent

But my friends — that right there is the power of athlete investors.

Let’s Dive In 👇

Athletes Bring Eyeballs To Pickleball

LeBron James is a billionaire — and with that comes a strong team to vet potential investment opportunities.

Which is why…

His investment in pickleball made people pay attention.

According to MLP founder Steve Kuhn, Lebron James’ pickleball investment drew 4 billion eyeballs.

lebron james pickleball team

But there were several other notable athlete investors in pickleball:

  • Tom Brady
  • Jeremy Lin
  • Kevin Love
  • Drew Brees
  • Kevin Durant
  • Devin Booker
  • Naomi Osaka
  • Michael Phelps
  • Draymond Green
  • Patrick Mahomes
  • Odell Beckham Jr.

And all of those stories…

Amounted to Major League Pickleball hitting 11 billion eyeballs, according to a TMZ statement from Kuhn.

Do you know how much money in marketing that would cost?!

$733,333,333 based on a $15 CPM for Facebook ads.

Even wilder….

Not only did the MLP get those eyeballs “for free”, but the athletes actually paid money to be involved. Insane.

Speaking of garnering attention….

Athletes Investing in Eyeballs

Not only do companies and leagues understand the power of athletes investing in them.

Athletes themselves, understand the power of eyeballs.

Which is why…

We’ve recently seen an array of athletes investing in “creator economy” companies.

Take a look at this:

Last week, Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures invested in the $10M seed round of the digital creator business Goldenset Collective.

kevin durant creator economy

Goldenset is an incubator for digital creators — providing them with the funding and structural support to convert followers into sustainable businesses.

Simply put, Goldenset:

  • makes investments in creators
  • gives them the tools to succeed

It’s only a matter of time before some athletes are a part of Goldenset’s team.

And all of it makes sense:

Athletes have an interest in the creator space due to their intimate understanding of what it takes to transform an individual into a brand.

Athletes get…

They are the product, they are the asset.

Going Forward

Creators are not merely “influencers” to be rented like billboards by other companies and brands, but are founders of high-growth start-ups with Fortune 500 potential.

Athletes will be many of these creators.

NIL athlete influencer campaign


98% of athletes don’t go pro, so NIL is an opportunity for them to make money and build a personal brand that can be turned into a business later on.

Venture capital investors sank $2.5 billion into global creator economy startups in 2022.

There are even VC firms that have the primary focus on investing in the creator economy and influencer platforms.

Athletes are now involved in the creator economy in many different ways:

  1. As creators themselves
  2. As investors in creator platforms

The business landscape will look significantly different in 5 years.

Athletes + NIL + Creator Economy = 🚀

Athlete VC

The Weekend Fund released their list of 50 emerging venture capital firms (nominated by their LPs and the founders they’ve backed).

And we had an athlete on it…

Omri Casspi, the first Israeli player in the NBA — alongside his partner David Citron, a seasoned VC in Israel.


The duo runs Sheva VC, a technology investment firm backing Israeli tech founders.

It’s cool to see athletes making big moves in the venture and business world.


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