The New Newspaper in Sports

Agree with him or not, Elon Musk is showing the power of a personal brand + the new media model set to take the world by storm.

Everything is moving towards a direct-to-consumer economy.

Here’s a great example:

I don’t want to hear what ESPN has to say about the Golden State Warriors.

I want to hear directly from Draymond Green after the game (which is exactly what he did with his podcast).

the draymond green show

The new newspaper is here…

Let’s Dive In 👇

Media In Sports

We’ve seen time and time again that the narrative is whatever the news says it is.

But athletes are sick of letting others tell their narrative.

Hence the rise of athlete-centered media:

  • Uninterrupted – Lebron James’ show
  • Pat McAfee Show – sports talk show
  • Boardroom – Kevin Durant’s media outlet
  • Together – media outlet for female athletes
  • I Am Athlete – former NFL players podcast
  • The Player’s Tribune – athlete stories
  • Hana Kuma – Naomi Osaka’s media

We see it all the time…

A journalist puts out a report — and the athlete immediately tweets about it being false.

Social Media has turned all of us into reporters (for better or worst) — and self-reporting is key.

newspaper ad revenue graph
  • As the older generation slips away, podcasts are the new radio shows.
  • As TV slips away, short-form videos are the new SportsCenter.

Last week Kevin O’Leary (Shark Tank) got exposed on Twitter because he took $15M from FTX, the fraudulent crypto company.

Personal accountability is at an all-time.

If it was his brand that took the $15M — he could make an excuse or blame it on some junior employee.

But it’s much harder for personal brands and individuals to make an excuse. It’s ALL on you.

That’s the risk (and also where the upside lies).

What Companies Should Think About?

Most people don’t care about hearing from your company…

They want to hear from you!

I think more entrepreneurs showcasing knowledge around their field of expertise is inevitable.

Companies should embrace this. Founders HAVE to embrace this.

When you say Tesla, you immediately think of Elon Musk. The same can be said about SpaceX and NeuraLink.

elon musk sports

When people say “all companies are now partially media companies” — this is what they mean.

It can be achieved through blogs, social media, or a podcast.

There’s a reason sports betting companies like FanDuel and DraftKings are investing billions into their own media entities.

It’s about using internal media to bring down the cost of acquisition (CAC) — rather than using external marketing tactics like advertisements and influencers.


This is also why we’ll see lower-tier athletes attach themselves to the brand of superstar athletes (more on this in a future piece).

Society of Generalists

We’re entering a time period of generalists — jack of all trades, master of none.

For example, look at the star athletes.

Naomi Osaka isn’t just a tennis player. She has her own:

  • investment firm
  • agency
  • production company
  • media brand

That’s an entrepreneur, being an athlete is just one piece of the pie.

Bringing that to the tech landscape…

Last week, I had Jason Syversen on the podcast. He’s currently the CEO of Sportsvisio, a managing partner of 10VC, a board member of several companies, runs a charitable foundation, and even ran for political office.

He talked about the influx of generalists and people doing many things. With the world at our fingertips — that’s the future.

Add in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and you’re able to remove a lot of the mundane tasks and entry-level jobs.

Artificial Intelligence in Sports

Keeping talented employees, clients, and partners is going to be a challenge going forward — it’s ALL about managing their time and letting them explore their other passions.

Social media has everyone being an entrepreneur.

The successful will be those who can focus on the long term and not chase shiny objects in the short term.

My philosophy is a do a few things really well at first, and later on, you can do it all.

Athletes Are A “Brand”

Athletes are an intricate business operation themselves.

Seriously, think about…

Do you know how few businesses will ever reach $75M/year?

Lebron James does that (and much more every year).

Think of the team around him as employees…it’s a complex and lucrative business operation.

And just like businesses might add new verticals or products — athletes add to their operations as well.

This is why Lebron now has his own production company, investment arm, podcast, tequila brand, and much more.

Their just new verticals. Lebron is the brand, business, and company.

As player salaries go up — I think we’ll see fewer endorsement deals and more in-house companies for athletes.

lebron james springhill production

It may be more work (and risk), but Lebron having his own nutrition drink and shoes would have more upside than deals with Nike and Gatorade.

Star athletes will skip the cringy endorsements and start selling directly to their fans. Larger salaries make this possible.

This is exactly why I think the agency model is shifting (at least for major athletes).

Instead of having an agent that takes 20% on endorsement deals, they’ll have a business partner who evaluates all opportunities from sponsorships, to starting companies, investing, etc.

Relationships are the name of the game — athletes, entrepreneurs, brands, investors, me, you….we all need them to move things forward.

Looking Forward

Everyone is their own mini-reporting engine.

This is magnified for athletes, but just as true for all entrepreneurs, investors, employees, etc.

The gatekeepers in media are being transformed:

PR, reporting, and journalism are going to come MORE from individuals compared to organizations in the near future.

We want to hear from Elon Musk — not Twitter, Tesla, or SpaceX.

We want to hear from Lebron James — not ESPN, the Lakers, Nike, or any of his other affiliations.

Fun times are ahead 🥂

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