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

Crews, aircraft responding to wildfire eight kilometres west of Cranbrook

Crews and air support are responding to a wildfire eight kilometres west… Continue reading

Local shares his story of life and death on the St. Mary’s River

Aric Keane hopes sharing his story will show that even with experience, the river can be dangerous

Health care priorities debated following surprise funding announcement

Surprise provincial funding stirs debate on local health care priorities during regional meeting

Centre 64 gallery reopens with Kaleidoscope exhibit

After a long shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Kimberley Arts… Continue reading

New fire start off Stirton Road, near Marysville

BC Wildfire Service is reporting a new fire start near Marysville, Sunday… Continue reading

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Most Read