For years Lebron James his been touted as the GOAT when it comes to NBA players. While that is constantly up for debate, it’s his moves off the court that solidify King James on his throne.
Since he came into the league at the age of 18, Lebron has always been savvy on the business front. He even brought his childhood friends along to help him build an empire that the entire team could eat from. Everybody Eats B!
Let take a look at all the areas that King James’ business empire reaches:
Uninterrupted is a sports programming network with videos from the athlete’s perspective created by James and his business partner Maverick Carter. The multi-media platform creates original video content, documentaries, and podcasts.
LRMR Ventures (formerly LRMR Marketing & Branding) is the management company started by Lebron’s childhood friend and business partner Maverick Carter to manage all things Lebron.
James participated in the seed round for Los Angeles based pizza startup Blaze Pizza.
Blaze Pizza leads in the fast-casual artisan pizza category that uses an assembly line format to create pizzas at lightning fast speed.
Each Blaze Pizza restaurant makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe that requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce its signature light-as-air, crisp crust. Guests watch as each perfectly proofed dough ball is pressed into a generous 12-inch crust. Pizzas are made in front of the customer using an assembly line format and are ready in two minutes. Blaze Pizza’s menu also features signature salads, fresh lemonades, craft beer and wine and house-made S’more Pies, and also offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese.
Founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, SpringHill Entertainment creates compelling stories for television, features, and digital. Spring Hill incubates, develops, and produces work that speaks to a cross-cultural audience.
Spring Hill Entertainment’s biggest success to date has been the Starz dramady Survivor’s Remorse. The company has also developed the entrepreneurial show Cleveland Hustles on CNBC; Uninterrupted, which partners with Warner Brother’s and Turner on sports related content, and Lebron’s More Than A Game documentary among other projects.
In 2011 Lebron and LRMR partnered with Fenway Sports Group (through Fenway Sports Management) to handle his sports management duties. As part of that deal, Lebron acquired a minority stake in English Premier League club Liverpool FC, one of the world’s most famed soccer teams and a longtime marquee franchise in the English Premier League now owned by FSG.
Liverpool’s recent success in the Champion’s league has seen its value skyrocket in recent years. Sources say that Lebron’s 2% stake in the club has grown tremendously in value, from $6.5 million to approximately $32 million.
WePlay is a social networking site for youth athletes as well as a team management application for their parents and coaches. The youth athletes who use the service are able to set up their profiles with pictures, exchange communication with other friends on the network, upload videos of sports events, and play games.
Parents are able to view practice schedules, organize car pools with other parent users and exchange advice about equipment and other relevant interests. Coaches will be able to directly communicate with their players and parents, as well as learn about strategy and exchange game plans with other coaches.
WePlay was acquired by Team Snap in 2013
In 2015 Lebron inked a $1 Billion lifetime deal with the sneaker giant. This is the first deal of its kind for Nike with James raking in roughly $30 million per year for the rest of his life. We will probably see Lebron’s brand expanding across various sports, similar to what Nike has done with Jordan Brand.
In 2014, Apple acquired Beats By Dre for $3 Billion. Lebron and his savvy team worked equity into his endorsment deal, In fact Lebron can be credited as making Beats popular among athletes when he gifted the USA basketball team with a pair of the then new brand of headphones, which got major shine during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As a result of the sale, Lebron cashed more than $30 million in cash and stock.
Other notable endorsements include Sprite, Dunkin Donuts, Audemars Piget, and Upper Deck
The LeBron James Family Foundation’s mission is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives. We believe that an education and living an active, healthy lifestyle is pivotal to the development of children and young adults.
The biggest accomplishment from LJFF to date has been the opening of the I Promise School. Akron Public Schools have partnered to design a brand new school for the public school students in Akron who need it most. A culmination of years of on-the-ground work and research-based interventions through LeBron’s I PROMISE program, the proposed I PROMISE School will be more than a 1st – 8th grade academic institution. It will infuse APS’s rigorous curriculum with a STEM, hands-on, problem-based learning focus with LJFF’s ’We Are Family’ philosophy to create a complete wraparound for its students and their families.
Students and their parents will have access to a wide breadth of benefits, which James outlined recently in an instagram post:
In addition to the Elementary and Secondary schools, Lebron has partnered with the University of Akron on a wide range of initiatives. The University of Akron’s College of Education would be renamed the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education. Most importantly, they learned that in conjunction with the Foundation and its partners, The University of Akron would provide Foundation students (who meet a certain set of requirements and graduate from Akron Public Schools) with a tuition and fees scholarship to The University of Akron.
It’s safe to say that Lebron is the new archetype of what an Athlete/Role Model should be for his community. He has used his influence and resources to actively work toward breaking the cycle of poverty in the community that he grew up in. He has used his own money to send thousands of kids to college, and build institutions that his family name can stand on for generations to come.
What are your thoughts on Lebron’s business and philanthropic accomplishments? Did we miss anything? sound off in the comments.