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UBS Agrees to Sponsorship and Content Deal With Athlete-Backed PlayersTV

Nathaniel S. Butler | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
  • Global investment bank UBS entered a multiyear, seven-figure partnership with Players Media Group.
  • The company runs PlayersTV, a channel that launched in 2020 with investors including NBA stars Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving.

Players Media Group has landed a top sponsor for its TV vertical that's backed by notable pro athletes.

The company agreed to a multiyear partnership with global investment bank UBS. The Swiss bank will provide input and co-create content for the channel. UBS will also have a presence across PlayersTV digital and streaming properties. 

The terms were not made available. It's a seven-figure agreement, according to a source familiar with deal who wasn't authorized to discuss terms publicly.

PlayersTV launched last year with the backing of various athlete investors, including National Basketball Association stars Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, and C.J. McCollum. Major League Baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. is also involved with the company.

The channel was created to help athletes gain distribution for personalized content and it shares advertising revenue with creators. PlayersTV is available on Samsung TVs, Dish Network's streaming service Sling TV, and other platforms like Roku.

The media group was $20 million last spring, CNBC reported. The company declined to provide an updated valuation.

A sign of Swiss banking giant UBS is seen at a branch in Zurich on October 26, 2018.
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images
A sign of Swiss banking giant UBS is seen at a branch in Zurich on October 26, 2018.

UBS and PlayersTV will collaborate to produce Long Game, an interview-style series that includes former National Football League lineman Adewale Ogunleye, who now heads UBS' sports and entertainment division. The parties also want to create financial literacy programs to show "budgeting basics and interest rates to taxes and income planning."

"We're excited to work with PlayersTV to create culturally-relevant content that will educate and empower viewers on the value of financial wellness through the eyes of their favorite athletes and heroes," Jason Chandler, head of UBS wealth management, said in a statement. "We believe in the power of learning through others' experiences and hard-earned life lessons and know that our content will be relatable, easily digestible and informative to help make a difference in viewers' lives."

Another show, which will launch in the fall, is a 10-episode series called Front Office that features Chris Paul. The behind-the-scenes show will feature athletes considering business ideas from fans.

"UBS and PlayersTV have shared values and are committed to creating athlete-led content to increase financial education and wellness, and empowering entrepreneurs and communities," said Christina Milano, PlayersTV vice president of sports media and entertainment.

UBS is bracing for more presence on the U.S. sports landscape this year. It's preparing for the opening of the New York Islanders arena after the company struck a $350 million naming rights deal last July. UBS Arena will open for the start of the 2021-22 National Hockey League season.

UBS reported $1.8 billion net income on Tuesday but said its 2021 first-quarter earnings were impacted by the scandal involving Archegos Capital. UBS stock closed up 2% on Wednesday.

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