Mars Reel, an online high school basketball broadcaster, announced last week that it signed a video co-production contract with Lebron James’ sports media website Uninterrupted.
The Hollywood-based company also announced that it raised $2.7 million from investors, including James, hip-hop musician Nasir “Nas” Bin Olu Dara Jones, Steve Stoute, Uninterrupted co-founder Maverick Carter, Bruce Tuchman and Robert Hisaoka.
Mars Reel, founded in 2010, delivers high school basketball programming formatted for millennials via short highlights on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat. The company has more than 225,000 followers on Instagram and 377,000 followers on Facebook. Its properties average more than 25 million views per month.
Uninterrupted was founded in 2015 by James and his long-time business partner Carter to cover the behind-the-scenes world of professional sports.
Mars Reel raised $1.7 million in convertible notes from investors including Mountain View venture capital fund 500 Startups, prior to its recent funding round, according the firm. That funding was later converted into equity and rolled into its latest round. The company was co-founded by twin brothers Brandon Deyo, chief executive, and Bradley Deyo, chief operating officer. Mars Reel has spent the last 18 months working out of Uninterrupted’s offices, Brandon said.
In the future, the company aims to expand beyond basketball.
“The grand vision has always been a sports network focused on high school sports,” said Brandon Deyo.
The Old Turk
Retried CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather is getting back into the game.
The 86-year-old veteran reporter and anchor announced that he would host a weekly news program for the Young Turks Network, which produces a collection of left-leaning political talk shows that stream on YouTube. His 30-minute show is called “The News with Dan Rather” and will air Mondays at 5:30 p.m. EDT on YouTube. It premiered on Jan. 22.
Rather will broadcast the program from behind his desk in his office instead of within a studio, the company said in a press release. The show will focus on original reporting, stories Rather considers “underreported” by other news outlets and analysis of the news of the day.
Culver City-based Young Turks claims that it generates more than 200 million views a month across its various channels. The media company raised $20 million round last August in a round led by growth equity firm 3L Capital with participation from Greycroft Partners, E.ventures and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo.
Rather launched a political news and commentary media company last year called News and Guts, a response to the election of President Donald Trump. Its Facebook page has gathered 1.4 million followers.
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