The Boardroom, a new series from ESPN and Thirty Five Ventures, the company owned by NBA star Kevin Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman, debuted yesterday, February 11, with two episodes on ESPN+, the premium direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) group and ESPN.
Designed for business insiders and sports fans alike, The Boardroom examines the ins and outs of the business of sports through candid conversations with athletes, tech moguls, and sports executives, to uncover the critical factors driving innovation, change and leadership in sports and sports culture.
The six-episode series is hosted by ESPN’s Jay Williams and features Durant and Kleiman, who also serve as the show’s executive producers. ESPN Insider analyst Jordan Schultz serves as a correspondent throughout the series.
Each episode of The Boardroom focuses on one major topic or theme in sports, ranging from the burgeoning sneaker industry to team ownership, to athlete brand-building, player development and the business of social media. Each episode will bring viewers a closer look through conversations with some of the most interesting and high profile names in business and sports who are shaping the sports business landscape.
The Boardroom – Episode 1: Sneakers
Episode One gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the business of sneakers from an athlete’s perspective. From signing a rookie “merch deal” to developing a signature shoe line and marketing a global brand, how is the sneaker game played. Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tuckerand Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma share their perspectives with Williams, Durant and Kleiman. Also, The Boardroom takes a look at the intersection of sports and culture at Stashed, the progressive sneaker boutique in San Francisco created by entrepreneur Steve Stoute.
The Boardroom – Episode 2: Team Ownership
What does it really mean to own a sports team and what does the job actually entail? Williams and Kleiman lead a discussion with Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Josh Kroenke, owner of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, and Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts. The group breaks down everything from the purchase process, to the day-to-day aspects of the job, to the future of team ownership and venues. Shultz also speaks with Peter Guber, the co-owner of Warriors, Dodgers and LAFC.
“I’m excited for sports fans to watch the first two episodes of The Boardroom starting today on ESPN+,” said Durant. “It’s really important for us to be able to bring fans inside the business world and give them perspectives they haven’t been able to see before, and I hope viewers will love it.”
“The Boardroom seeks to capture the new way in which professional athletes interact with the business of sports, entrepreneurship, the investment community and our culture more widely,” said Connor Schell, ESPN Executive Vice President, Content. “Kevin and Rich are part of the group changing the game in that regard, and The Boardroom represents the kind of original programs we’re bringing to ESPN+ as we work with the biggest names in sports to tell new kinds of stories.”
“Kevin and I are looking to tell compelling stories with every project we create and The Boardroom exemplifies that,” added Kleiman. “As the business of sports has changed, fans want and expect more access to what goes on off the court, and it’s important to us to show them the way that athletes and executives are really talking about the industry and give a better look at what goes on behind the scenes.”
Episodes 3 (Social Media) and 4 (Player Development) will debut March 15 on ESPN+, with Episodes 5 and 6 (Athletes and their Brands, part I and II) debuting April 3.
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