Naomi Osaka Establishes a Media Company, With Support from LeBron James

She is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion who ranks the highest paid female athlete in the world, earning $ 57 million by 2021, mostly from sponsorship. Walmart recently began storing products from its skin care company, Kinlò, in nearly 3,000 locations. Last month, he launched a sports representation agency.

And now Naomi Osaka is entering Hollywood – with support from LeBron James.

Ms. Osaka, 24, has set up a media company called Hana Kuma in partnership with SpringHill, a fast-growing entertainment, marketing and product company founded in partnership with Mr. James. Bi. Osaka said in a short Zoom interview that his passion for Hana Kuma, which represents the “flower bear” in Japanese, includes television series, text and text, anime films and brands, which is an entertainment program that is embedded or linked. publicity. .

“I really can’t say if I personally will be in anything for now,” she said. Osaka said. “What makes me happy is being able to inspire people and tell new stories, especially the ones I would like to see as a child. I always wanted to see someone like me.” Ms. Osaka is of Japanese and Haitian origin.

Fans should expect Ms Osaka’s defense to emphasize at least some of the versions of Hana Kuma, many of which are still in progress. Ms. Osaka has been open about topics that many elite sports stars try to avoid. He was an early supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. Last year, he began an international debate on mental health in sports when he withdrew from the French Open, citing the need to prioritize his own well-being. He also exposed the past struggles with depression and anxiety.

Mrs. Hon. Osaka has touched a wider audience of sports – especially young people – and made him a dream sponsor even though he has recently struggled in the tennis court. (He lost in the first round of the French Open last month.

One development project involves catering to the Haitian community. “I watch a lot of food-related shows, cooking competitions, because I like to cook,” Ms Osaka said with a laugh. Hana Kuma’s first project will be the New York Times Op-Doc about Patsy Mink, the first woman of color to be elected to Congress. Hana Kuma is also working on an unspecified reality content for Epix, a paid cable channel that is now owned by Amazon.

SpringHill, co-founded by Maverick Carter in 2020, will serve as Hana Kuma’s sponsorship, operations and production partner. SpringHill has approximately 200 employees and was valued at $ 725 million at the time of selling minority shares to raise capital last year. The operation includes a marketing consultant and a media and clothing unit dedicated to the empowerment of athletes. Another unit focuses on film and television production. There is also a team of events.

“Naomi can only connect to what we have built,” Mr. Carter said.

SpringHill wants to emulate the program of Hana Kuma and other athletes who have international influence. “We want to do more in the future,” he said. Carter said, noting that discussions have begun with other sports stars.

It must be asked: Is this not just a new deal of vanity? For decades, old studios offered favored stars to start affiliated companies, many of which were relatively small – aside from making the star happy.

“Under the old system, sometimes those ended up being useless,” he said. Carter said. “But the goal here is to build Hana Kuma into a real company and a real brand.” SpringHill’s emphasis on branded content distinguishes it from older line studios, he added. Hana Kuma has been hired by FTX, an encrypted currency exchange, to provide branded content.

Bw. James said by telephone that the “grace and strength” of Mrs. Osaka in and out of court made him a great SpringHill match, “which is available to empower athletic designers.”

“We are not taking the opportunity to extend a helping hand, in this case to Naomi, to enable her to do even greater things,” Lord James said.

Ms Osaka has 12 sponsors, including Nike, Mastercard, Louis Vuitton and Panasonic. His longtime agent and business partner, Stuart Duguid, said others could be involved with Hana Kuma’s content. Bw. Duguid is the co-founder of Hana Kuma.

“We really want to bring that number down and have a deeper relationship with those who are developing,” he said. Duguid said, referring to the organisation’s sponsors. “We want to make big changes and start companies, invest in companies, things that can have bigger consequences than if you did McDonald’s plan and paid off year after year. What will move the needle?”

Creating a business cover – while still in the middle of her tennis career – makes Ms. Osaka a pioneer among female athletes. At least, if he succeeds.

“We haven’t seen any female athlete do something like what we’re trying to achieve,” he said. Duguid said. “Serena has done well with her joint venture. But she is nearing the end of her career and, you know, we are in the middle. for pioneers with different perspectives.

Because she still plays tennis, Ms. Osaka will not attend many preparation meetings. “But everything creative and everything strategic, obviously will have Naomi’s seal on her and her style and contribution,” Mr. Duguid said.

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