WSE’s Focus on Inclusive Programming Leads with Gen-Z and Millennials
WSE Partners with the WNBA for Original Series Celebrating the League, Debuts “The Collaborative” Creator Program, and Details HBCU Homecoming Plans
LOS ANGELES, May 04, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wave Sports + Entertainment (WSE), one of the fastest-growing sports and entertainment companies with more than 110 million followers globally, is introducing its programming strategy and creator initiatives at this year’s IAB NewFronts. During a virtual presentation on Thursday, May 5, 1:05 PM ET, WSE will highlight its talent–led, original content slate from flagship brands BUCKETS, FTBL, GYM HEROES, HAYMAKERS, and JUKES. This comes hot off the heels of the company’s momentous announcement last week that it has partnered with the WNBA for the creation of multiple series celebrating the league that will debut throughout the 2022 season.
The company’s NewFronts presentation will showcase its award-winning programming hosted by fresh, diverse voices in sports that have made the company a leader in the Gen-Z and millennial demographic, which comprises 85% of WSE’s audience. The presentation spotlights WSE’s fierce commitment to creating inclusive content and bolstering reach among underrepresented audiences. Currently, WSE is home to one of the most diverse groups of followers in the industry with 26% Black followers and 24% LatinX followers, according to a recent Nielsen Sports study.
WSE has built one of the broadest and most diverse media portfolios in sports and entertainment, with the company boasting nearly three times as many followers as Overtime and Whistle on Instagram & Facebook, according to a recent Comscore study. The study also revealed that 77% of WSE’s audience doesn’t follow ESPN and 64% don’t follow Overtime on Instagram & Facebook.
The company distributes original shows and UGC content across its more than 30 media brands and franchises, which are focused on the big five sports leagues, as well as the broader world of sports, including non-traditional sports, international categories, new and emerging sports, and more.
“Our media brands bridge the gap between legacy and digital sports media with a mobile-first approach,” said Brian Verne, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, WSE. “WSE eschews the ‘one size fits all’ approach of linear networks, opting instead to appeal to the dozens of unique sports fandoms and subcultures where communities are formed and fans engaged with on a daily basis.”
In the past year, WSE has debuted more than 40 original shows and talent-led coverage of major tentpole sporting events like the Super Bowl, WNBA Draft, NFL Draft, Bellator 266, UEFA Champions League, and English Premier League matches. WSE produces shows through the lens of today’s modern sports fans for the digital formats they crave, a formula that has resulted in the company’s media brands raking up an impressive six billion video views monthly.
The company’s diverse content roster yields one of the most dynamic audiences in the sports and entertainment industries. Dubbed “companion viewers,” WSE audiences prefer connecting with content on their mobile devices while simultaneously watching live sports events in IRL or via linear networks. A recent study conducted internally found that 71% of the WSE audience interacts with a second screen during a game or match. Furthermore, this figure is higher among WSE basketball and soccer fans, with 8 out of 10 fans engaging with screens during a game, and 49% of WSE basketball fans checking a screen 5 times or more during a game.
“Companion viewing is changing how brands connect with their customers,” said Geoff Reed, Senior Vice President, Revenue, WSE. “If brands are only showing up on linear broadcasts during major sports moments, they are missing out on a big chunk of audience attention. Our sponsorship and content opportunities are built to capture the attention of the modern-day sports fans, who shift from linear to social to mobile apps and back again seamlessly.”
The company has fostered this viewing behavior by hosting live streams adjacent to major moments in sports through the “live shows format” that offers superfans a fun and engaging way to deepen their connection with talent and the larger community. This format also allows WSE to offer fans an opportunity to share thoughts and engage with other fans in real-time as the action happens during live games, matches, or fights.
WSE offers brand integrations, sponsored content, and cross-platform ads directly to advertisers and agencies. Through a recent partnership with Sinclair Sports Group, owners of Bally Sports, Tennis Channel, and Stadium, agencies and brands can also now access the assets of both company’s portfolios of ad inventory in a single campaign.
WSE’s Flagship Slate
The following shows will be featured in WSE’s NewFronts presentation and are among the most engaging in the company’s slate:
“Outta Pocket” with Josiah Johnson, LaJethro Jenkins, and Zach Schwartz: NBA Twitter’s finest giving their take on what’s happening in and around the league.
“The BUCKETS Five” with Jordan Ligons: The first series to debut under WSE’s new partnership with WNBA this May, “The BUCKETS Five,” is a fast-paced and informative weekly show that explores the hot topics and unique culture of the WNBA in 5’s, an homage to the five players of a starting lineup.
“Cecil in the Wild”: Football, or soccer to Americans, is all about the fans, so what better way to get a true football voice than asking the people on the street? This show offers fans the opportunity to share their voice and get a chance to win prizes.
JUKES with Lucy Rohden: As WSE’s resident football expert and entertainer, Lucy has built an audience around her comedy-infused gridiron analysis that permeates throughout the JUKES brand. No matter what happens on the field, fans can count on Lucy to create content FOR fans, WITH fans, while also MAKING FUN OF fans.
“GYM HEROES Pocket Personal Trainer”: Fans gain access to top trainers from their pocket with this series that takes working out to the next level. In addition to serving up workout tutorials from top-in-class personal trainers, GYM HEROES features stories about inspiring fitness transformations, motivational stories, exciting fitness challenges, and more.
WSE Unveils “The Collaborative” Creator Program
To bolster its commitment to diversity in digital storytelling, WSE has launched “The Collaborative,” an initiative focused on empowering the next wave of Black creators, entrepreneurs, and change agents from across the sports and entertainment industries. “The Collaborative” is planning BUCKETS’ and JUKES’ presence at HBCU Homecoming, which includes brand partnership opportunities that will be unveiled at NewFronts. The 2022 inaugural class includes the following:
Tylynn Burns, founder of the experiential agency House Party Creative and leading talent on Issa Rae’s docuseries, “Sweet Life: Los Angeles.”
Dimplez Ijeoma, a Nigerian-American music executive and current SVP of Digital & Content at Capitol Music Group.
Charles Kuykendoll, founder and host of RNBHouseParty, a traveling party series bringing the nostalgia of R&B music to young urban professionals.
François Nicolas, aka Frenchy, a 3x NBA All-Star host and founder of Feel Good Philanthropy curates a variety of fitness and networking events throughout LA to raise awareness for his native home of Haiti, and Voices of the League Network that gives back to local sports communities by developing emerging emcees and entertainers.
New Brand Opportunities to Reach Sports Fans
The company will also be sharing commercialization opportunities connected to new content partner collaborations, including the following:
WSE X WNBA: The company is also amping up its coverage of women’s sports, having tipped off the NewFronts season by announcing a content partnership with the WNBA. The companies will create social-first, short-form programming highlighting the best moments from the league’s past and present seasons. Original series under the partnership will include “The 26,” an exciting and original look at the top 26 players from the WNBA from the POV of current and former WNBA players that celebrates the league’s 26-year history, and “The BUCKETS Five” is a quick and digestible weekly show that explores the hot topics and unique culture of women’s basketball in 5’s, an homage to the five starting players. The companies will look to launch additional series as the season progresses into the Playoffs and Finals.
WSE x The Volume: BUCKETS, WSE’s flagship basketball brand, is expanding its reach into Audio through a partnership with Colin Cowherd’s The Volume podcast network. The brands have teamed on crossover coverage to bring fans comprehensive coverage throughout the NBA playoffs, with coverage taking place on Twitter Spaces during halftime of games and live reaction shows following games on the BUCKETS YouTube Channel. The shows are produced as podcasts available on The Volume, with show clips distributed across both Buckets and Volume social channels.
GYM HEROES Mini: The first social fitness experience on Snapchat, the GYM HEROES Mini offers three, 30-minute original workouts daily curated by fitness experts. Unlike many workout apps that concentrate solely on the individual using the app, the GYM HEROES Mini is designed for Snapchatters to challenge their friends and collaborate in groups toward their workout goals. GYM HEROES Mini encourages Snapchatters to build a daily habit around fitness with their friends while allowing them to track their fitness progress.
To request a viewing link to WSE’s 2022 NewFronts presentation or to explore brand partnership opportunities, please email [email protected]
About Wave Sports + Entertainment
Founded in 2017, Wave Sports + Entertainment is a world-class sports and entertainment company serving modern-day fans via content, products, and experiences. We obsess over sports, from the mainstream to more, bringing superfans the coverage, culture, commentary, and community they crave. With over 110 million highly-engaged global followers and a reach of over 500 million sports fans monthly, we’ve tapped into something incredibly powerful in record time.
Digital platforms love us. We are a top sports partner to Snap, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We’ve earned bragging rights by creating some of the most popular sports media brands available on digital platforms today, including BUCKETS, FTBL, GYM HEROES, HAYMAKERS, and JUKES. No matter the sport, we’ve got fans covered with highlights, memes, takes, commentary, analysis, off-field culture, and stories on the players and movements that are shaping the world of sports.
To see our media brands in action, please go to www.wave.tv.
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