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Vice has tapped some of the biggest athletes in professional sports to help expand its sports coverage.
The media company announced Tuesday that it has launched a new video destination called The Clubhouse with New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony as a founding partner.
Vice has been operating a sports-focused digital channel since June of last year with content centered around fandom, historic moments and life outside the stadium. The Clubhouse will expand on this coverage through a slate of video series hosted by well-known athletes including Anthony and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The new channel is launching with Stay Melo, a series created and hosted by Anthony that will follow him as he explores people and activities that interest him. In one episode, he travels to Cuba to explore the rise of soccer in a country known its baseball obsession.
“If you look at the world of sports coverage and video, one thing you almost never see is athletes doing the actual storytelling — so for us, this was a no-brainer,” said Vice Sports publisher Will Kiersky. “The Clubhouse will be a platform where fans can connect more closely with some of the biggest stars in sports. Melo and Gronk are fantastic athletes to start this project off with, and we’re excited to keep expanding our roster.”
Programming from The Clubhouse will roll out across Vice Sports various digital platforms, including Snapchat and YouTube. Fantasy sports company DraftKings has signed on as a presenting sponsor. The two companies share 21st Century Fox as an investor. The media corporation acquired 5 percent of Vice in 2013 and recently invested in DraftKings through its Fox Sports division.
The Clubhouse is part of a growing trend of athletes taking ownership over their portrayal in the media. Last year, Derek Jeter launched The Players’ Tribune as a source for first-person essays, video interviews and podcasts from top athletes. In a July interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jeter called TPT “a trusted place, a place where [athletes] can speak freely and not have to worry about how their words are twisted and turned.” So far, the website has published a number of features written by athletes, including a retirement announcement from basketball player Steve Nash.
For his part, Anthony said Vice was his first-choice when it came to partnering on The Clubhouse. “I’ve been a fan of Vice for a long time,” he said. “Their ability to find incredible stories and tell them in the most captivating way is inspiring. When I first had the idea to create The Clubhouse, Vice was my first choice of partner to tell the stories that interest, form and drive the greatest and most engaging athletes.”
Vice expects to announce additional athlete partners in the coming months.
Watch the first episode here:
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