Agency Will Be Tasked With Building Out NBA All-Star's Digital and Social Presence
By Rupal Parekh
He's got nearly 10 million Facebook fans and over four million Twitter followers, but Miami Heat star LeBron James wants to get more social.
The NBA player has turned to adland, asking digital shop SapientNitro to build out his website and boost his ability to engage with fans over social-media channels.
"I'm blessed with the best fans on the planet and love engaging with them directly," Mr. James said in a statement. "Every day, new technologies come out that allow me to take that fan connection to another level. In SapientNitro, I found a partner that has the brand thinking, creative ideas, digital expertise and global delivery scale to support my expanding ambitions."
It's definitely a watershed for SapientNitro: A spokesman confirmed that it's the agency's first sports star or celebrity client.
SapientNitro -- a result of the merger of tech-consulting firm Sapient with digital creative agency Nitro a few years ago -- has recently done work for such clients as Target, Chrysler and Hyatt. But in the past few months, the shop picked-up a string of sports marketing related contracts, including work for Chip Ganassi Racing, ESPN X Games, Nascar, and WWE (the agency just relaunched its site in conjunction with Wrestlemania).
"This expertise helped us to win the [LeBron James] business," said the spokesman.
As part of a contract with LRMR, Mr. James' management agent--and the Cleveland-based brand consulting firm in which he's a partner--SapientNitro will handle a range of work for brand LeBron. That includes brand strategy, communications planning, website design and social-media integration. It's a one-year contact with an extension option.
One of the agency's first tasks will be unveiling a relaunch of lebronjames.com, which houses behind-the-scenes video, information on active living and a "Young Ballers" section that features hard-working athletes making a name for themselves in youth sports.
"LeBron was one of the first sports stars to understand the power of digital and social media to create two-way dialogue with his fans," said Bill Kanarick, Sapient's chief marketing officer, in a statement. "We look forward to working with LeBron and his team to further build community and fan engagement in innovative ways."