YouTube Teams With Kevin Durant to Add Athlete Channels, Sports Programming
Kevin Durant already has a big following for the YouTube channel he launched last year, and now the NBA superstar is helping the online video service land other famous athletes.
YouTube is partnering with Thirty Five Media, the creative development company Durant founded with his manager Rich Kleiman, to help other high-profile athletes launch their own dedicated YouTube channels, the company’s announced on Wednesday. Thirty Five Media will also be a development partner for YouTube, which will include creating sports programming such as a new digital series being developed by Durant and actor-director Michael Rapaport (Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest) that will stream on the basketball star’s own YouTube channel.
Durant’s YouTube channel launched in April 2017, featuring live-streaming video as well as a regular web series, Still KD, that follows the star when he’s off the court. In less than a year, Durant’s channel has picked up nearly 590,000 subscribers and over 21 million video views. Now, Durant is looking to help other star athletes build and curate their own video presences on YouTube through Thirty Five Media. NFL star Richard Sherman, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, already debuted his own YouTube channel last fall. The companies said NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns will also launch his own dedicated channel, as will Durant’s Golden State Warriors teammates, JaVale McGee and Nick Young.
“I’ve had an incredible experience on YouTube engaging with fans all around the world and sharing different parts of my life,” Durant said in a statement. “It was natural for me to want to show other athletes what they can achieve on YouTube and to ensure my Thirty Five Media team and I can be a resource for those athletes.”
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Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, added in his own statement that he’s “excited” to work with Durant and Kleiman in helping other star athletes replicate Durant’s online video success on YouTube. The Google-owned online video site is looking to attract more athletes and sports-focused programming. YouTube already partners with professional sports leagues like the MLB, NBA, and NFL, whose dedicated channels boast millions of followers, so it makes sense for the service to bolster that programming with additional content from the athletes themselves.
In addition to founding Thirty Five Media with Kleiman, Durant also has an investment company through which he’s put money into startups such as delivery startup Postmates, the fintech app Acorns, and sports news site The Player’s Tribune. Durant even said recently that he’s interested in owning an NBA franchise after he’s done playing.