Back in 2017, Usain Bolt turbo charged Nitro Athletics popularity - a track and field series featuring multi-day meetings between teams of athletes. The six teams that featured were New Zealand, Australia, England, China, Japan and the Bolt All-Stars (a mix of athletes from the Americas and Africa). It probably comes as little surprise to hear the sport’s leading star, Bolt, also led his team to victory.
However, more importantly Bolt may have left a blueprint for the future of sport – built around individual athletes over established team entities. That is certainly the belief of Richard Johnson, Head of Sport for The Social Chain Group. He highlights two recent examples in particular.
Firstly, SBX studios, a content studio and production house set up by Anthony Joshua. The company will create documentaries, broadcast programming and brand campaigns. Johnson explains, “The intention is clear, Joshua is aiming to control his media legacy and commercialisation of his story.”
Secondly, Nico Rosberg announced the foundation of Rosberg Extreme Racing, his team will participate in the new Extreme E Live racing series. “While he could have just invested in a team, the media landscape has changed so that individuals are holding much of the brand power” says Johnson.
There are tons of other examples, too. We’ve seen athletes such as Lebron James, Steph Curry & Kevin Durant all start their own media companies in recent years. We’ve also seen Lewis Hamilton and Michael Jordan invest in their own motorsport teams, in Extreme E and NASCAR, respectively.