Naomi Osaka started a media company with the help of LeBron James.

She is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion as the world’s highest paid female athlete, earning $ 57 million in 2021, mostly from sponsorship. Walmart recently began stockpiling products from its skin care company Kinlò at about 3,000 locations. Last month, it launched a sports agency.

And now Naomi Osaka is pushing Hollywood – with the help of LeBron James.

Ms. Osaka, 24, has partnered with Spring Hill to start a media company called Hana Coma, a fast-growing entertainment, marketing and products company that Mr. James has co-founded. Ms Osaka said in a brief interview with Zoom that her ambitions for Hana Coma, which means “flower bear” in Japanese, include scripted and unscripted television series, documentaries, mobile phones and branded content. , Which is entertainment programming in which advertisements are embedded or integrated. .

“I can’t honestly say if I’m personally involved in anything right now,” said Ms. Osaka. “What excites me is the ability to impress people and tell new stories, especially the ones I wanted to see as a child. I’ve always wanted to see someone like myself. Ms. Osaka is of Japanese and Haitian descent. Keep

Fans should hope that Ms. Osaka’s advocacy will at least strengthen some of Hana Coma’s proposals, most of which are still in development. Ms. Osaka speaks openly on topics that many elite sports stars try to avoid. She was an early supporter of the Black Lives Meter Movement. Last year, she launched a global debate on mental health in sports when she withdrew from the French Open, citing the need to prioritize her well-being. He also revealed his past struggles with depression and anxiety.

Ms. Osaka’s outspokenness resonates with audiences far beyond the sport – especially young people – who are dreaming of her sponsorship, even though she has recently struggled on the tennis court. (She lost in the first round of the French Open last month. She said in a social media post on Saturday that she would not play Wimbledon this summer due to Achilles’ injury.)

One development project involves cooking and the Haitian community. “I watch a lot of food shows, cooking competitions, because I love to cook,” Ms. Osaka said with a laugh. The first project, to Hanna Coma’s credit, will be an op-ed from the New York Times about Patsy Mink, the first color woman to be elected to Congress. Hannah Coma is also working on unspecified documentary material for Apex, a premium cable channel now owned by Amazon.

Founded by Maurek Carter in 2020, Spring Hill will serve as financing, operations and production partner for Hannah Coma. Springhill has about 200 employees and was worth $ 725 million last year when it sold minority shares to raise capital. Operations includes a marketing consultancy and media and apparel division dedicated to empowering players. Another unit focuses on film and television production. There is also an event team.

“Naomi can only plug in what we’ve made,” Mr Carter said.

SpringHill wants to imitate Hanna Coma Deal with other athletes who have a global appeal. “We want to do more in the future,” Mr Carter said, adding that talks with other sports stars had begun.

It’s important to ask: Isn’t this just a new feng shui deal? For decades, older studios have funded favorite stars to start affiliate companies, most of which have never had much money – plus to keep the star happy.

“Under the old system, sometimes they’re for the faint of heart,” Mr Carter said. “But the goal here is to make Hana Coma a real company and a real brand.” He added that Spring Hill’s emphasis on branded content sets it apart from older studios. Hana Kuma has been hired by FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange, to produce branded content.

Mr James said by telephone that Ms Osaka’s “grace and strength” inside and outside the courthouse made him a good match for Spring Hill, “which is there to empower athletic creators.”

Mr James said: “We do not value this position because we want to help Naomi in this matter, so that she can be empowered to do even greater things.”

Ms. Osaka has 12 sponsors, including Nike, Mastercard, Louis Vuitton and Panasonic. His longtime agent and business partner, Stuart Dougide, said some may be involved in the contents of the Hana Coma. Mr. Dougide is a co-founder of Hana Coma.

“We really want to bring that number down and have a deeper relationship with those who continue,” Mr Dougide said, referring to corporate sponsors. “We want to take big swings and start companies, invest in companies, things that could potentially have bigger consequences if you sign a McDonald’s contract and get paid year after year. What really moves the needle? “

Building a business portfolio – while still in the middle of her tennis career – makes Ms. Osaka an important part of the female players. At least, if he succeeds.

“We haven’t seen a single female athlete do what we’re trying to achieve,” Mr Dougide said. “Serena has done well with her venture business. But she is nearing the end of her career and, you know, we are in the middle.” He was referring to tennis legend Serena Williams, whose venture capital firm, Serena Ventures has raised an initial fund of $ 111 million to invest in founders with a diverse perspective.

Since she is still playing tennis, Ms. Osaka will not be attending many production meetings. “But everything is creative and everything is strategic. It will obviously have Naomi’s seal on it and its style and its input,” said Mr Dougide.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.