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Kevin Durant may be bringing a sports renaissance to YouTube

Jan. 31, 2018
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YouTube is the assorted chocolate box of video content: you can scour the site for all sorts of entertainment, news, tutorials, inspiration, and information. No matter your interest—music, fashion, makeup, memes—there is a community for it on the site.

YouTube does organize content to help highlight popular channels: some channels will be identified by YouTube’s official check marks, whereas others are in direct collaboration with the platform. YouTube covers a wide variety of content, allowing communities to grow larger in reach and closer in connection. So it goes without saying that YouTube’s latest collaboration with a popular professional athlete is bound to enhance sports culture on the website.

Golden State Warriors small forward Kevin Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman are developing original sports content to present on YouTube. Durant and Kleiman are using their co-owned creative development company, Thirty Five Media, to handle the visual development of the project. Apparently, Durant took the idea of a YouTube channel more serious after meeting Neal Mohan—the Chief Product Officer of YouTube—at his 28th birthday party, which was hosted by Ben Horowitz.

 Durant has been expressing his excitement for the collaboration by assuring fans that he has been very hands-on in the process: “I will have an active role both in my channel and in working with other athletes… I’ve seen what resonates with fans and I know how to achieve that while focusing on my job as an athlete first and foremost, and I’m excited to help others be able to do the same thing.”

 Durant is helping other athletes establish their own shows and content on YouTube. For example, fellow Warriors player JaVale McGee features in Parking Lot Chronicles, a recurring series on Durant’s channel in which McGee has his own impromptu chat with players and fans post-game. New channels are in the works for McGee, fellow Warriors player Nick Young, and others. Durant’s support has also extended beyond hands-on involvement: he recently retweeted the intro video from Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns’ YouTube channel.

Durant is very busy involving himself in various activities and ventures. The basketball player even has an investment company for supporting start-ups, such as delivery company Postmates, investment app Acorns, and sports news site The Player’s Tribune. Durant has interest in owning an NBA franchise after his career as a player. Despite all this, though, Durant’s enthusiasm for YouTube remains in full force. Durant's channel has been gaining more and more viewership since its launch in April of 2017: it has more than 21 million views to date and over 590,000 subscribers. When Durant talks about his YouTube channel, his enthusiasm is apparent: “I’ve had an incredible experience on YouTube engaging with fans all around the world and sharing different parts of my life. 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.”

When asked about the driving force for the new projects, Kleiman said, “We started Thirty Five Media after seeing the potential for Kevin to connect with his fans on YouTube. Once we started seeing traction, a strategic partnership like this was the obvious next step for us. The possibilities here go far beyond traditional social media interaction and there’s a huge opportunity for branded content and better one-to-one fan engagement for athletes on YouTube.” 

There are people who have blogs dedicated to sports discussions, but this new content could add another dimension to sports culture. The new programming is aimed at showing the athletes as themselves. On top of using his platform to build other platforms, Durant is using his platforms to create connections with the platforms of others. Who knows what awesome content will come from this new collaboration?