Get The Memo: Issue 1
Acumen Media is a sports media platform connecting athletes with their fans. Through their platform, sports fans can gain raw, exclusive access to their favorite athletes, coaches & influencers. Conversely the platform gives sports professionals an outlet to tell their story, control the conversation, and monetize their unique content and personality however they want.
Their content base ranges from the NBA, to top Junior College Programs, Division I colleges, Miami Pro League, multiple sports agencies and plenty more. As more athletes are looking to control their narratives and communicate with their fans off the field, sports fans, ages 16–24, admit that they are 30% more likely to purchase sports content if it’s exclusive. Acumen Media not only allows pro athletes to connect with their fan base but allows amateur athletes (such as rising or junior college athletes) to profit off of their own image and likeness.
Camron Brown: A 2020 graduate of the University of Kentucky, Camron previously worked in marketing with the Baltimore Ravens and media relations with the University of Kentucky Men’s basketball and football teams. Brown has a certificate in entrepreneurship and has represented the University of Kentucky in numerous statewide competitions, winning outright, and directors’ choice. Brown also wrote a book about the changing of media consumption habits! “Technology, Sports, & Media in the 21st Century”
Jabari Ashe: Jabari has gained credibility operating his own personal training company and mentoring North Carolina youth. Jabari was attending ECU when he met Brown and had high enough conviction to leave school to create this business full time. Ashe is also a retail trader on the foreign exchange market, and coaches youth basketball.
The star-studded Advisory Board is nothing to sneeze at either. Their team of 8 experts range from ESPNNEWS hosts, to multiple time founders in the sports and TMT sectors. This company meets at the intersection of hungry founders and wise advisors.
Market, Model & Inflection Point
Acumen Media’s larger market is the fanbase of amateur athletes, overseas athletes & smaller market sports with large core fan base. The goal is to target athletes with loyal fans in smaller markets that can’t monetize their likeness as effectively. Larger players don’t see value, since they have major media attention and can transition to whichever platform they choose.
Acumen plans to partner with players and generate revenue by onboarding players’ fans to a subscription model at an average price point of $5-$7 per user, per month. They also plan to give athletes a channel to sell their merch on the Acumen platform, with a negotiable revenue sharing agreement. These tools are just the first in a future toolset for athletes that will include live streaming, tipping, personalized video requests, and more.
TAM: global sports media market size is $49.5B
SAM: domestics sports media market size is $22.77B
SOM: Acumen Media expect their SOM to be about $1.185B currently, but will grow in the next couple of years
So why is now the time for this technology? The NCAA Board of Governors announced in 2020 that “student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics”. COVID was another major inflection point for the digital connection between athletes and the fans. Without going to games, fans are connecting with athletes via social media platforms.
However, the model is not just successful in a COVID environment. Acumen Media is structured to grow through, and past the pandemic. Opening up, there will be limited numbers at the game, and fans will migrate to connect with players on cheaper platforms. Digital media allows fans to get an exclusive look at players that was only available at a very high price point in person and also complements and compounds on those in-person experiences by allowing the interactions to continue and carry through online.
· OnlyFans: OnlyFans is a $1.2B content subscription service. Content creators can earn money from users who subscribe to their content — the “fans”. It allows content creators to receive funding directly from their fans on a monthly basis as well as one-time tips and the pay-per-view feature
· Patreon: Patreon is a $1.2B American membership platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service. It helps creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers
Acumen has some athletes, such as Cole Anthony and Bam Adebayo, already onboarded to the platform. However, they have dozens more athletes ready to join the platform once Acumen has further developed the athlete toolset and reached their funding goals.
Acumen’s differentiator is their understanding of the market and their network of athletes. While competitors can create a platform similar, the most difficult task is finding a large number of popular athletes to commit to your platform and building tools purposefully for that audience. Acumen Media’s advisory board plays a major role in recruiting athletes to the platform.
How would you deploy capital if you would hit your next milestone?
· $175k on building out the platform
· $200k marketing
· $50k on equipment for personal content & travel expenses
· $75k salary to staff
What is the legacy you as Founders, and as Acumen Media want to leave?
Sports are majority ran by Caucasian owners, but many of the athletes are Black. This platform was built to put the power into the hands that change what it means to be an athlete. The vast majority of athletes don’t get the ability to express themselves, and amateur athletes don’t quite have the freedoms to capitalize on their efforts
Cam and Jabari want it to be the unicorn to inspire young black founders to get into the tech world, not be afraid to take changes, and be genuine.