…as in Omni Consumer Products. (See the “RoboCop” mention below.) And, yeah, this WePlay.com thing could be a cash cow for Derek too. Should we start calling him “Captain Digital” instead of “Captain Clutch”?
Via the Herald Tribune:
Late last year, Pamela Firestone, the mother of Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs point guard, went rooting through her home in Paris and dug up a VHS tape of a 9-year-old Tony on a Parisian basketball court with his two brothers.
“O.K., let’s start,” the future N.B.A. star says in French. “It’s going to be the Chicago Bulls versus the San Antonio Spurs.”
In most families such artifacts are merely heirlooms, their value measured in memories. For the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency and the hedge fund Pequot Capital, these are assets to be exploited.
Photos and videos showing blue-chip athletes like Mr. Parker, LeBron James, Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning will be part of a new venture that C.A.A. and Pequot along with the Internet arm of Major League Baseball are expected to announce today.
The venture, WePlay.com, a social networking site for youth sports — something like Facebook for young athletes — is expected to start in mid-April. The site caters to youth athletes, parents and coaches — a vast audience. About 52 million children a year participate in organized sports leagues, according to the National Council of Youth Sports.
Young athletes will be able to set up a profile, post pictures, communicate with friends and share videos of games. Parents will be able to get practice schedules, coordinate car pools and find out which equipment to purchase. Coaches will be able to communicate with their players and parents, as well as learn about strategy and other skills.
Other athletes involved in WePlay.com have been looking for their own relics of early stardom. In a spare bedroom at her home in New Orleans, Olivia Manning collected relics from her son Peyton’s days as a child quarterback to be copied and digitized by an employee from Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
Mr. James’s mother rustled up old photos and videos of her son from a storage area in her garage. And in New Jersey, Mr. Jeter’s mother found a video of her son playing Little League — a treasure whose value was diminished 10 minutes into the film because someone in the Jeter family taped over it with the movie “RoboCop.”
So for players like Mr. Jeter, who will make about $20 million this year playing shortstop for the Yankees, being a hired promotional gun is not enough. Mr. Jeter, who in addition to receiving equity in WePlay in exchange for his involvement also invested some of his own money (he will not say how much), began filming clips for the site in mid-December. Having equity, Mr. Jeter said in a telephone interview, is “very important, because you can really feel good about something if you help build it.”
The focus of the business also fits with Mr. Jeter’s own philanthropy. “What it boils down to is, it’s a really outstanding idea,” he said. “I have my own foundation, and we are trying to get kids to be active and play sports. Kids today spend too much time playing video games, and there’s a huge obesity problem in this country.”