Playoff basketball is unrivaled. As the Bucks and the Celtics and the Warriors and the Grizzlies face off in pursuit of the glory of an NBA title, fans are tuning in at record rates. ESPN released its viewership numbers and has declared this post-season the most-watched since 2014, drawing 3.34 million viewers per game. The league is even seeing a strong surge in ancillary programming. “NBA Today” viewership is up more than 33%. The numbers come in as the NBA begins to negotiate for a new media rights deal, for which it is asking for a reported $75 billion according to CNBC.
Kendrick Lamar Teases a Double Album
Friday the 13th is going to be a different kind of scary this month. Kendrick Lamar is set to drop his fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” confirmed via his creative collective pgLang. It is the first album in five years for the Pulitzer Prize winner – and while fans don’t know what to expect from the famously tight-lipped rapper, the excitement is building. On Tuesday, Lamar updated his cryptic site to include a new folder, which featured a photo of two burnt compact discs, each labeled “Mr. Morale” and “The Big Steppers,” respectively.
Dana Evans Becomes the Newest Jordan Brand Athlete
The Chicago Sky tips-off its WNBA season this Friday against the LA Sparks. Dana Evans will resume her spot as shooting guard for the defending champs after a successful rookie campaign. And on Tuesday, Jordan Brand signed the Gary, Indiana native. With the deal, Evans becomes the first NBA or WNBA player that has won a championship in Chicago to sign with Jordan Brand since MJ himself.
Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s 35V Invests in Gotham FC
The NWSL season has kicked off, and one team is expanding its ownership group. Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s 35V announced its investment in its hometown team of Gotham FC. 35V is the third group of investors to join the club since March, expanding the list of minority owners that includes Kristin Bernert, Karen Bryant, and Carli Lloyd in April. As part of the newfound partnership, 35V will provide guidance surrounding content creation, social media, and player relations, as well as community outreach.
Drake Signs Major Deal with Universal Music Group
Drake is no stranger to name-dropping LeBron in a verse. Now the Canadian superstar has signed a new deal with UMG that promises that he’ll be able to go toe-to-toe with his pal. During a Q1 earnings call, Universal Music Group head Lucian Grainge confirmed reports that the label had offered Drizzy an expanded contract. While he was coy about the details, he indicated that it was “LeBron-sized,” and Variety reports that it is in the ballpark of $400 million. The news comes just a week after The Weeknd signed a “supermax” with UMG.
FAMU Makes HBCU History with New Nike Jerseys
Nike Basketball unveiled its newest collaboration with Florida A&M University on Tuesday. The swoosh debuted the design, which is the first HBCU to feature the LeBron James logo. The jersey is part of the ongoing relationship between Nike, LeBron James, and FAMU, which was announced earlier this year. The jerseys, which feature a snakeskin-inspired design as an homage to the school’s Rattler mascot, will not be publicly available, but the school’s Athletic Director confirmed that they are in the process of unlocking availability.
VeeFriends Unlocks New Partnership with Johnnie Walker
The first-ever VeeCon is just two weeks away. The exclusive event is open to members of the VeeFriends community and marks the first time that they will come together IRL since launching late last April. On Tuesday, the community announced a new partnership with Johnnie Walker and its parent company DIAGEO. As part of the deal, VeeFriends’ “Gift Goat” holders will receive a luxury gift from the booze brand. Additionally, DIAGEO will have a presence at the upcoming VeeCon event, set to take place in Minneapolis from May 19-22.