Name: Jimmy Spencer
Job: Vice President, Athlete Relations and Content
LinkedIn: Jimmy Spencer
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Every day, I spend time with and listen to athletes from across all sports to better understand the people they are off the field or court. Through the insights and stories told, I work with UNINTERRUPTED’s brilliant creative team to find the best way to give those stories a platform. After more than a decade of covering the NBA as a writer, I am now in a unique position to story tell “with” them, as opposed to “about” them.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I am buying the trend of making the consumer less of a passive viewer and more of an active participant who is viewing and engaging. Interaction is everything when we compete not just for eyeballs, but thumbs and swipes too. I don’t know about most of you, but, sadly, I struggle to make it through even my favorite shows without reaching for my phone. How does content evolve to include more interaction to feed our appetite to not just engage but CREATE?
How do you define engagement?
Maybe I am oversimplifying here, but my definition of engagement is that I am not merely a consumer but I am an active participant. I want to feel connected enough to what I’m consuming that an action is sparked when I encounter it.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
“More Than an Athlete.” It’s gone beyond a tagline or campaign and is now the driving force behind UNINTERRUPTED. We are an athlete empowerment brand, and through our creative and storytelling, we aim to showcase the fact that athletes aren’t simply their play, athletic ability or stat sheet. It’s powerful because it resonates beyond just professional athletes, hitting the next generation of young athletes to feel empowered to do more and be more. It pushes all of us beyond the limitations of our careers.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
The focus always remains the same: truly listen to the athlete and understand the white space. That said, I am incredibly focused right now on bringing the athlete even further into the creator landscape, putting them more into the driver’s seat in Hollywood than ever before.
As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
Is it cheap to say it was one of ours at UNINTERRUPTED? We have a fantastic partnership with SiriusXM Pandora that features a podcast called 17 Weeks: NFL stars LeVeon Bell, Jalen Ramsey, Cole Beasley and Nate Burleson host a weekly podcast that’s done more uniquely than any player-first podcast I’ve heard. But the content I loved most was a recent social clip that highlights with an accompanying graphic LeVeon Bell explaining the unusual number of HGH blood tests he’s had this season. It’s a cool glimpse into the life that high-profile athletes deal with, but it’s normalized for all of us to relate to.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
The high for me is and has always been, the ability to meet so many different people with such a diversity of thinking. You meet some of the most intensely focused and reflective people in this world and it’s a joy to collaborate with them to bring an idea to creation. The low in that is, and I mean this truly, not being able to do everything. I have to pass on more great ideas than I get to create based on simple life and professional bandwidth.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
I’d like to see athletes and talent as a whole no longer treated like currency. I have a policy on my team to be relational and not transactional with the athletes we partner with. People should be treated with love and care, not as expendable assets to be dealt or placed. This happens through all parts of sports: athletes are loved when they are hot and tossed away when they cool. I don’t want us ever be that way. There’s a theory that athletes are millionaires so we shouldn’t care about their feelings, and that cuts at the core of my belief. We all deserve to be treated with care.
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