Startup Creator Platform Lockerverse Inks With CAA to Bolster Growth (Exclusive)

Lockerverse — a startup platform for college and pro athletes, creators and artists to monetize their fanbases and offer exclusives by selling digital collectibles and merchandise — has linked up with CAA to represent it, a move that could hasten its access to sports talent.

The company was founded last year by attorneys Trey McDonald, James Carlos McFall and former Pinterest and LinkedIn executive Marcus Rance with an eye toward the name, image and likeness business for sports creators.

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Lockerverse was launched with the halo of being part of Disney’s Accelerator program last July, which focused on startups in the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse space. (This was pre-ChatGPT going public, when “metaverse” and not “artificial intelligence” was the buzzword of the moment. Other Disney accelerator companies in that class included Web3 social app Flickplay, blockchain network Polygon and augmented reality company Red 6.) Another app, FanZone, appears to be competing in a similar space as Lockerverse in pitching itself as a way for athletes to monetize their fan base via exclusives.

Savannah James — whose sons Bronny and Bryce became early and high-profile basketball creators on Lockerverse owing to their father, LeBron James — has also been enlisted as a co-founder of the app. “This network will help up-and-coming cultural icons grow and build wealth on their terms,” Savannah James stated last fall in announcing a partnership with Lockerverse.

Its Disney Accelerator selection likely helped land a big backer of the platform in ESPN, which partnered with the platform to engage with fans at historically Black colleges and universities during the 2023-2024 season. It also landed a complimentary pitch from ESPN’s chief. “Lockerverse’s ambition to streamline a complex process making Web3 more attractive to creators, and the fans, was very interesting to us as we look to get smarter about how to better serve sports fans,” ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro stated in a Disney Accelerator video released last November.

Other sports figures that Lockerverse has already partnered with include NBA great Penny Hardaway, Orlando Magic guard Anthony Black, Houston and Ohio State football stars C.J. Stroud (now with the Texans) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The platform currently features “The CJ Stroud Collection” t-shirts, hoodies and hats for fans among merch offered. The idea is for Lockerverse to be a platform “to access NFTs, to access content, to see what their favorite star athletes or entertainers or musicians are doing off the stage or off the field,” founder McFall said in the Disney Accelerator video.

In the culture space, Lockerverse is touting, as an example of the types of exclusives it offers, a plan by record producer Leroy Williams Jr. (aka Mr. Lee) to “drop unreleased tracks that he created with the late Nipsey Hussle, the late Pimp C, and other legendary artists.”

CAA, which operates one of the largest sports representation segments in the talent agency landscape, has divisions focused on baseball, basketball, football, hockey and endorsements and reps 3,000-plus clients.

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