Professional athletes are oftentimes in the spotlight for breaking a record or closing on a lucrative deal, but what about the person beyond the jersey? PlayersTV is in the business of putting the human side of sports on full display.

Co-founded by Deron Guidrey and Collin Castellaw in 2020, PlayersTV, which is said to be the first-ever athlete-owned media network and content provider, utilizes storytelling to bring viewers into the worlds of athletes. Some of today’s biggest stars have joined the platform including Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, and more.

Around three years after creating its footprint in the media space, PlayersTV is set to extend its reach even further. According to a press release shared with AFROTECH, PlayersTV has inked a distribution deal with Amazon Prime Video. In addition, by fall 2023, its athlete lifestyle content will be available as a free ad-supported 24/7 Channel on Amazon Freevee, Fire TV Channels, and Prime Video.

Following the announcement of the milestone for PlayersTV, AFROTECH spoke with co-founder Deron Guidrey about what the new distribution deal entails, the impact that platform owners hope to leave on sports fans, and what’s to come in the near future.

AFROTECH: Prior to PlayersTV securing the distribution deal with Amazon Prime Video, how did the conversation for it to happen first come about?

Deron Guidrey: The partnership with Amazon Prime Video has been in the works for over a year, a testament to the dedication and hard work put in by our team. One of their vice presidents, Todd Swindler, and I had a prior relationship and discussed working together in the past. The synergies aligned now, making this partnership possible.

AT: Along with more eyes on PlayersTV, what impact are you looking to come out of joining forces with Amazon Prime Video?

DG: Our goal at PlayersTV is to revolutionize the way athletes’ content is shared with the world. Amazon unlocks that vehicle at scale through their massive distribution through Prime Video, Freevee, and FireTV. By partnering with industry leaders like Amazon, we are taking a major step toward solving the long-standing issue of athlete distribution. We believe that collaboration is key, and by joining forces with like-minded companies, we can achieve far more than we ever could alone. The potential for impact and positive change is immense, and we couldn’t be more excited to be at the forefront of this movement.

AT: In what specific ways have you taken what you learned in sports marketing to help secure distribution deals with the likes of Amazon, YouTube TV, Roku, and more?

DG: Understanding the power and value of athletes, as well as the necessary positioning needed with their content, has allowed us to bring PlayersTV to the world. PlayersTV has enabled us to forge these partnerships and helps our distribution partners recognize the true value of athlete content.

AT: Star athletes such as Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard are owners of PlayersTV. Why do you believe that professional athletes have gravitated towards hopping on board?

DG: Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard are just a few of the 50+ athletes on PlayersTV’s roster. All of our athletes each have their own production companies and unique content they want to share with their fans. PlayersTV unlocks this opportunity and enables them to share their content in an authentic and meaningful way. By partnering with PlayersTV, these athletes are able to connect with their fans on a larger scale through engaging content.

AT: Why is it so important for PlayersTV to give a look into the lives of athletes? What is the main message you always aim for viewers to take away from your content?

DG: At PlayersTV, our mission is to showcase athletes in a relatable way, in contrast to the traditional approach taken by sports networks. Our goal is to humanize athletes, allowing fans to connect with them on a deeper level beyond the competitive arena. We are committed to presenting athletes as they truly are, providing them with a platform to express their opinions and voices freely.

AT: While the new distribution deal will allow for the platform to reach a wider audience, what would you like to see next in terms of further expansion?

DG: Our mission at PlayersTV is to create a global community where everyone can access our content. In 2024, we plan to expand internationally by entering into the European, African, and [Asian] markets. We strive to reach every corner of the world and will continue to push toward this goal.