Inside Look of JLin Youtube Deal with Whistle Sports Network

A must-read article about “Why NBA player Jeremy Lin has the biggest YouTube following of any American professional athlete.”

It tells the inside mind of Jeremy Lin who aspires to be a pioneer as an athlete/owner of digital sports network by expanding his Youtube channel to reach beyond non-basketball fans (only 30 out of 30K professional athletes have Youtube channel). It praises Lin as well-schooled in marketing speak. And more importantly, Lin will reportedly get from this deal an equity stake in the Whistle Sports Network company for the acquisition of JLin7 Youtube channel.

Sounds like Jeremy Lin knows how to use his Harvard Economics degree very well. More importantly, as PFV has said Jeremy will have the media channel and its power to publish his own message.

Noone knows how successful it might be but there is great value to be pioneers in any new market. And as a partial owner, Jeremy can continue to reach audience through social media well beyond his basketball-playing days in the future. Business, Ministry, Politics, etc. You name it. Well-done, Jeremy!

Article Excerpt:

This week, the athlete announced a partnership with The Whistle Sports Network, a digital video platform that originated on YouTube but has since expanded to Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and other platforms. The network, which launched at the beginning of this year, has big-name investors including Derek Jeter, the retiring New York Yankee baseball player. Lin is the first athlete in any of the four biggest American sports—NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL—to join.

The dynamic is different for Lin, who is relocating his existing, successful channel under the Whistle Sports Network umbrella. His subscribers will become part of Whistle Sports Network. It’s as if Whistle Sports has acquired Jeremy Lin—the online video version, anyway.


Lin (who sounded well-schooled in marketing-speak during his phone interview with Fortune) says the deal with Whistle Sports is a way to expand his brand and reach new audiences, and not necessarily just basketball fans. “The people who help me with my YouTube videos, from an athlete perspective I guess we’ve been somewhat groundbreaking in this space,” he says. “We did it for a couple of years and we were kind of like: How can we get better at this? How can we push this even more? Can we increase our viewership? So we wanted to find an expert network. The first digital sports network, well, we were extremely interested.

Is Lin’s latest deal about reviving his brand? According to the man himself, it doesn’t need any help. “I don’t think I need to revive anything,” Lin says. “It’s more that we have something great going, and we’ve kind of exhausted what we’re capable of doing, and there are some things we need outside help on. What they do is exactly what we are looking for. And it’s really comprehensive, it’s not just, ‘Oh, clean up your web site,’ it goes to content, collaboration, access to a network of people, and cross-promotions with some of the endorsements I have.” Translation: Expect to see more video collaborations between Lin, Whistle Sports, and, say, Adidas, which endorses the point guard. And don’t be surprised if you see a Dude Perfect video with a Lin cameo.

Edit: Lin also talked about the #1 purpose for this new channel has never been about money:

Lin said he’s one of the few NBA players with a YouTube channel and created it mainly to connect with fans.

What we’re trying to do with that has never been about monetization,” Lin said, adding that the Whistle Sports Network will help improve the production and reach of his videos. “That’s true for this partnership as well. A lot of what we create is purely for the fans.”

Source: Jeremy Lin passed up big Linsanity payday [Chicago Tribune]


  1. Thanks for the post Psalm. Really proud of JLin for being a visionary leader in today’s world. He speaks well of why he begins to do this. Sure glad that he is fighting the stereotype issue in his own term. Good job, JLin!

  2. And it sounds like JLin Team spent a lot of time thinking about using social media to reach out more people (even non-bball fans).

    I’m sure the #1 reason is send positive fun messages/social awareness, not monetization as he said in Chi Tribune’s article that @arsenium12:disqus posted. I’ll add it later to the post

  3. I am so proud of this young man. He is truly a pioneer, seeing purpose in every opportunity. His off court accomplishments are as impressive as what he does on-court and yet he still has potential to improve on both. It feels like a privilege to be able to follow his journey. What will he do next?!

  4. Jlin has referred to the exposure as a compromise to privacy, but also a great platform. Glad that he stepped out of his comfort zone and embraced his celebrity status in order to influence mainstream culture.

  5. I found an article published about The Whistle right when it launched at the beginning of the year [link]. It’s got more substantial leadership and financial backing than I realized. It is really significant that this group offered Jeremy an equity position.

    Also, if you look at the video in the article, it’s clear this group intends to take on the mainstream sports broadcasting establishment.

  6. In the Chicago Tribune article noted above there’s also an interesting statement of Lin’s motivations regarding endorsements:

    “We’ve turned away almost everything, just because I do think my purpose is to play basketball, play well, and play for the glory of God,” Lin said in a telephone interview. “The stuff off the court is great and it’s fun, but it’s definitely secondary to my primary job.”

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