NEWARK, N.J., December 16, 2020 – Actor and Producer Michael B. Jordan, in partnership with WME Sports, the sports division of WME, an Endeavor company, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), and Scout, Horizon Media’s sports, entertainment and experiential marketing agency, today announced the launch of an inaugural HBCU college basketball showcase, the Hoop Dreams Classic. The event will be held on December 18, 2021 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and will feature four of the top Division I HBCU Men’s basketball programs.
“This past year has been the tipping point for so many, including myself, in revving up support for Black people,” said Jordan. “As a Newark native, I am committed to bringing change to the community and am honored to be able to present The Hoop Dreams Classic as a way to celebrate the value of community, education, and Black college experiences. Through our shared love of basketball, I look forward to bringing the communal spirit of HBCUs to the city that helped shape me into the man I am today.”
The Hoop Dreams Classic will be a one-day, doubleheader basketball showcase. It will also feature an immersive cultural experience highlighting other elements of HBCU life and culture including Battle of the Bands, culinary events, live musical performances, film festivals, college and career opportunities and more.
Hoop Dreams is a social impact lifestyle brand at the intersection of sport, apparel, and culture. It provides a platform and resources to help athletes control their destiny and live their Hoop Dreams on and off the court.
“After seeing firsthand the lack of resources and information available to basketball players, I was determined to make Hoop Dreams the vehicle that could provide the tools these kids need to be successful in life beyond the game,” said Hoop Dreams CEO Jessica Estrada. “Michael and I share similar foundations and visions for our communities which is why I am thrilled to partner with him."
Partial proceeds from the event will be used to support organizations focused around advancing historically black colleges and universities and the local Newark community. 160over90, a culturally-led, full service marketing agency and Endeavor company, has been tapped for the design and branding of the Hoop Dreams Classic.
Jordan is represented by WME and manager Phillip Sun, M88 President, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, who were both instrumental in his partnership with Endeavor Content and Color of Change on #ChangeHollywood, a roadmap to address racial inequities in the entertainment industry.
“Following our partnership with Michael on #ChangeHollywood, we are thrilled to collaborate with him on his next venture to highlight top HBCU basketball programs and give them much deserved visibility,” said Jordan Bazant, Co-Head of WME Sports. “Bringing together Michael and Outlier Society with Prudential Center, HBSE and Scout/Horizon Media whom we have previously worked alongside, forms an incredible group for this event to come to fruition.”
“We are proud to stand alongside our partners Michael B. Jordan, WME Sports and Scout/Horizon Media to create and host an event at the Prudential Center that shines a spotlight on HBCU basketball programs. In hosting the ‘Hoop Dreams Classic,’ we continue our tradition and mission to support and promote meaningful, live events at intersection of sports, entertainment and culture in our venues, alongside our storied brands, and for the benefit of the communities where our teams live, work and play,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.
“This endeavor is more than just competitive sports, it’s a platform to appreciate and champion black excellence” said Scout Vice President Sean Singletary. “Fostering an authentic inclusive environment is a priority for our organization and in order to do so, we must commit to recognizing and embracing those cultural moments that make us all unique.”
To combat the lack of diverse representation at the executive level throughout the media industry, Horizon Media is actively developing a recruiting component that will connect agencies with HBCU professional talent.
About Michael B. Jordan:
Actor/producer Michael B. Jordan is a singular industry talent. Jordan first garnered industry-wide attention for his breakout role in FRUITVALE STATION. Up next, he will star in and produce WITHOUT REMORSE; the Denzel Washington-directed feature JOURNAL FOR JORDAN; and Danny Boyle’s METHUSELAH. He will re-team with director Ryan Coogler on WRONG ANSWER; and will reprise the role of Adonis Creed in CREED III. Most recently, Jordan starred in and produced the 2020 film, JUST MERCY – the first film made under Warner Media’s new company-wide inclusion policy. He starred in and produced CREED II and received high-level recognition for his portrayal of the tormented Erik Killmonger in BLACK PANTHER.
In 2016, Jordan launched Outlier Society, a production company focused on bringing diverse stories and voices to market. It was one of the first companies to publicly adopt the inclusion rider and holds a first-look film deal with Warner Bros. Studios and a first-look television deal with Amazon Studios. Through Outlier Society, the Outlier Society Fellowship program was born in 2019 with the support of the Obama Foundation and My Brother’s Keeper to develop the next generation of media, arts and entertainment industry leaders from underrepresented backgrounds and communities. Jordan and Color of Change launched the #ChangeHollywood initiative in July 2020, which provides consulting, resources, and a roadmap of tangible ways for businesses in Hollywood to invest in anti-racist content and authentic Black stories, invest in Black talent and reinvest police funds to support Black communities.
WME is a leading entertainment agency representing the world’s greatest artists, content creators and talent across books, digital media, film, food, music, sports, television and theater. Named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, WME is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports and content company.
About Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE):
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, founded by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, is a leading sports and entertainment company, with a focus on delivering the ultimate fan experience and developing and enhancing the communities in which their teams live, work, play and perform. HBSE’s portfolio includes premier franchises, brands, venues, and investment platforms, centered around three marquee assets, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. In addition to these marquee franchises, HBSE has added tremendous value through acquisition and development of the Delaware Blue Coats (G-League), the Binghamton Devils (AHL), the GRAMMY Museum Experience at the Prudential Center, the mixed-use 76ers Training Complex in Camden, NJ, an NBA 2K League Team (76ers Gaming Club) and New Meta Entertainment, a digital sports and entertainment company, which includes renowned esports organization, Dignitas. HBSE is also actively engaged in new ventures, including HBSE Ventures (HBSEV), a venture capital business focused on sports technology, entertainment, performance and analytics; Elevate Sports Ventures, a top-tier sports and entertainment consultancy; the Sixers Innovation Lab, which supports rapidly growing, early-stage companies in the consumer product space and provides industry-leading consulting and investment opportunities to startups with potential. With strong investment acumen and a deep bench of talent across a diverse spectrum of industries, HBSE positions itself as one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial sports and entertainment businesses today. The HBSE team, from its leadership through the entire organization, strives to positively impact the communities in which it operates through the powerful platform of sports. For more information, visit www.HBSE.com.
About Scout Sports and Entertainment, a division of Horizon Media, Inc.:
Scout is the sports, entertainment, experiential, measurement and property consulting division of Horizon Media Inc. A nationally recognized and award-winning agency, Scout offers a full range of marketing capabilities, including sponsorship consulting, research, negotiation, strategy, partnership acquisition, activation, and endorsements. Other disciplines include media property creation, media rights and the most comprehensive sponsorship analytics across all verticals of our service offerings.
The division was launched and led by Michael A. Neuman, a recognized leader in sports marketing, sponsorship and marketing partnerships.
Horizon Media, Inc. is a global leader in the performance-driven application of data and marketing insights. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York, and has offices in Los Angeles and Toronto. With estimated billings of $8.7 billion and over 2,300 employees, Horizon is the second largest U.S. media agency according to COMvergence data.
Recognized as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company, Horizon Media has been named Media Agency of the Year by MediaPost, Adweek and AdAge and is known for its highly personal approach to client service. Renowned for its culture, Horizon is also consistently named to all the prestigious annual Best Places to Work lists published by Fortune, Forbes, AdAge, Crain’s New York Business and Los Angeles Business Journal; including “Best Workplaces for Diversity,” “Best Workplaces for Women,” and “Best Workplaces for Millennials.”
Earning the industry’s highest honor, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder of Horizon Media, was inducted into the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Hall of Fame on April 30, 2019, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
About Hoop Dreams:
Hoop Dreams is a social impact lifestyle brand at the intersection of sport, apparel, and culture. The brand is aimed at those who have an inherent love of basketball and hoopers at all levels of the game. Hoop Dreams provides a platform and resources to help hoopers control their destiny and live their Hoop Dreams on and off the court. A portion of company proceeds are utilized to help communities and kids in need.
The Prudential Center trademark and logos are used under license from The Prudential Insurance Company of America, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial, Inc., headquartered in the USA, neither of which is affiliated with Prudential plc, a company headquartered in the United Kingdom.