Sunny Side of the Doc | 19-22 June 2023

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Sports megastars emerging as new source of funding for documentary projects that address racial & cultural injustice

Ben Simmons is an NBA All-star with a US$170 million contract.

He sent a message to the Sports and Documentary worlds by signing on as an executive producer of THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM.

Simmons dunks over the once hapless Brooklyn Nets

Footy Fan + LeBron

  • Ben Simmons grew up in Melbourne, where he became a diehard fan of ‘Footy,’ Australia’s unique local code.
  • He is now a star with the Philadelphia ‘Sixers,
  • Simmons is reported to have been introduced to Passion Pictures’ John Battsek by the multimedia company Uninterrupted, launched by the politically outspoken NBA superstar LeBron James.
  • LeBron is an executive producer of the 2019 HBO documentary What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali

Adam Goodes, playing for the Sydney Swans.

Footy & Race

  • Two documentaries about Adam Goodes (above) premiered this year: one each at the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals.
  • They are driving a national conversation about the rights of indigenous Australians.

Source: Global Sports Salaries Survey 2018 Sporting Intelligence

Context: NBA’s Unique Economic & Cultural Structure

NBA players are unique among world professional players.

  • The NBA enjoys enormous global appeal that drives multiple revenue streams.
  • Team rosters are small, and superstars have used their leverage to obtain greater power versus team owners than players have achieved in all other team sports.
  • The NBA culture is strongly African-American, and players have are becoming increasingly outspoken on national issues — both as individuals and as teams.
  • Public displays by NBA players of their contempt for president Trump have gone unpunished.
  • Even mild protests in the NFL have seen American Football stars banished from the game.

What You Need To Know Now!

  • Racism and various forms of discrimination are becoming major issues in professional sports — worldwide.
  • Players are more assertive in both reporting offensive behavior and in addressing broad political and cultural issues.
  • The documentary format is in the zeitgeist as a popular and powerful form of expression.
  • As well as financial contributions, the super-athlete’s involvement is a great promotional benefit for producers.
  • My prediction is that more and more cashed-up professional players – men and women – will become engaged in documentary projects as funders and as promoters.

Who has the money?

  • The chart above from Sporting Intelligence lists Player Average Salaries for the Top 9 team sports worldwide.
  • Cricketers fit in the list too, but their compensation is hard to compare because stars play for multiple leagues like the Indian Premier League and their national teams.

Read More

NBA’s LeBron James & EPL’s Raheem Stirling