Social media company Triller has signed a joint venture agreement with rapper Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league and will host its first all-star game, the parties told CNBC.
Specific terms of the agreement have not been made available, but Big3 and thriller will share ad revenue earned from events. The companies will also share signage in the arena and cross-promote their brands.
Big3 is a touring circuit league and features former National Basketball Association stars who play in a three-on-three style during the summer. Competition entrants usually earn about $10,000 per game plus bonuses associated with winning. Salaries can be as high as $100,000.
“There’s nothing quite as fun and fast in the sport as Big3 basketball, and once you watch a game, you’re hooked,” Triller co-owner Ryan Kavanaugh said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Ice Cube and the Big3 organization to bring this exciting and growing sport to Triller audiences around the world.”
Triller will also feature 30 hours of exclusive games from the Big3 2021 season and will host the draft on June 14. The Big3 was founded in 2017 by Cube and entertainment manager Jeff Kwatinetz.
In a joint statement, Cube and Kwatinetz said the deal will allow Big3 to expand its reach to Generation Z, or those under 24. They said the deal is a “perfect combination of sports and entertainment for that demographic”.
Trill, which competes with TikTok, wants to add more sports content to increase its user base. Trill uses short video content and successfully promoted a fight between boxing icons Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. in november on his platform.
The company monetizes through e-commerce, branded content integration, streaming pay-per-view events, and other digital content revenue. But Trill has faced with questions about its user base and has shaken up its top executives in recent months.
People with knowledge of Triller’s business dealings told CNBC that the company has raised $250 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion. The people asked not to be identified due to privacy concerns as the company does not discuss its financial details publicly.
People said that Trill had 300 million downloads of its mobile app, but not how many active users it has. Still, Trill used the money to expand, Buy Fit TV, a martial arts streaming service and technology company called amplify.ai. It named that company’s CEO, Mahi de Silva, as the new CEO of TrillerNet, the parent company that operates Triller. He replaced former Trill CEO Mike Lu.
Trill too bought Verzuzo, a music-based content platform that gained popularity on Instagram. Trill outbid Apple to buy Verzuzz Bloomberg. And the company also agreed to a licensing agreement with: Universal Music Group to use the company’s catalog.
By partnering with Big3, Triller hopes to increase its brand awareness and streaming capabilities with a unique sports audience that supports the competition. Triller could also see his signage appear on ViacomCBS’s network and its Paramount+ streaming service, as Big3 also has a media rights agreement with ViacomCBS.
Triller’s agreement calls for all Big3 games to have their signage on the field, which is in light of Big3 broadcasts.
Last year, Big3 made changes to the game structure before the pandemic canceled the 2020 season fourth. The Big3 kicks off its 10-week season on July 10 in Las Vegas.