Russell Westbrook launches ad media venture RW Digital – AdAge.com

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Basketball star Russell Westbrook is getting into the digital media sector, adding a new division to his business as he enters the advertising industry.
The Los Angeles Lakers point guard, who makes investments and signs partnership deals through his Russell Westbrook Enterprises, is linking up with digital marketer Causal IQ to help connect advertisers with multicultural audiences through a new venture called RW Digital. Financial terms of the arrangement weren’t disclosed.
The business is staffed by dedicated teams from both companies and uses the ad tech firm’s back-end infrastructure. Early clients include PepsiCo Inc., AT&T Inc.,  American Airlines Group Inc. and A+E Networks.
 
RWE is now involved in several business lines such as real estate, venture capital, insurance, education and fashion line Honor the Gift, which has collaborated with the likes of Nike Inc.’s Jordan brand and the NBA’s players union. Westbrook has also been in media, producing a History Channel documentary that debuted in May.
“We’ve been keeping so much stuff quiet,” Westbrook said. “People just see me on the court, but I want to build an enterprise that’s done the right way.”
Westbrook, 33, has been an active investor in the latter stages of his career, putting money into businesses like social network Triller Inc., Flow Beverage Corp. alkaline spring water, Health House fitness and data-science firm Tulco Holdings. Last year, he invested in Varo Bank and took on an advisory role at the digital banking company.
The nine-time All-Star is heading into his 15th season in the league as trade rumors run wild in the offseason, when he has a bit more time to work on expanding his businesses. 
“I’m locked in year-round,” said Westbrook. “This is an important thing for me, for my future, for my legacy, for our kids.”
—Bloomberg News
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