Flau’jae Johnson is a national higher college basketball star, that also just takes place to be producing a huge name for herself as a rapper, appearing on America’s Got Talent in 2018, and signing a deal with the Roc Nation-owned Equity Distribution. As her star has risen more than the previous couple of years—she’s set to play for Louisiana State University this fall—there have been a collection of news stories and Television profiles about her, but only one particular media outlet was provided complete access to the inside story of her journey as it is been taking place.
In June, Togethxr—a women’s-focused media platform launched by superstar athletes Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Simone Manuel, and Sue Bird in March 2021—dropped a 5-episode docuseries on Johnson as element of its ongoing series on up-and-coming talents referred to as Fenom. For Morgan, it is also the kind of content material that completely embodies Togethxr’s ambition to stylishly straddle sports and culture from a women’s viewpoint. “It’s an incredible story,” Morgan says. “These are things most people wouldn’t otherwise see or hear if not for Togethxr and the partnerships we’ve been able to make.”
Togethxr is the most current media brand that has launched and promptly constructed a passionate fan neighborhood primarily based on a powerful, distinctive viewpoint, as nicely as social-forward content material that spans social platforms, quick-type video, photo essays, and podcasts. Togethxr is like the empowerment lens of LeBron’s SpringHill Company, mixed with the POV of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, tied to 4 legendary athletes across a diverse array of sports. It’s constructed a loyal following across social platforms, such as far more than 1.eight million TikTok followers, and the general outcome so far has been a sports and culture media brand in contrast to any the culture has ever noticed. “In life we try to stay away from cliches, but sometimes it just fits: This is like lightning in a bottle,” says Bird. “It happened so naturally. The engagement we’ve seen on social media is wild. It’s not just followers, it’s the actual engagement. People are connected to this brand.”
Cofounder and chief content material officer Jessica Robertson says that a central tenet of Togethxr is the recognition that women’s sports is ground zero for each single -ism that is in culture, and so the content material and voice of the brand has been constructed about that. “Which means this is a brand that is going to touch issues of race, gender, sexuality, human rights, voting rights, and so much more,” says Robertson, who previously helmed The Players Tribune. “There is no neutral right now, from a storytelling perspective, when it comes to issues in women’s sports. For us, the edges of our brand became sharper over time because the world started to change, and brands have to show up right now. Women’s sports and female athletes have been so far ahead of culture that culture has to catch up with these women, and a brand like ours isn’t waiting for that. Our hope is that we’re the tip of the spear in speeding that up.”
Togethxr very first began as an thought Morgan had been mulling more than for years. As she traveled the nation and the planet with the U.S. women’s national soccer group, the screaming fans and skyrocketing Television ratings basically weren’t reflected in the general media coverage. “It was so glaring,” says Morgan, “and it’s not that our stories are any less important or interesting, but women and female athletes were just drastically under-covered. Togethxr started as an idea that has now transformed into this incredible company over the past three years.”
The notion that would sooner or later turn into Togethxr very first started to formalize in late 2019, as Morgan started gathering funding and partners to make it take place. For legendary basketball pro Bird, the selection to get involved was quick. As a veteran pro athlete and Olympian, for most of her profession Bird has been told there wasn’t a marketplace for women’s sports, or content material about girls athletes. After a when, it begins to seep in. “When people tell you for so long that you’re not worth as much, sadly, you start to internalize it,” says Bird. “You don’t believe it, but you internalize it.”
The passionate neighborhood Togethxr has constructed more than a quick period of time illustrates a pent-up appetite for these stories that weren’t previously becoming told. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, women’s sports only obtain about four% of all sports media coverage. “It’s so refreshing and therapeutic for me to see this response, and finding out that I haven’t been crazy all of these years in thinking there is a market for us,” says Bird. “Now we’re seeing all of these people, and they’re not coming out of the woodwork; they’ve always been there, they just didn’t have a brand or company that spoke to them like this does.”
Summer of Gold is Right here. Re-reside the 1996 Summer Olympics by way of the eyes of the iconic female athletes who changed the game for girls sports ????
Episode 1⃣: https://t.co/WVlMSBZFtp pic.twitter.com/Q2qUTWikEk
— TOGETHXR (@togethxr) August 17, 2021
Backed by private equity firm Magnet Companies, Togethxr’s business enterprise model revolves about licensing bargains for original content material, merchandise, and brand partnerships. Togethxr’s partners are an impressive list of such key brands as Nike, Buick, Geico, Porsche, AT&T, Google, Coca-Cola, amongst other folks. Obviously, in between Kim, Manuel, Morgan, and Bird, the founders have a lot of corporate sponsor connections, but these brands also see the worth in tying themselves to a distinctive media house with a passionate audience. This hasn’t often been the case. As Bird recalls more than the course of her profession, anytime there was a conversation with a key brand, no matter how well known the athlete was—and to be clear, Sue Bird is a superstar—there was often a looooong pause.
“To be dramatic about it, pick a major male athlete—LeBron or Tom Brady—when they walk in the room, people are already saying, ‘Yup!’” says Bird. “For women and female athletes, there’s always this moment of, ‘Ahhhh, would it sell? Ahhh, do people want to see this?’ There’s always this hesitancy. What I will say is, even in the last year, that hesitation is getting shorter and shorter. I think people are now coming at it from a place of yes, rather than a place of no.”
She just launched a Nike x Togethxr collaboration.
The farewell tee for @S10Bird‘s final tour.
Grab this @togethxr x @nike collab exclusively on https://t.co/2psdl1xtun. pic.twitter.com/EdDO9anxXb
— TOGETHXR (@togethxr) August 9, 2022
This is what the founders of Togethxr aimed to do: use their collective star energy and fanbase as the foundation for anything else. A small far more than a year later, that anything else has taken on a life of its personal, difficult standard attitudes towards the prospective of sports and culture storytelling.
“We’re going to center, inspire, and uplift those voices that have intentionally been left in the margins for so long,” says Robertson. “There’s a massive audience there, they’ve been so underserved, and we’re going to build this massive community that is undeniable, and then brand partners are going to show up and not be able to ignore it. Then they’re going to invest. All of that will help brands in our space—not just us—continue to build this space. We’re going to break the cycle. That’s the whole point.”