ESPN, The Undefeated, the NBA and ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ Team Up to #ChampionBlackBusinesses for the 2021 NBA Postseason

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ESPN, The Undefeated, the NBA and ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ Team Up to #ChampionBlackBusinesses for the 2021 NBA Postseason

Black-Owned Businesses Lomar Farms, Ride On! Bike Shop, Hakim’s Bookstore and The Cookie Society to Be Featured Across ESPN and The Undefeated

Sharks Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec and Daymond John of ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ to Mentor Businesses on ESPN Platforms

Following a successful debut in 2020, ESPN, in collaboration with The Undefeated, the NBA and ABC, today announced the return of the #ChampionBlackBusinesses initiative. CBB will elevate Black-owned businesses and their stories and cement the importance their imprint has on their communities across ESPN platforms during Conference Finals and beyond. Also returning after last year’s success is ESPN’s partnership with ABC’s “Shark Tank,” where the Sharks, who are titans of business in their own right, will offer selected Black-owned businesses invaluable advice and help propel them to success yet again. ESPN is working with women and Black-owned marketing agency JOY Collective for the initiative.

“We are so proud to be able to bring this initiative back and continue to champion the Black community,” said Emeka Ofodile, Vice President of Sports Marketing, ESPN. “The NBA Playoffs are not only a time to celebrate athletes fighting for a championship, but a great opportunity to share the stories of Black-owned businesses who are fighting to impact their communities every day.”

As the world recovers from the pandemic and states begin to reopen, ESPN recognizes that Black-owned businesses have been disproportionally affected, representing more than 40 percent of pandemic-induced business closures. To create sustainable community impact, The Undefeated’s Music for the Movement committed to deepening support and resources for these businesses by providing both in-kind and financial support of $40,000.

“This year’s involvement with the #ChampionBlackBusinesses initiative is an opportunity to push awareness to the next level,” said Raina Kelley, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Undefeated. “The collaborative effort between all of us plus fan engagement will make it a success.”

The four businesses selected to participate in this year’s #ChampionBlackBusinesses initiative are the following:

  • Lomar Farms (New York) – An environmentally conscience family Bee farm that harvests raw honey, produces candles and other body products and potions
  • Ride On! Bike Shop (Los Angeles) – A bicycle repair collective that proudly serves all cyclists, including new and veteran riders. Ride On Bike Shop believes that bikes offer a simple solution to many of our communities’ complex problems
  • Hakim’s Bookstore (Philadelphia) – A family-owned book and gift store founded by Dawud Hakim in the late 1950s to educate his community about the rich heritage, culture and contributions of African Americans. Hakim’s Bookstore is the oldest cultural bookstore on the East Coast
  • The Cookie Society (Dallas) – A boutique bakery selling freshly baked cookies in Frisco, Texas, and shipping nationwide

The Champion Black Businesses process will include several phases:

  • ESPN will spotlight four specific Black-owned businesses with unique films highlighting each business’ impact on their respective community
  • CBB will create an Advisory Council which will include professionals from the worlds of finance, law, marketing and management for further mentorship
  • Sharks from ABC’s “Shark Tank,” including Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Daymond John, will review the business portfolios in a one-on-one mentor session and make recommendations to ensure success for the businesses moving forward. New episodes of Shark Tank are coming to ABC this fall

The films highlighting each business will debut and live on ESPN’s digital and social media channels as well as The Undefeated, and will feature music from their EP, “Liberated / Music For The Movement Volume 3.” The mentor sessions will also be recorded and produced into snackable cutdowns highlighting the best of each conversation.

To raise awareness and provide nationwide exposure to additional Black-owned business communities, ESPN will be asking fans throughout the 2021 NBA Playoffs to use the #ChampionBlackBusinesses hashtag across social channels to shout out their favorite Black-owned businesses.

For more information, please visit theundefeated.com/championblackbusinesses.

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Media Contacts:

Olivia Wilson, ESPN                              [email protected]

Marcy Polanco, JOY Collective              [email protected]

About “Shark Tank”

The recipient of the 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program, “Shark Tank” features The Sharks – tough, self-made, multimillionaire and billionaire tycoons – as they invest in America’s best businesses and products. The Sharks will give people from all walks of life the chance to chase the American dream and potentially secure business deals that could make them millionaires. Mark Burnett, Clay Newbill, Yun Lingner, Max Swedlow, Phil Gurin, Brandon Wallace, Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary are the executive producers of “Shark Tank,” which is based on the Japanese “Dragons’ Den” format, created by Nippon Television Network Corporation. The series is produced by MGM Television in association with Sony Pictures Television.

About ABC Entertainment

ABC Entertainment airs compelling programming across all day parts, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” the longest-running medical drama in primetime television; riveting dramas “The Good Doctor,” “A Million Little Things,” “Station 19” and fall’s groundbreaking No. 1 new series, “Big Sky”; trailblazing comedy favorites “black-ish,” “The Conners,” “The Goldbergs” and “Home Economics”; the popular Summer Fun & Games programming block, including “Celebrity Family Feud,” “Holey Moley,” “Match Game,” “Press Your Luck” and “To Tell the Truth”; star-making sensation “American Idol”; reality phenomenon “Shark Tank”; “The Bachelor” franchise; long-running hits “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”; “General Hospital,” which has aired for more than 55 years on the network; and late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”; as well as two critically acclaimed, Emmy® Award-winning “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” specials. The network also boasts some of television’s most prestigious awards shows, including “The Oscars®,” “The CMA Awards” and the “American Music Awards.”

Olivia Wilson

Based out of Austin, Texas, Olivia Wilson is a communications manager focusing on ESPN+, The Walt Disney Company's leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service. Prior to joining the DMED Communications team, Wilson worked in ESPN Communications on X Games, Marketing and Corporate Citizenship for five years. Wilson is a proud graduate of Florida State University.
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