SapientNitro Signs LeBron James as Client

Agency Will Be Tasked With Building Out NBA All-Star's Digital and Social Presence

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He's got nearly 10 million Facebook fans and over four million Twitter followers, but Miami Heat star LeBron James wants to get more social.

LeBron James
LeBron James Credit: Kevin Sullivan

The NBA player has turned to adland, asking digital shop SapientNitro to build out his website and boost his ability to engage with fans over social-media channels.

"I'm blessed with the best fans on the planet and love engaging with them directly," Mr. James said in a statement. "Every day, new technologies come out that allow me to take that fan connection to another level. In SapientNitro, I found a partner that has the brand thinking, creative ideas, digital expertise and global delivery scale to support my expanding ambitions."

It's definitely a watershed for SapientNitro: A spokesman confirmed that it's the agency's first sports star or celebrity client.

SapientNitro -- a result of the merger of tech-consulting firm Sapient with digital creative agency Nitro a few years ago -- has recently done work for such clients as Target , Chrysler and Hyatt. But in the past few months, the shop picked-up a string of sports marketing related contracts, including work for Chip Ganassi Racing, ESPN X Games, Nascar, and WWE (the agency just relaunched its site in conjunction with Wrestlemania).

"This expertise helped us to win the [LeBron James] business," said the spokesman.

As part of a contract with LRMR, Mr. James' management agent--and the Cleveland-based brand consulting firm in which he's a partner--SapientNitro will handle a range of work for brand LeBron. That includes brand strategy, communications planning, website design and social-media integration. It's a one-year contact with an extension option.

One of the agency's first tasks will be unveiling a relaunch of lebronjames.com, which houses behind-the-scenes video, information on active living and a "Young Ballers" section that features hard-working athletes making a name for themselves in youth sports.

"LeBron was one of the first sports stars to understand the power of digital and social media to create two-way dialogue with his fans," said Bill Kanarick, Sapient's chief marketing officer, in a statement. "We look forward to working with LeBron and his team to further build community and fan engagement in innovative ways."

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