'Players TV' Sports Network to Debut on Samsung TVs

Players Media Group, a Dallas-based startup specializing in sports-centric entertainment, today announced the creation of PlayersTV, a new network dedicated to sports lifestyle and culture entertainment that will launch next month on Samsung TVs.

The network, whose partners include Anthem Sports and sports stars Carmelo Anthony, Vernon Davis, CJ McCollum, and Chris Paul, is slated to launch in March on Samsung TV Plus, an ad-supported smart TV video service on Samsung TVs that provides access to more than 100 channels spanning news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, gaming, children’s programming, and more. The free service is pre-installed on TVs built between 2016 and 2020 and has millions of users, according to Samsung.

“Samsung TV Plus is committed to providing consumers with a destination to discover free premium content on their Samsung smart TVs,” said Samsung VP Sang Kim. “PlayersTV is a perfect addition to the Samsung TV Plus lineup for passionate sports fans to experience content created and produced by world class athletes. We look forward to the debut of Players TV exclusively on Samsung TV Plus next month.”

PlayersTV has deals in place with content partners such as CloseUp360, a multimedia platform focused on the lives of NBA players off the court. “We launched CloseUp360 with the goal of becoming the best and most in-depth storytelling platform for all players and fans in one of the world’s fastest growing sports,” said founder Jared Zwerling. “They align perfectly with our player-first focus and lifestyle vision, and we’re looking forward to working with their notable players and leadership team.”

Players Media Group was formed by professional shooting coach turned digital media specialist Collin Castellaw and Deron Guidrey.

“In today’s world, the desire to not only connect directly with athletes but also learn about their lives off the field continues to grow exponentially,” Guidrey said. But it hasn’t always been easy getting great athlete content into the hands of fans. Through PlayersTV, we’ve created a distribution ecosystem that brings fans and athletes together in one place, making it easier for fans to access the content they desire, and easier for athletes to reach their fans. I’m excited to have world-class athletes join us as shareholders, investors, and partners on this journey.

“We’ve assembled a world-class team of industry professionals who have proven track records of success in developing, launching, and operating both linear and OTT channels,” Castellaw added. “With this executive team at the helm, and with the support from athletes, strategic partners and our advisory board of industry luminaries, we believe we can make an immediate impact and help athletes to fully benefit from their content.”

Nancy Pingitore has been named CEO of Players Media Group and is spearheading the launch of PlayersTV. She has 30 years of experience in broadcast and cable TV, including senior positions at the Tennis Channel, Incanta, and MOR Music TV. Pingitore also led business development behind the pay-per-view coverage of the 1992 Olympics “Triplecast.”

Other members of the Players Media executive team include former Disney executive Bruce Rider, who will serve as chief content officer, and veteran sports and entertainment attorney, Matt Allinson. The company is also supported by a team of advisors and industry veterans, including John Ward, 12-time Emmy Award winner and former executive at DirecTV and Fox sports, and Ed Horowitz, a former Viacom Media SVP who oversaw HBO, MTV, VH1, and Paramount.

At the PlayersTV launch party during NBA All-Star Weekend, Players Media Group partners spoke about the new venture.

Carmelo Anthony, NBA All Star and co-founder of Creative 7, said: “PlayersTV is becoming a new option to address the challenges of distribution that many producers are facing today. The opportunity to leverage a platform that can be home for sports content by athletes, for athletes, and about athletes is powerful.”

CJ McCollum, NBA Player, investor and journalist, added: “Being part of the Players TV family is an exciting opportunity to work in collaboration with other athletes to create a space where we can tell the stories that matter to us. To be able provide fans with a one-of-a-kind platform, through which they can readily gain access to content created by the athletes that they support every day, is an honor.”

Katelyn Ohashi, gymnast and founder of Behind the Madness, said: “Women are only receive 4% of sports media coverage, so to have a platform like PlayersTV where we can come together as a community to push out great content and support one another is incredible.”

Samsung is one of six distribution partners, with three additional distributors slated to launch PlayersTV later in the year.

For more information, visit playerstv.co.