The Players’ Tribune continues to boost its digital video offerings as the site grows in content and popularity. The latest venture is part of a partnership with AOL, a six-part series titled “Real Fan Life with Ben Lyons.”
Hosted by the EXTRA! correspondent and ESPN LA contributor, the show will feature Lyons spending time away from the arena with professional athletes, providing a glimpse into their personal interests and off-the-field lives. Current and former players to be featured on the show include Dwight Howard, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Strahan, Evan Longoria, Paul Pierce and LaMarcus Aldridge. Lyons will also spotlight fans throughout the country who are particularly enthusiastic or have a shtick in support of their favorite teams.
Here is a trailer for the show, which will debut Jan. 28:
Lyons has already been the public face of The Players’ Tribune since being hired by TPT president Jaymee Messler last year, hosting the site’s weekly SiriusXM show and podcasts. Billed as “the voice of the fans” suits his approach better than buddying up to actors and celebrities, which drew heavy criticism from film critics and journalists when he was a host of the rebooted At the Movies and a correspondent for E! Online.
“Actors don’t want to have their life shared with the public,” Lyons told The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg last July, “but I think athletes now do want to give fans insight into their life and their thought process and their training habits and their fears and joys and all that.”
According to Messler, TPT and AOL have been negotiating a partnership since the site’s launch in October 2014. The two will produce another video series, in addition to Lyons’ show, but details on that have not yet been finalized. TPT has been trying to boost its distribution across various outlets to increase audience. In that THR article, Lyons envisioned the possibility of a TPT show on networks like ESPN or NBC in the future.
The “Real Fan Life” series does not have a sponsor, unlike other TPT video series such as “From Somewhere,” which was sponsored by Powerade. AOL executive vice president Jimmy Maymann told Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen that the possibility of advertisers being integrated down the line is possible, but for now, their priority was producing premium content and look for ways to monetize it later.