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Entertainment

In Producing for Apple and Disney, Warriors’ Durant Wants Ownership

The proliferation of new streaming services, from Netflix to Apple, is creating a demand for content from all arenas—including the basketball court. Los Angeles Laker LeBron James has set up a film and television deal at WarnerMedia, and Boston Celtics player Kyrie Irving was a producer on Lionsgate’s recent film, “Uncle Drew.” Then there is Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, whose 3-year-old media production firm Thirty Five Ventures is making sports-themed shows for Apple’s forthcoming streaming app, Disney’s new sports streaming service ESPN+ and Fox's traditional TV business, Fox Sports.

Mr. Durant first dipped a toe into the television programming waters in 2017, when he produced a number of web series and documentaries for YouTube. The impetus was to give Mr. Durant different ways to connect directly with his fans—something he’d been doing on Twitter since his early years in the league. Thirty Five is wasting no time in trying to turn its shows into broader franchises. Its first series “The Boardroom,” about the business of sports, debuted on ESPN+ two weeks ago, and Thirty Five already has plans to spin off another series and to launch a newsletter from the show, Sarah Flynn, general manager of Thirty Five Ventures, revealed in an interview with The Information.

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