Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2009 (Revised March 2010)

LeBron James

by Anita Elberse and Jeff McCall

Abstract

In 2005, to the astonishment of many sports industry insiders, superstar basketball player LeBron James fired his agent and established his own firm, LRMR, to handle all aspects of his business ventures and marketing activities and named his childhood friend Maverick Carter as the CEO. LRMR is tasked with turning James into a global icon as well as helping him reach his personal goal of becoming basketball's first billionaire. In late 2008, James has entered various lucrative endorsement deals and is considering three exclusive videogame endorsement opportunities from Electronic Arts, 2K Games, and Xbox Live to add to his portfolio. Allows for a rich discussion about how superstar athletes and other celebrities can create and capture value from their brands as well as what role talent agencies and other intermediaries play in that process. Provides in-depth information on three endorsement opportunities that each represents a common way in which talent can (choose to) get compensated: through a fixed-fee payment, a bonus payment structure, or a revenue-sharing agreement.

Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Compensation and Benefits; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Sports; Sports Industry;

Citation:

Elberse, Anita, and Jeff McCall. "LeBron James." Harvard Business School Case 509-050, January 2009. (Revised March 2010.)