Michael Jordan and his son Jeffrey Jordan are looking to expand upon the Basketball Hall of Famer’s legacy by entering the NFT space and next-generation entertainment with their newest venture, Variety reports.
Heir Inc, a new holding company created by the Jordans, plans “to build a consumer-facing community platform for athletes to connect with fans—as well as other lines of business, including an entertainment studio and consumer products.”
The idea was conceived by Jeffrey Jordan with marketing exec Daniel George, founder of agency Limitless Creative, and Jeron Smith (above right), former CEO and co-founder of Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media.
According to Heir’s description, “Athletes will sell a limited number of membership-based 'seats' to fans, who will get access to digital assets and first-person NFT drops, using an exclusive Heir token built on Solana’s energy-efficient blockchain network. (NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are used to verify ownership of unique digital content.)” Additionally, consumers can purchase one-time digital assets and/or join an athlete’s “huddle” for exclusive drops, immersive experiences, digital goods, and more.
“The Heir platform reimagines the creator-fan experience, to empower athletes to engage with their fans,” Jeffrey Jordan said.
Heir's first product is a Web3 personalized community platform for athletes. In the initial launch of the venture, $10.6 million was raised in a round led by Thrive Capital, marking the venture-capital firm’s foray into NFTs (and its largest seed investment ever). Solana Ventures, the investment arm of public blockchain platform Solana, angel investors Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, EVP of the New York Knicks and senior basketball adviser William Wesley, and Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball are signed on as investors.
“We’re being very deliberate with our early-adopter athletes,” Jordan said, adding that Heir is planning to be the prime digital location for “tier one” NBA and WNBA players and the next generation of rising stars in the NCAA.
Although he’s a major component of the creative process, there’s no word if Michael Jordan will be on the platform.
“My dad is a strategic adviser and partner,” he added.” We meet with him regularly, and he provides guidance and insightful ideas… When he was playing, he didn’t have the same tools to connect with his fanbase or monetize that.”
Along with their founding partners, Heir's executive team includes VP of operations Briana Richardson, formerly business manager at Robinhood and currently a consultant with Bain & Co.
The vision of Heir is to attract young stars like Ball who appeal to Gen Z and millennial fans, Smith explained. “Individuals his age have grown up with social platforms. This is the first step for athletes building their meta-brands in the metaverse/Web3 world.”
Heir will generate revenue from consumers purchasing memberships in an athlete’s “huddle” and the athletes stand to receive an 80% share of the primary sales of NFTs and Heir Inc. will keep 20%; on sales, the split is 50-50.
The idea behind Heir’s model is to keep the memberships at a minimum. The number of seats in a given “huddle” will max out at about 0.5%-1% of an athlete’s existing following on social media, George says.
“Once you hit the cap, the only way to get in is if somebody sells you their seat,” he said. “The value of the huddle seat appreciates over time.”
Commenting on Heir Inc’s model, Gaurav Ahuja, partner at Thrive Capital said, “Fan loyalty is increasingly moving toward love for individual players rather than teams. There’s an opportunity now to develop an ecosystem that enables fans to feel like insiders with the athletes they love. Heir’s ‘huddle’ provides a first-of-its-kind experience to be closer to athletes, becoming active co-owners and co-creators in the platform.”