New Sport Publisher UMM Launched To Bring Together YouTubers And Athletes

December 17, 2020

UMM, a new sports publisher created to champion professional athletes off the pitch, rather than on it, launches today.

The publisher will bring together YouTuber’s and professional athletes, with a unique proposition – empowering sport stars to showcase unseen sides of their personalities, helping them reach new audiences, and attract brands who face the challenge of appealing to the hard-to-reach YouTube generation.

How to engage Gen-Z in a meaningful way has fast become a major challenge for brands, bodies, and athletes. UMM, spearheaded by YouTuber Callux – real name Callum McGinley – will champion established athletes, and stars of the future, giving fans better access to their lives, characters, and interests through original content. Output on the flagship YouTube channel will first feature professional footballer’s, before expanding to other sports, and entertainment, later in Q1.

The venture is backed by Derek and Cannis Holder, who built one of YouTube’s biggest success stories, Little Baby Bum, which has amassed billions of views across the globe – and was acquired by British-based media company Moonbug Entertainment in 2018. The YouTube pioneers will now bring their expertise to the sports entertainment market, and launch a platform that celebrates athletes as a force for good.

UMM’s relationships with leading global talent agencies gives them unprecedented access to professional athletes . The concept has already sparked lots of interest amongst talent management leaders looking at new ways to market their portfolio of talent, and UMM has been endorsed by ICM Stellar Sports founder, Jonathan Barnett, who said:

“We are constantly looking at ways to help build the profile of our athletes and I’ve been really impressed with how UMM will position themselves alongside other sports entertainment publishers in the market. Young fans have a real appetite to get even closer to their sporting heroes, and we see working with emerging platforms like UMM as a great strategic move for our clients.”

UMM launches on YouTube this week with a high energy, comedic Top Gear inspired production titled ‘Park The Bus’. The series will feature YouTubers, including Chunkz (Soccer Aid 2020 showstopper), Calfreezy and W2S, alongside one of football’s biggest characters, Bayo Akinfenwa, and will be fronted by breakthrough sports presenter Harry Pinero. The star-studded cast will attempt to parallel park a single-decker bus in front of a goal as swiftly as possible, whilst an opponent bids to hit the back of the net as many times as possible

After Party Studios, the digital production company founded by Callux (Callum McGinley), will be responsible for content creation and distribution. The studio brings a wealth of experience, having worked with global brands, platforms, and commissioners to create original and branded content with the UK’s biggest online talent. Their vast network includes KSI, The Sidemen, Calfreezy, WillNE, and football creators like Chris MD, Manny, and Harry Pinero.

Joshua Barnett (no relation to Jonathan Barnett), MD at After Party Studios will head up the UMM operation, having been responsible for delivering market-leading content partnerships between publishers, platforms, and talent – including exec producing and distributing the KSI boxing documentary ‘Can’t Lose’ through Sony Pictures.

The UMM team also includes Christian Hurley (former Head of Strategy at Ball Street Network and XO) and Adam Boultwood (previously Head of Content at Football Daily and The Kick-Off). The duo can be credited with building some of YouTube’s biggest sporting properties in the past ten years (Football Daily, The Football Republic, XO, TKO to name a few).

Derek Holder, Investor and Adviser to UMM, said: “We know brands, athletes, and official bodies face the growing challenge of how to reach and engage with Gen-Z. We view that challenge as a big opportunity. UMM will be the place where sports stars and YouTuber’s collide in a Top Gear-esque environment – a potent mix for content-creation that humanises talent and gives fans a better view of their personalities off the pitch.”

Callux, real name Callum McGinley, said: “The impact sportsmen and sportswomen have achieved off-the-pitch this year has been truly inspirational and shows the positive impact athletes can have on people’s lives. As creators, we really feel the responsibility we have to our audiences and by joining forces with athletes, we can create something really unique that will connect with young fans. I’m excited about the content we have lined up, and believe UMM can become a real force for good.”

After Party Studios and UMM Managing Director, Joshua Barnett, said: “The recent success of Foot Asylum and Pro Direct turning their hand to YouTube demonstrates how brands can talk to this new generation. As a publisher in partnership with some of the biggest content creators and athletes on the planet, we believe we can take this to the next level. The priority is to build our brand and audience on YouTube, but our ambitions go well beyond any single platform.”