Ahead of the NBA season’s tip, King James is expanding his endorsement empire. LeBron has invested in at-home smart gym company Tonal and will be the face of its upcoming campaign.
“To have LeBron James, one of the greatest athletes in the world, invest in Tonal is a pinnacle moment for us,” Tonal founder Aly Orady said in a statement. Financial terms of the partnership were not announced.
James has been a Tonal user, and his trainer, Mike Mancias, has advised the startup. The equipment’s popularity exploded during the pandemic, leading to a $250 million Series E raise in March that valued the California firm at $1.6 billion. Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald and Sue Bird were among the round’s investors, joining existing athlete-stakeholders like Stephen Curry and Serena Williams.
“Professional athletes have always been an organic part of our brand DNA, going back to our original investment round,” Tonal CMO Christopher Stadler said in an interview.
James has smartly navigated the sponsorship market en route to becoming the NBA’s first billion-dollar active player. Five years ago, he signed a “lifetime” contract with Nike, while earlier this year he dumped Coca-Cola after nearly two decades to rep PepsiCo.
“I think he’s been very selective and choiceful about who he partners with,” Stadler said. “They’re classic, iconic brands that we’re happy to be associated with in the family.”
As part of a “360-degree” partnership, Stadler said James will work with Tonal on its product development, social content and workout programs in addition to the ad campaign.