Matisse Thybulle on the court

Access All Areas: The rise of athlete-owned content

Athletes have always been in the spotlight but lately, we’ve seen a shift in the content which cuts out the middle man.

Top-tier athletes such as Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, McLaren Racing’s Lando Norris and 2-time Open champion Padraig Harrington have all been upping their social media presence over the last few months rather than relying on their clubs and sponsors.

For the NBA, life in ‘the bubble’ has begun and players have been bringing fans unprecedented access to real-time behind-the-scenes of their journey. The lack of media presence compared to usual means their commitment to press, interviews and sponsors has significantly decreased, opening up an opportunity for their own content, and personalities, to shine through.

Enter; Matisse Thybulle.

Matisse Thybulle on social media

King of keeping himself entertained during lockdown, he initially found TikTok where, when he wasn’t dribbling around his apartment in his full Philadelphia 76ers uniform, he was building toy cars out of Legos.

Bringing in an impressive 1.2M likes to his platform, the rookie guard has now become the breakout star of the #NBA bubble giving fans the inside scoop on the jokes, games and Rubix cube antics at Walt Disney World in Florida.

His first vlog entitled “Welcome to the Bubble,” began to go viral soon after he uploaded it to YouTube and has clocked up almost 1M views. Thybulle is doing it all: filming, directing, editing as well as taking on a starring role alongside his teammates.

This type of insight into athletes always wins.

Last week’s entertaining post-match interview from Wycombe Wanderers ’ Adebayo Akinfenwa urging Jürgen Klopp to give him a call is the light-hearted interaction fans want to see.

With many players in the NBA seemingly leading the way in happily taking part in this unfiltered access, much to their fan’s delight, it’ll be interesting to see if this carries through to other sports teams in the future during their respective leagues.