Innovation

How rapper turned sports podcaster Cam’ron leveraged passion and a 250k investment into a $20 million deal

BY Preta Peace Namasaba July 4, 2024 2:46 PM EDT

Consumers constantly need ingenuity, innovation, and a groundbreaking shift – be it in entertainment, technology, or even food. But how do you create something new and exciting when everything has already been done? You tweak it. Invention in the 21st century often involves revamping existing ideas by making both obvious and subtle changes to create a captivating and novel product. Rapper turned podcaster Cam’ron aka Cameron Giles exemplified this approach by investing $250,000 in a reinvented sports podcast model. He reaped big, ultimately securing a lucrative $20 million deal.

The most interesting part is that it all started with an argument.

After an intense back-and-forth phone call with a friend about sports, Cam’ron got the idea for his “It Is What It Is” podcast. He realized that most sports shows had similar formats, albeit having different personalities. Recognizing a viable business opportunity, he decided to invest $250,000 in building a professional studio. He set out to revolutionize the traditional sports show format, making it lively, fun, and unpredictable.

“All the sports shows to me were pretty much the same, and you had different personalities on shows, but the formats were pretty much the same. So what I did was I said I’m going to invest $250,000 into this project. I didn’t even have to spend 250,000, but that was the number that I said I’m gonna max out on. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” Cam’ron explained his decision to invest in the “It Is What It Is” podcast.

In February 2023, Cam’ron created the ‘Come And Talk 2 Me’ network where he launched the flagship series “It Is What It Is.” He hosted the first episodes of the show on his own, later inviting childhood friend and rapper Ma$e aka Mason Betha to join the podcast. The two Harlem rap legends reunited after a longstanding beef to reinvent themselves as sports commentators. They built on their popularity as hip-hop fans were familiar with their sports history, rap careers, and previous beef. Soon, brands were approaching Cam’ron and Ma$e about endorsements and sponsorship deals.

“I probably did four episodes, maybe five, and they offered me a million dollars and I was like, ‘No.’ And then we got to probably 10 episodes and it got up to like three million dollars, and I was like, ‘Oh, we got something here. We actually did 35 episodes, so we did a deal, but I probably spent $127,000 ’cause I just kept shooting and shooting, and Ma$e had this number in his head  When it got to like six million dollars, I was like, ‘Ma$e we got to— it doesn’t make sense to not do the deal. And he had a real number in his head. He’s like, ‘Cam, we got to [wait],’ so we end up doing [a] $20 million deal,” Cam’ron explained how he secured a $20 million deal.

The podcast hosts received a $1 million offer a few episodes into production. They went on to turn down the subsequent $3 million and $6 million deals. Cam’ron and Ma$e, however, had a particular number in mind. While they were flattered by the attention, the duo was seeking higher offers. They wanted a brand to offer them something unique, something they did not have.

In August 2023, “It Is What It Is” secured the eight-figure deal it had been waiting for. The podcast hosts signed a $20 million deal with Underdog Fantasy, a daily fantasy sports platform, for 18 months. In just a year, the network has garnered over 100 million views and more than 600, 000 subscribers on YouTube. It has become a premiere location for discussions around sports, and entertainment, launching “Es Lo Que Es,” a show which provides a Latinx perspective, “Ma$e, Fix My Situation,”  and “Come And Talk 2 Me.”

Cam’ron’s investments have paid off, a hundredfold.