(Publisher’s note: Hoffarth confirmed to me that he verified Gray’s compensation for the LeBron “Decision” ESPN show via his own source before reporting the story. ESPN has also re-confirmed to me that it only paid Gray’s travel expenses.)
On July 9 I reported the financial details of the LeBron James ‘Decision’ production that was aired on ESPN and billed as a charity benefit.
After the show aired, Dawn C. Chmielewski of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported of the production’s financial haul:
ESPN agreed to donate the time, sponsors committed about $3 million — which Nike has pledged to match. Proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell also followed up the show with a report of his own:
As part of the partnership, ESPN turned over some of the advertising inventory in the show to James’ team to sell commercials to the likes of the University of Phoenix, Bing and Vitaminwater. James’ team said it would donate $2.5 million from the proceeds of the ads to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
So at the very least, we had a $500,000 discrepancy in the amount of money that sponsors pledged to charity and what the “James team” said would be donated.
So where did that $500,000 go? Read more…