Lacrosse star Paul Rabil expands digital footprint, inks Amazon partnership

Tuesday January 10th, 2017

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A few minutes of speaking with Paul Rabil, and it’s clear the New York Lizards star midfielder isn’t your ordinary lacrosse jock.

Yes, he’s the face of U.S. professional lacrosse and one of the “drivers of an alternative niche sport,” as he described.

Still, the same influence and focus could be said online and across social, as the 31-year-old gets just as enthused discussing media impressions, podcasting, social and new forms of content creation. He’s strategic and more mindful than ever about how he grows and fine-tunes his digital footprint, one that stretches across social to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Unlike most athletes, Rabil has placed a focus on YouTube, sharing videos via his #AskPaul series, behind-the-scenes clips and even working with the sports entertainment and comedy group Dude Perfect for some trick shot magic.

Two years ago, the Johns Hopkins University graduate expanded his online presence even further, launching the Paul Rabil Experience to provide online video instruction, quick tips and nutrition advice to young lacrosse players. Once the subscription-based service was in full swing, Rabil and his marketing agent Erin Kane at Octagon, wanted to delve deeper into specific partnerships, with one of those being Amazon.

As Rabil explained, when he ventured to the West Cost in 2015 to visit some of the social companies and their headquarters, he struck up a good conversation with Charlie Neiman, who was then one of the sports partnerships and business development leads at YouTube. When Neiman made the move to Amazon last May, Rabil had already developed a rapport with Neiman. The two continued the creative partnership conversation and struck a deal late last year, which will now see the “Paul Rabil Experience” available through an Amazon Prime purchase.

In the future, as Rabil suggested, there may be a possibility to bundle the Experience together with other similar video content offerings across lacrosse or even leveraging it as an add-on product, with those conversations currently taking place.

“There’s a lot of indicators that over the next few years, 90 percent of purchases will take place online and a majority of that will live on Amazon,” Rabil said. “The value proposition is not only being a partner from a video content perspective…but to hopefully integrate into product purchases, specifically for lacrosse.”

He added that the partnership with Amazon is one of the first sports integrations with Prime as the technology giant’s interest in sports programming and live content has gained momentum over the past year. As Rabil continues to balance his social presence, a future podcast, the new relationship with Amazon and his play on the field, he’s constantly following the media landscape and how he can uniquely position himself in a crowded online sports ecosystem.

“I want to get as much face time as possible with these platforms, which I believe are the future of media and the future of marketing and paid marketing,” Rabil said.

“I want to put myself in a position that when (social/digital companies) start to roll out new products and services within their platforms, I can establish a rapport and be part of these pilot phases. That’s going to be beneficial for me in the long term. It’s looking at it from a strategic component.”

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