Asian Sports Programmer Aristocrat Strikes First Deals (EXCLUSIVE)

Aristocrat, a sports media and gaming company founded by multi-faceted media executive J. LaLonde, has struck deals with companies including Rakuten and Neo Studios to distribute its first content.

LaLonde is a New York-based former comedian and radio host who was also an executive at Mashable and Whistle Sports. He quietly launched Aristocrat a year and a half ago as a content producer with a focus on Asia-Pacific.

Neo Studios and Rakuten TV will distribute “The Giants,” a three-part docuseries directed by LaLonde and premiering this summer. The series focuses on Hawaiian-born sumo wrestling legends and the challenges they face moving up the ranks in Japan’s close-knit national sport.

Neo Studios is best known for its behind-the-scenes soccer-documentary “Take us Home: Leeds United,” which is currently distributed via Amazon Prime Video.

Aristocrat has also struck a pact with 1091 Pictures to distribute one of the largest sports film libraries in the world in select international territories. The first deal in this pact is an output deal with SBS Korea in South Korea that will see the distribution of more than 40 titles. 1091 Pictures, which has credits including “Life, Animated” and “Cartel Land,” is a company that was founded and later sold off by Sony Music Entertainment’s The Orchard.

Aristocrat has also recently closed a pre-seed round of funding that will allow for the production of a slate of sports documentaries focusing on superstar athletes and stories in primarily Eastern markets.

The slate includes a documentary, directed by Ryan Sidhoo (“True North”) chronicling mixed martial artist and CAA client Arjan Singh Bhullar as he vies to become the first Indian heavyweight champion in history.

“While the west has become saturated with sports content, Aristocrat is building content and distribution opportunities in nascent frontier markets,” said LaLonde, CEO of Aristocrat. “APAC is a burgeoning territory with a thirst for sports content, and there is endless growth opportunity for localized production and mobile games.”

“Aristocrat not only have the expertise in the business, but the genuine passion for telling stories that highlight the APAC region.” said Marquel Martin, combat sports agent at CAA Sports.

“We are happy to partner with Aristocrat for their expertise internationally and the sports genre in particular so that we can continue to expand foreign sales opportunities for our clients,” said Doug Shineman, chief revenue officer of 1091 Pictures.

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