Beginning his career on television and the radio working internationally for ‘Disney Channel’ and ‘Radio Disney’, Joey Brander has always had an interest in being a helping hand in media. Brander, who is now a 24-year-old Boca Raton resident, has covered sporting events and he has also interviewed global icons for ‘CBS’ and ‘ESPN’. Taking his love of sports and media, Brander has teamed up with a network of athletes for a series of charity fundraiser streams for COVID-19 relief.
“One thing I have always heard from them [athletes] when I have asked for advice is the importance of using your platform to give back,” said Brander.
In 2009, Brander became the youngest person to co-host a ‘CBS’ television show in the United States. He followed that achievement by becoming the youngest to have their own weekly show on ‘ESPN Radio’, hosting ‘The Joey Brander Show’ from 2012-2014. With over a decade of experience, Brander decided on creating content that both entertains and gives back to the community.
“Now, because of COVID-19, I thought now would be a great time,” said Brander.
Brander decided he could help and be the co-founder of ‘First Serve Partners’, a venture capital firm that invests across sports, eSports, gaming, and media. Even though ‘First Serve Partners’ was created three years ago, Brander was determined to find a way to use his network as a way to create social good for those most impacted by the spread of COVID-19.
In the wake of a global pandemic and with traditional sports and entertainment on hold, Brander believed a series of celebrity charity gaming streams would be an effective way to boost the morale of families and even raise funds for the organizations that need it. Therefore, Brander aligned himself with the Toronto Ultra of the Call of Duty League and their partner charitable organization.
‘First Serve Partners’ has assembled an executive team, board, and investor base, which includes, NFL New Orleans Saints player multiple-time Pro Bowler Roman Harper, two-time Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster and TV personality Jenn Brown, and NBA Champion, All-Star, and Defensive Player of the Year, Metta World Peace. Bringing in a total of,
- 1 NBA Champion
- 1 NFL Hall of Famer
- 4 NBA and NFL First Round Draft Picks
- 10 Emmy Awards and an Oscar nominations
- 11 NFL Pro Bowl appearances
“I have been lucky enough to have gotten to know and learn from many of the most prominent athletes or leaders throughout my life,” said Brander.
This ability to spot trends of how young people are behaving and consuming drew him to become an early investor in eSports, one of the fastest-growing industries over the past two years. Notably, Brander and his team are investors in ‘OverActive Media’, and according to Forbes, it’s one of the top twelve eSports organizations in the world. As a result, Brander is part of the ownership group of eSports teams which have viewership that rivals leagues like the NBA, MLB, or NHL.
For the first stream, Brander called on two influential friends, Donovan Carter (Star of HBO show Ballers) and NFL running back Chase Edmonds (NFL Running Back) to game for charities of their choice. Brander and the First Serve Partners executive team have recently launched the First Serve Initiative, which has been going live.
“Business and entrepreneurship are team sports,” said Brander. “I believe that in the midst of such an unprecedented global tragedy, there are individuals out there who will find something to cheer for when watching our streams.”
Through this initiative, First Serve Partners, and its seasoned roster of business leaders, will be providing advice, consultation, best-practices, and introductions to sources of financing to local small-business owners who have seen their businesses struggle in the wake of the virus.
“Small business owners can discover a way to navigate through these uncertain times,” said Brander.”
Also, Brander will seek to raise money for the Initiative, which will be awarded as grants to business owners who have been hit the hardest.
Brander said, “I’m a native South Floridian in Boca who is just passionate about giving back to his local community and using his work to spark positive change.”