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The Nation Network Launches “Hello and Welcome” with Will Lou & Alex Wong Presented by Betway

TORONTO , May 28 /Businesswire/ - The Nation Network (“TNN”), a leading sports and entertainment group delivering authentic sports coverage and serving communities of true fans across Canada, announced today the launch of Hello and Welcome with Will Lou & Alex Wong (“Hello and Welcome”), a video-podcast presented by leading global online betting and gaming brand, Betway. Hello and Welcome will produce daily coverage of both on- and off-court developments from around the NBA as well as host numerous community-centric events annually to continue to grow basketball fandom in Canada and beyond.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240528193083/en/

The Nation Network Launches “Hello and Welcome" with Will Lou & Alex Wong (Graphic: Business Wire)

The Nation Network Launches “Hello and Welcome" with Will Lou & Alex Wong (Graphic: Business Wire)

Will Lou and Alex Wong, Canada’s most followed basketball media personalities, will partner with TNN, already the leading source for independent hockey coverage in Canada, to super-serve hoops fans with exclusive interviews, pre- and post-game analysis, watch alongs, and more. For the 2024-25 NBA season, Will and Alex will host a three times weekly video-podcast series as well as 82 Raptors post-game shows, live on YouTube and distributed across all major social media and podcast platforms. Leading the production team is long-time basketball media producer, Jerome Cheng. Prior to joining The Nation Network as Editor and Lead Producer of Hello and Welcome, Jerome was a Senior Producer on The Athletic’s No Dunks, and a Creative Producer with both the Raptors and NBA TV Canada.

Following an official launch in partnership with Red Bull Canada, Hello and Welcome will produce a Toronto Raptors 2019 Championship retrospective content series featuring players from the title-winning team. Additionally, Hello and Welcome will cover the 2024 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, and Team Canada’s Men’s and Women’s preliminary contests against Team USA ahead of the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

Long-Term Ambassadors for Basketball in Canada

Will Lou and Alex Wong have been long-time collaborators in the basketball media space. The talent-producer duo first worked together at Yahoo Sports Canada, where they made an impact on Raptors fans with their popular “Kawhi Watch” free agency series and “Run It Back”, a weekly Raptors YouTube series. Will and Alex joined Rogers Sportsnet in 2019, and from 2021-2024 they ran The Raptors Show with Will Lou, which aired live on Sportsnet 590 The Fan – simulcast on television – and was consistently ranked as the most-streamed basketball podcast in the country.1

Will Lou has been a critical voice for some of the country’s most impactful sponsorship campaigns that blend sport and culture. Will has led engaging activations on behalf of major advertisers in the basketball space including KFC’s “KFCourt”, Campbell’s Chunky “Spicy Takes”, and Coors Light’s “Draught Draft”. Alex Wong has been a consistent presence in the Raptors community as both a writer and producer. Alex was formerly a producer on Serge Ibaka’s How Hungry Are You series during the 2019 championship season. Additionally, Alex helped launch Red Bull’s partnership with Pascal Siakam and has written two Canadian best-selling books, We The Champs and Prehistoric, and his editorials have been featured in The New York Times and GQ.

Since 2021, Will Lou and Alex Wong have collaborated with Raptors GM, Bobby Webster, and Raptors Forward, Chris Boucher, on Toronto-based charity events, and in 2022 they participated as in-arena colour commentators for the Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association’s celebrity basketball game featuring Simu Liu and Jeremy Lin. As hosts of Hello and Welcome and ambassadors for basketball in Canada, Will and Alex will leverage their networks to spotlight Canadian basketball culture, amplify underrepresented voices in sports media, enhance sports infrastructure through sponsored events, and invigorate basketball programs at the grassroots level.

“My mission has always been to deliver the best content for Raptors fans,” said Will Lou. “This is why I look forward to collaborating with Alex, who brings humour, perspective and ambition to the program. Additionally, Jerome is one of the most creative and accomplished producers in NBA media. In partnering with TNN, I truly believe this is the best way to build upon the independent coverage and commentary that Raptors fans expect from us.”

“Will and I have worked closely for a long time, but there is still so much we want to accomplish in the Raptors and basketball space,” said Alex Wong. “With Jerome joining our team and bringing his unique skillset to the show, and with the support of TNN, I’m excited to put together a program that’ll feel familiar to our dedicated listeners, but also new in many ways as we continue to push ourselves creatively.”

Basketball in Canada is experiencing significant growth, highlighted by the NBA increasing its Canadian viewership 11% from 2023 to 2024.2 Moreover, a record 27 Canadians, headlined by 2024 NBA MVP runner-up and Hamilton Ontario native, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, filled an NBA roster spot at the start of the 2023-24 season, underscoring the tailwinds in youth basketball and the rising popularity of the sport amongst Canadians.3

Building out a basketball vertical is core to TNN’s goal to become the largest sports media company in Canada. Founded in 2007 as a standalone Edmonton Oilers fanpage, TNN has grown to offer passionate sports fans a portfolio of more than 35 video-podcasts and 11 websites to engage. TNN now produces 45 hours of live content weekly, and generates more than 30 million podcast streams and 240 million pageviews annually.

TNN is a subsidiary of digital sports media group, Better Collective, which owns and operates sports media brands across the world. In addition to TNN, Better Collective is behind popular US sports media brands such as Action Network and Playmaker HQ, which produces The Big Podcast with Shaq, Roomates Show with Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, and The OG’s with Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. As part of Better Collective’s strategic push into the Canadian market, its Canadian office is currently constructing an expanded office and studio space in Toronto.

“The Nation Network has experienced significant growth over the past several years as a result of the core objective to deliver fans unrivalled sports content and experiences,” said Jay Downton, The Nation Network CEO. “Rooted in a dedication to creatively partner and collaborate with on-air talent, TNN continues to innovate sports media production. With a vision to become the leading digital sports media group globally, Better Collective has identified Canada as a key growth market, and now is the time to expand our offering with the country's most recognized basketball media personalities, and a premier partner in Betway that’ll engage fans through exciting activations deeply integrated within the show.”

 
1 Chartable, Basketball – Canada, 2021-2024
2 The Globe and Mail, Abdulhamid Ibrahim, 20 February 2024
3 CBC, Abdulhamid Ibrahim, 24 October 2023

 


STORY TAGS: Photo/Multimedia, North America, Canada, Contract/Agreement, Product/Service, Basketball, Casino/Gaming, Sports, Entertainment, Communications, Mobile Entertainment, Media, TV and Radio, Social Media, Podcast, Ontario,

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