In episode seven of our 16-part Complex Conversations series that took place at our first annual ComplexCon, we shine a light on the evolving approach to sports media with a panel discussion titled, “The Future of Sports Media,” hosted by journalist and host of ESPN’s The Jump, Rachel Nichols. 

Panelists include Mav Carter, who is the longtime business manager of LeBron James and CEO of Uninterrupted, professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, and filmmaker and author Gotham Chopra, who discuss the ways in which access to athletes has changed over the last few years, and for the better.

Through social media and companies like Uninterrupted and The Players' Tribune, it’s clear fans are hungry for access to their favorite athletes, and now they have that more than ever.

This acceleration of access has benefited athletes like Rodriguez, who can now forgo what was once considered the traditional media route and deliver a message straight to his followers. “[Athletes’] Instagram or social media now has more circulation than these magazines that we’re used to being displayed to,” Rodriguez says. “I can have a cover of a magazine five, six times a day if I want just by posting on Instagram.”

As far as what kinds of stories are told, Carter explains athletes and the people who are helping shape these stories need to keep it as authentic as possible. “You always have to let the story and the content lead. That will tell you where it should go,” he says. “For their sake, it’s better to tell the most authentic and the most insightful and the most entertaining story.”

Check out our latest episode of Complex Conversations above, and for more episodes, visit here. Also keep it locked to Complex for more panel discussions as we roll out the rest of the series.