One of the country’s most famous sons is looking to bring his sports and entertainment company to The Bahamas following extensive talks with the prime minister. Rick Fox, former professional basketball player turned actor and businessman, has returned to his native land on the cusp of the country’s 40th anniversary – with an eye for investment. The well-known personality sat down with Guardian Business yesterday and reported significant progress in his meetings with Prime Minister Perry Christie, Minister of State for Investment Khaalis Rolle and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe. While he remained tight lipped on some specifics, he said that synergies with The Bahamas should be a slam dunk in 2013.
“Based on my discussions with the prime minister and members of his Cabinet, he expressed his openness and desire for me to do business here in The Bahamas. I was allowed to come in and present the things that I would like to see done. They were open to talking and exploring these opportunities with me,” he noted. “My brand is sports and entertainment. That has led into entrepreneurship. My dad was an entrepreneur at heart and I grew up in the Holiday Ice factory, learning his trade. My dad didn’t teach me how to play basketball. He taught me how to be a businessman.
It’s now time to put that to use.” Fox confirmed that the area of focus will be in film and television. Indeed, The Bahamas has a rich history of offering a pristine and exotic backdrop for the silver screen. A partnership with Fox could provide further international exposure for the country and employment opportunities. “There is a part of my business that lies in film and television. In the past, I have tried to find ways to explore developing shows and shooting content here at home. The backdrop here is just amazing. We have seen other studios and production companies come here and use The Bahamas as their backdrop for their TV shows and movies,” he explained. Fox stars in television hits like BET’s “The Game” and VH1’s “Single Ladies”. He hopes that these shows will use The Bahamas as a backdrop for some episodes.
“For the last 10 years, I’ve been working behind the camera. This is now a chance for me to bring projects that I’m working on both on and behind the camera. I’m on shows like ‘The Game’ and ‘Single Ladies’. These TV shows are now up and running again. I just shot six episodes of ‘The Game’ and we have another 11 to go. So I see an opportunity for that show that shoots in Atlanta, just come home here and create an episode or two. These shows that have huge audiences. I would like to explore as many islands in The Bahamas as possible.
I think we can structure a story line around island hopping.” Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of the Ft. Lauderdale-based Horizons Marketing Group, shared with Guardian Business that his company “uses the power of celebrities, in this case, sports, and make it a business”. “When you think about The Bahamas, we have so many notable athletes and business people. I think if you look at Rick Fox and other NBA players like Magic Johnson in particular, they have extended their brand into making it a very viable commodity,” he said. Ingraham pointed out how the sports industry could be worth billions of dollars to The Bahamas.
“In a tourism-based economy like The Bahamas, everything is measured in how much money is coming in terms of what occupancies are and so that when sports business is measured, it’s a multi-billion-dollar business,” he noted. “We have all of these athletes that are notable that are either Bahamian or of Bahamian descent that if you look at the business aspect, imagine what they can do as investors and role models.” Fox further noted to Guardian Business that another reason for his trip to The Bahamas has been to reconnect with his homeland. “I want to invest my life, time and partnerships here at home. It’s been a great one in the sense that I have gotten a chance to open up conversations and share the things that I am passionate about to those that are interested in exploring business together,” he added.
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