Dog who sat courtside at Lakers game won $1.5 million this year, owner says

The dog that won a dance contest at Monday night’s Lakers-Knicks game in Los Angeles provided more than a surreal moment that went viral.

It was a branding opportunity.

A goldendoodle named Brodie sat courtside at the Arena in an appearance designed to raise the dog’s profile and the value of the already lucrative influencer’s pet.

Brody has made about $1.5 million this year from brand partnerships with companies such as Celsius and Viacom and social media revenue, according to owner Cliff Brush Jr., who prefers to be known as Brody’s father.

“Whatever he wants, he gets,” Brush said of the 4-year-old service dog.

While Brody earns the living, Brush plays a vital role: He creates the content, often funny videos, for the dog’s social media accounts, which have attracted some 15 million followers.

The Lakers game was his last visit to a professional sporting event.

Brash and his dog, who live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, have the bases covered, so to speak. In a Florida Marlins game last season, Brush threw the first pitch and Brody brought it in. They made their NBA debut against the Miami Heat last season and are scheduled to make their NHL debut against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

At the Lakers game, Brody sat next to actors and married couple Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. Images of the 80-pound dog sitting on Brush’s lap and under his seat went viral online.

“We’ve done a lot of things that have gone viral,” Brush said of previous appearances, “but this seems to be next level.”

How did Brody become a celebrity?

Brush, 33, and Brody’s lives came to a crossroads in 2021.

At the time, Brush was working as a budget analyst for the City of Boca Raton. He said his boss noticed he was spending more and more time creating content for Brody’s social media platforms and less and less time at his full-time job.

“She brought me into her office and asked me if this is what I wanted to do,” Brush said. “He kind of politely gave me an ultimatum. And I wasn’t happy with the 9-to-5 life.”

So, Brush said, he quit his job, gave up a corporate career that had paid him between $65,000 and $75,00 a year and became a full-time content creator for Brody.

“It was the best decision of my life,” he said.

Brody’s following swelled as Brush released videos, including ones showing Brush and Brody together jet-skiing, cycling, swimming, driving exotic vehicles, frolicking in the snow, fishing and mix with athletes.

“He’s my best friend, without a doubt,” Brush said.

But not everyone is a fan. On Brody’s Instagram account, ghutybuick wrote: “Dude is using his dog to promote himself and make money off of it through social media. You need a lot of help, little boy.’

No matter. About a year and a half ago, Brush hired Brody’s manager, AJ Nubla, who helped get Brody to appear at a Lakers game.

How does Brody make money?

The Lakers game helped demonstrate how the business works for Brody and Brush.

Bibigo, a South Korean food company that is the jersey sponsor of the Los Angeles Lakers, provided the courtside tickets for Brush and Brody’s manager.

In exchange for the tickets, Bibigo will receive a branded poster featuring the image of Brody and company. The Dog has done similar deals with companies like Subaru.

“We work together with the brand to put together a video that combines what they want in the content creator’s typical organic content,” said Nubla, Brodie’s manager.

Lakers courtside tickets provided more than a chance to watch Lakers superstar LeBron James and other players. During the game, Brush and Nubla captured the dog on video – including when Brody won a dance battle against humans. (He dances with Brush’s help and drives the crowd crazy.)

Brush went live on Instagram and later posted videos on Brodie’s social media accounts, which Brush said generated $400,000 in revenue from the social media platform last year in addition to about $1.1 million in brand partnerships.

Brody also makes appearances at charity events, including a recent one at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.

Why is Brody a service dog?

In his mid-20s, Brush said, he was diagnosed with lichen planus, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation leading to a rash that can affect the skin, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Brush said there is a severe version.

“And we kind of narrowed it down to it being stress-related,” he said.

He later said he bought a champion golden retriever, named her Luna and put her in service dog training. But she wasn’t the ideal candidate.

“She doesn’t look like Brody,” Brush said. “She doesn’t cooperate, she doesn’t like to shoot content.”

In 2020, Luna gave birth to a litter that included Brody.

“I delivered it,” Brush said. “So I’ve known him since day one and I think that’s helped with the special bond that we have.”

Brody began working as a service animal in 2021. Since then, Brush said, he hasn’t had a flare-up of lichen planus.

They’re almost always together, except for Brush’s trips to the gym and first dates. On Wednesday, they flew from Los Angeles to Toronto for a vacation. They will be staying at the Hilton, another one of their brand partners.

“So this is Brodie’s first international stint,” Brush said. “I’m curious to know what the love for him is here.”

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