Whistle Sports Scored 20 Million Series C Funding
Tegna Inc., NBC Sports Ventures, Sky and Emil Capital raised $20 million in Series C investment for Whistle Sports. The startup has been a leading digital sports entertainment company and has attracted millions of viewers worldwide.
Founded in New York in 2009 by John West and Jeff Urban, the company targeted milennials as customer-base in cross-patform streaming service of sports and entertainment. Within first year of operation, the company claimed to attract 50 million fans and followers in social media. It also boasted a 2.5 million weekly growth rate for its social media fan base.
Whistle Sports compiled 400 of the world's most engaging digital and social media sports stars. Based on that massive media library, the company creates a cross-platform content which shared actively by its community of fans and followers. As for now, the community has achieved 170 million people.
On Thursday, the company received its Series C financing led by NBC Sports Ventures with participation from TEGNA Inc., Sky and Emil Capital. Both NBC and TEGNA are the new investors, while Sky and Emil have invested in previous Series B round.
TEGNA Inc President and CEO Gracia Martore praised the company's achievement, "Whistle Sports has activated and inspired a new generation of sports fans and followers. Our strength in distribution coupled with their innovative content, will create numerous opportunities for both companies to grow across platforms," as quoted by Business Wire.
"This investment and strategic partnership will not only enable both of our companies to reach valuable new audiences, it will also combine our respective expertise to create more innovative content and advertising solutions."
Variety also cited the statement from NBC Sports Group senior VP and GM of digital media Rick Cordella, "Whistle Sports has successfully captured the imaginations, attention and engagement of millennial sports fans, and consistently delivers compelling content and options to brands and agencies eager to connect with that critical and growing demographic."
Whistle Sports launched its Multi-Channel Network in January of 2014, which quickly ascended to over 12.4 million subscribers on YouTube. The channel contain a library of 38,000 videos that had been viewed over 2.3 billion times. Since then, the Multi-Channel Network has also partnered with major brands like LG, Wilson and Subaru.
The company also expanded its original programming and launched five exclusive series on Verizon's mobile-first platform, go90.
"This round is about getting us scaled up to serve full growth size and getting profitability," founder and CEO John West told CEO told Mashable in a phone interview. "And also to continue to sort of take advantage of the market position we have as a leader in engaging young millennial sports fans."
Tegna Inc., NBC Sports Ventures, Sky and Emil Capital raised $20 million for Whistle Sports. The new Series C funding will strengthen the company to expand its leading position in the digital sports entertainment.