NEW YORK, NY, Whistle Sports, a media startup, has raised $27.5 million in from Beringea, TEGNA Inc, NBC Sports Ventures, Sky and Emil Capital.
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Venture and growth investor Beringea has put $4.6 million into Whistle Sports, a digital entertainment media company. The investment is part of Whistle Sports' recently-concluded Series C, with Beringea joining leading names in sports broadcasting and digital media in a round worth $27.5 million in total. Other investors in the round include TEGNA Inc., NBC Sports Ventures, Sky, and Emil Capital.
Since launching in 2014, Whistle Sports has grown its audience to more than 300 million subscribers, followers, and fans across all social media platforms - including an audience of more than 45 million in the UK alone - by catering to previously unmet needs of millennial sports fans. As a global sports media company, Whistle Sports curates and distributes highly engaging content across social, digital, over-the-top, and television platforms. The formula has brought the company rapid growth, winning more than 2.5 million new users every week. Content delivered by Whistle Sports receives nearly two billion views every month across all platforms.
This announcement follows a year of momentum for Whistle Sports that saw the company secure a range of new content deals and accolades. As well as launching 'Unseen Hours', a behind-the-scenes look at the training regimes of up-and-coming professional basketball players, the company also benefited from key partnerships with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Verizon go90, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. As a result, Whistle Sports was ranked as the most-followed sports media brand on social media by social media analysis firm Shareable, while continuing to expand its content distribution footprint to digital, over-the-top, and television platforms.
Beringea's investment will support Whistle Sports as it aims to accelerate revenue growth while maintaining the rapid expansion of its user base. John West, founder and CEO at Whistle Sports, said: '2016 was a hugely successful year for us as we connected fans with the sports they love in new and exciting ways and helped athletes, teams, leagues, and brands develop deeper relationships with those fans. Backed by this new investment, we are excited about building on this success and continuing to grow in 2017 and beyond. In particular, we look forward to further developing our analytics practice to provide brands with the detailed insights they need to better understand and engage with millennial sports fans.'
Karen McCormick, partner and Chief Investment Officer at Beringea, said: 'The way that sport is broadcast and consumed has changed significantly in recent years, becoming more brand-led and interactive. Meanwhile, the way in which consumers interact with their favourite brands continues to evolve, with social and video content increasingly important to building and sustaining relationships. Whistle Sports' passionate and dynamic team operates at the intersection of these two trends, and we are excited to help them drive continued user engagement and revenue growth with this investment alongside some heavy hitters in sports and media.'
This investment builds on Beringea's long track record of backing innovative digital media companies. In October 2016, Beringea announced it had invested in TVPlayer, the UK's leading television livestreaming platform, in a 5 million pounds round alongside award-winning US-based global media company A&E Networks. Also in October, Beringea led a 3 million pounds Series A for Honeycomb, a television and video advertising management platform. Beringea also invests in a range of promising high-growth companies across other sectors, including business software and services and consumer products.
About Whistle Sports
Whistle Sports creates, curates and delivers compelling sports content for fans and brands across multiple social, digital and TV platforms. Since its formal launch in 2014, Whistle Sports has built an active, global community with 400 of the world's most engaging sports content creators that now encompasses over 170 million aggregate subscribers, fans and followers with a growth rate of over 2 million a week. The company's investors and equity holders include TEGNA Inc, NBC Sports Ventures, Sky, Liberty Global and Emil Capital, as well as multiple professional sports leagues.
Beringea is a venture and growth capital investor in high growth businesses, with 450m punds ($600m) under management and 60 portfolio companies. Based in London, UK, and Michigan, U.S., Beringea is able to invest between £1m - £20m into businesses looking for a supportive growth partner.
With 170m pounds managed from London, and over 40 portfolio businesses, Beringea's UK team manages one of the country's biggest evergreen venture and growth capital funds. The team of highly experienced investors has a great track record across a variety of sectors, and has demonstrated a consistent ability to identify winning companies and outstanding management teams.