Whistle Sports, a multichannel sports-programming aggregator, said today it has raised $28 million in Series B financing from entities including Liberty Global and Sky Broadcasting. It said Emil Capital Partners, an affiliate of the Tengelmann Group, led the round, which also included investors from the $8 million Series A completed in 2012, notably former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
The multichannel sports programmer -- targeting young viewers through such outlets as YouTube and Facebook -- partners with pro sports, Olympic franchises and emerging YouTube sports creators. Content partners include the NFL, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the PGA Tour, and NASCAR, while YouTube sports partners include Dude Perfect (pictured), Brodie Smith and U.K.-based soccer experts STRSkill School.
“This latest investment reflects our commitment to partnering with entrepreneurs that are creating valuable consumer-focused companies,” Andreas Guldin, CEO of Emil Capital Partners, said in a release. “Whistle Sports is changing sports media consumption habits and have become the destination for millions of young millennial sports fans around the world. Partnering with them to continue their impressive growth trajectory is a strategic win for us.”
“Whistle Sports fits our investment criteria, as they are truly game-changing with great teams, strong partners and demonstrated leadership in their field,” Simon Freer, chief commercial officer at international pay-TV operator Liberty Global, said in the release. "We've kept a close eye on the company’s rapid international expansion and are excited to be part of their dramatic growth."
The Whistle Sports library has more than 35,000 videos covering a wide variety of sports and include trick shots (this Dude Perfect Facebook video of archery stunts has drawn more than 13 million views since November) intended to entertain and be shared. Whistle Sports launched a multi-channel network on YouTube in January 2014 that now has scaled 12 million subscribers and 225 channel partners whose videos have been viewed more than 2 billion times. Expanding to other social video platforms including Facebook, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter has extended the reach to 50 million, growing by more than 10 million each month, it says.