TEGNA Inc., NBC Sports Ventures, Sky and Emil Capital join latest funding round for digital sports media company with a social reach of 170 million fans and followers
NEW YORK – March 10, 2016 – Whistle Sports, a leading digital sports media content company and community focused on serving young millennial fans globally, announced today a Series C with funding from TEGNA Inc., NBC Sports Ventures, Sky and Emil Capital.
Whistle Sports brings together 400 of the world’s most engaging digital and social media sports stars and creates compelling cross-platform content with them that is actively shared and supported by a community of fans and followers. The community recently topped 170 million aggregate reach across all social channels and has been growing by more than two million a week. TEGNA Inc. and NBC Sports Ventures are new investors in the company. Series C participants Sky and Emil Capital announced a previous investment in the company in 2014 during its Series B.
“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,” said Gracia Martore, President and CEO of TEGNA, Inc. “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.”
“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,” said Rick Cordella, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group. “Whistle Sports has proven to be a reliablesource of original and creative content, and their data-driven approach to developing new audience insights sets them up for an even stronger future”
In the last year, Whistle Sports launched multiple new series on digital and linear platforms; delivered commercial content integrations and advertising campaigns for leading brands including athletic apparel companies, movie studios, food franchises and auto manufacturers; developed exciting content and social amplification for its existing pro league partners; and expanded its data analytics and insights practice to serve clients looking for research into millennial sports fans. The new funding will accelerate growth in each of those areas.
“We launched the company with the belief that young millennial fans were looking for new ways to engage with sports and built a team and community committed to serving them on the places and platforms where they were spending more of their time. I’m so proud of the incredible work they’ve done to deliver consistent growth in both audience and revenue,” said Whistle Sports founder and CEO John West. “We are thrilled by the enthusiasm, confirmation and commitment from these exceptional companies and their strong support for our continued growth.”
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.
TEGNA Inc. (NYSE: TGNA), formerly Gannett Co., Inc., is comprised of a dynamic portfolio of media and digital businesses that provide content that matters and brands that deliver. TEGNA reaches more than 90 million Americans and delivers highly relevant, useful and smart content, when and how people need it, to make the best decisions possible. TEGNA Media includes 46 television stations and is the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 markets, reaching approximately one-third of all television households nationwide. TEGNA Digital is comprised of Cars.com, the leading online destination for automotive consumers, CareerBuilder, a global leader in human capital solutions, and other powerful brands such as G/O Digital and Cofactor. For more information, visit www.TEGNA.com.
About NBC Sports Digital
A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Sports Digital services sports fans around the clock and on the go by providing an array of best-in-class products that include live video streaming, short-form videos, sport-specific websites, and fantasy sports information. NBC Sports Digital consists of 15 websites and 13 apps, and distributes its content across desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.