Burgeoning digital sports network Whistle Sports announced they closed their Series B round of funding, raising $28 million led by Emil Capital Partners and featuring prominent athletes like Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning as investors.
The network launched in January 2014 and has experienced tremendous growth in only a year, with close to 13 million YouTube subscribers, while gaining 10 million new social followers across their platforms each month. The next closest sports YouTube channel is the NBA at close to six million subscribers.
Their most popular YouTube channel partner is Dude Perfect, the group of Texas A&M alums who got their start making ridiculous basketball trick shots. They have also begun forming content partnerships with professional athletes like Jeremy Lin.
The network’s revenue has been more than doubling each quarter and their videos have been viewed over two billion times. This can be attributed in part to the network’s popularity with the much sought after demographic for advertisers—young males (78 percent of their viewers are male).
Along with pro athlete content partnerships, Whistle Sports has partnered with nearly all major pro sports franchises, including the NFL, MLB, PGA Tour, and NASCAR. In an interview with Forbes, John West, the CEO of Whistle Sports, described the companies relationship with sports leagues, saying, “Each is a true partnership, in which they give us access to their libraries that we use to co-create content, and then we distribute that content on our platforms as well as theirs. Why did they all choose to partner with us? They’re losing young viewers and they have to adapt and evolve—we’re the vehicle to make that happen.”
With nearly 40 percent of their viewers from outside the US, the company has recently opened an office in London and is planning opening another in Latin America this year.
Given their amazing growth and plans to go international, Whistle Sports is now a giant in the digital media space, building in one year what took others like VICE years to do.
(Photo by George Bush Presidential Library and Museum via Flickr)