Whistle Sports, the entertainment media brand that creates, curates and distributes content for young audiences, announced today it has raised over $28 million in funding. The Series D equity round in progress is led by Aser, a global investment company founded by Andrea Radrizzani. The round includes investments from Liberty Media, Emil Capital, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo and others.
“This is more than just an investment. It is an innovative collaboration with a leader in social content creation and distribution that will help Aser’s portfolio to engage these young audiences by creating exciting, engaging and positive content that today’s fans love to watch and share,” said Radrizzani, founder and chairman, Aser, and new member of the Whistle Sports Board of Directors.
Whistle Sports plans to use the proceeds of the investment in part to expand its catalogue of free and premium original content with brand partners and creators including Dude Perfect – the team behind the third most subscribed to creator YouTube channel – DevinSuperTramp, and The F2, among others, on both OTT and Whistle Sports distribution platforms.
The wider collaboration with Aser will extend to its subsidiaries including ELEVEN SPORTS, the leading global sports service founded by Aser in 2015, and will also accelerate Whistle Sports’ international expansion. Aser focuses on investment in media across a variety of platforms and adopts an innovative approach to content distribution to reach engaged and sought-after audiences globally. This is evidenced in the rapid rise of ELEVEN SPORTS, which has capitalized on changes in the production, distribution and consumption of sports content. In just three years, ELEVEN SPORTS is present in ten markets following recent moves to the UK, Ireland and Portugal. The execution of Aser’s investment in Whistle Sports has been led by Aser Capital, Aser’s merchant banking arm.
“We are thrilled to receive an investment from – and partner with – a leading edge, dynamic and like-minded company such as Aser,” said John West, founder and CEO of Whistle Sports. “We are looking forward to partnering with their invaluable global network and the key relationships they possess in important markets in Asia, Europe and around the world as we look to expand the Whistle Sports footprint. Today’s young sports fans have global interests, and with Aser, we can reach and engage them in new and exciting ways.”
Whistle Sports launched in 2014 and is now the leader in the sports lifestyle segment globally, targeting young, post-Millennials. The company’s aggregate social audience of over 450 million subscribers, followers and fans, last month viewed videos across the 2,000 channels in the Whistle Sports network 1.7 billion times. With a library of over 560,000 videos, Whistle Sports surpasses all other US sports social media accounts in video views and audience numbers. Whistle Sports has a rapidly growing revenue stream with a 52% year-over-year growth rate and 132% compound annual growth rate.
The capital raised augments previous funding rounds for a total of nearly $100 million, which comprises investments by NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Tegna and U.K.-based venture-capital firm Beringea.
Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor to Whistle Sports in connection with this financing transaction.