Wave.tv has secured $32 million in a Series A funding round. The digital media company plans to use the funding to license, launch and acquire new sports media brands to repackage archival content for social and digital channels.
The company, incorporated as Bullpen Sports Network Inc., is valued at between $50 million and $100 million, Ishaan Sutaria, president of Wave.tv, told multiple media outlets.
Wave.tv was founded in 2017. The company built 18 digitally native media brands around sports fandoms, including: soccer, football, basketball, hockey, baseball, combat sports, fitness and weightlifting — as well as nontraditional sports like wood-chopping, badminton and fan-submitted home sports videos.
The company partners with over 65 leagues and rights-holders to repackage sports content into new programming distributed via the digital brands.
Consumption of sports content “has shifted from TV to core and emerging social+ digital platforms like Snap, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YT, etc,” CEO-cofounder Brian Verne wrote in a post. He added: “Fandoms + Formats + IP = new hit programming.”
In his note, Verne stressed the importance of Wave.tv's core purpose: "Champion Fandom. Fandom gives people a voice. Fandom gives people a community and a sense of belonging. Fandom allows you to explore other worlds.”
Wave.tv claims it increased viewership and doubled its monthly revenue since March. Focusing on niche sports and off-the-field videos featuring athletes and fans have been particularly successful.
Since the pandemic began, most of Wave.tv’s viewers are watching nontraditional sports content.
The company shares its ad revenue with content partners.
“With the new funding, Wave.tv will grow the business into a comprehensive sports entertainment company with an eye for continued category and platform expansion, IP and talent development, eCommerce, acquisitions, sports betting, and more,” Verne said.
The funding round was led by new backers CoVenture and GPS Investment Partners, with participation from existing investors including Golden Ventures and Sweet Capital.