The MCN space just isn’t cooling down — sports MCN TheWhistle, which claims to be the fastest growing sports-focused network on YouTube with 4M subscribers and 550M video views, joins the investment streak having raised another $10M. The round, led by Philly investors SeventySix Capital, ex-Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy, ex-Nickelodeon and Disney Cable president Gerry Laybourne, Clear Channel topper Bob Pittman, brings TheWhistle’s total funding to date to $18M. Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter, among other sports celebs, are also investors.
“When you look at key vertical markets, sports is an obvious one and TheWhistle is really ahead of the curve,” said Peter Csathy told VideoInk this morning.
EVP Brian Selander also tells us that the funding will go towards “building the team so we can really focus on signing channel partners and scaling the business now.” Headcount stands at 30 currently as the company aims to continue developing it’s multiscreen strategy, which includes a social fan community called MyLocker and a recently announced Xbox Live channel and app rolling out later this summer.
The company launched in 2012 with TheWhistle.com but expanded into the MCN game earlier this year with the launch of its YouTube presence, onboarding major channels like DudePerfect — the trick basketball dunkers that sped to viral success. And with former Google exec Julie Kikla at the helm of Head of Content Partnerships and Digital Strategy, the network has seen remarkable growth in a very short time.
TheWhistle also has a leg up in the game given its pro-league partners like NFL, mlbam, and Nascar. With an A-list of media and sports backers, TheWhistle is able to leap frog over its potential competitors in old and new media alike, including ESPN. Appropriately so, TheWhistle has already been positioned as an ESPN for kids, orienting its content around bite-size formats on all screens.
Expanding into original content is also a focus for TheWhistle though that vision is in early stages: