SeventySix Capital has formed a second venture capital fund focusing primarily on sports betting. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Pittsburgh Pirates owner Robert Nutting, the state of Pennsylvania and a slate of pro athletes are investors in the fund.
“This next fund is an important milestone as we continue building SeventySix Capital as the go-to investment company in the sports industry,” said Wayne Kimmel, SeventySix Capital Managing Partner, in a press release. The new fund has closed on its initial investments and is expected to be $50 million when fully capitalized, according to a spokesperson.
The new fund aims to profit from the rise of legal online sports betting in the U.S., a market that could be as large as $22 billion when legalized nationally—26 states and the District of Columbia have some form of legal sports gambling today. The fast-growing segment almost equaled last year’s revenue in the first seven months of this year, according to data from the American Gaming Association contained in the release. SeventySix also expects to back companies in sports data and analytics and esports with the new venture.
In addition to investors Blank, a billionaire from co-founding Home Depot, and Nutting, a scion of the Ogden Newspaper family, the state of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority is putting $1 million into the fund, according to information contained in Pennsylvania’s investment tracking database.
Five pro athletes have also joined the SeventySix fund as investors: soccer player Alejandro Bedoya, former running back James Develin, Oklahoma football coach DeMarco Murray, Buffalo Bills wideout Emmanuel Sanders and retired Eagles running back Brian Westbrook.
The first SeventySix Capital fund probably raised $40 million, based on a 2017 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. SeventySix currently holds stakes in a number of companies, including C360, a sports broadcasting tech business; Diamond Kinetics, a baseball and software training technology maker; and Nerd Street Gamers, an esports events organizer.
SeventySix also closed out three ventures in 2021. In February, SeventySix sold Vigtory to Fubo for $10.3 million in cash and assumed debt, plus $27 million in stock to former Vigtory employee shareholders. In March, the fund sold Brent Musburger’s Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN) to DraftKings for $41 million in cash and 500,000 shares of DraftKings, worth about $29 million at the time. Also in March, SeventySix sold Team Whistle, a sports content house, to Eleven, a broadcasting effort founded by Leeds United majority owner Andrea Radrizzani. Terms of that deal aren’t disclosed.
“We share similar values and interests in entrepreneurship, the sports business and overall the drive to work hard to achieve lofty goals,” said Sanders in the release announcing the new fund. The SeventySix fund expects to announce as many as three new investments in the coming weeks, according to its spokesperson.