Wave Sports + Entertainment, which publishes sports-related content across an array of social platforms, has raised a $27 million Series B round as it focuses on developing talent-led original programming.
WSE (previously known as Wave.TV) operates 20 specific brands like Buckets, Jukes, Haymakers, etc. and boasts 110 million total followers.
“When we identify a new fandom or a new subculture or category to enter, because we have this kind of blueprint of sorts,” CEO Brian Verne said, “it enables us to… repeat that tried and true process to get a pretty sizable footprint in fairly short order.”
TZP Group led the round, joined by Crossbeam Venture Partners, GPS Investment Partners, Verance Capital and Nimble Ventures. Giannis Antetokounmpo is also included as a strategic partner. Wave’s previous investors include Baker Mayfield and Jay Williams.
WSE also announced that media veteran Rich Battista would become executive chairman of the company’s board of directors. He previously was CEO of Time Inc. and before that oversaw Fox’s portfolio of sports and entertainment cable channels. Battista is currently an MLB Players Inc. board member.
“WSE has a thorough grasp on the rapidly evolving media consumption habits of younger sports fans, making it uniquely positioned to reshape sports media for the next generation,” Battista said in a statement.
When WSE raised its Series A in Feb. 2020, it garnered a $10 million equity round to go with debt financing; the newest round is all equity. The company did not disclose its most recent valuation.
“When you hit that kind of inflection point and you’re really looking to evolve and grow and both enter and capitalize on new opportunities,” Verne said, “Rich’s experience when it comes to original programming, IP development, and the overall commercialization of that programming was very much aligned with how we’re thinking about expanding and moving into new platforms and new formats.”
WSE has expanded from sharing highlights and viral clips to producing more original content. Recent talent deals include football commentator Lucy Rohden, NBA creator Nick Henkel, soccer voice Noah Alami, and others. With the new funding, WSE also plans to put an emphasis on creating more betting content, and on developing its content management platform.