Fresh off of a recent name change, Santa Monica-based digital media company Bullpen Sports Network Inc., which does business as Wave Sports and Entertainment, announced on Feb. 24 that it had lifted $27 million in a Series B funding round to accelerate its sports production. – thematic programming.
The company, formerly known as Wave.tv, produces video content under an array of digital brands. These video segments, which range from sports summaries to game analysis and news, are designed specifically for social media sites such as Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram.
Wave revealed its new name in December as it moved into a new headquarters and studio in Santa Monica. The company is now ready to take on traditional sports media with programming tailored to younger audiences consuming content on a range of online platforms, said Wave chief executive Brian Verne.
“We felt there was a really unique opportunity to democratize sports storytelling and elevate this next generation of faces and voices,” Verne said. “It’s a plan that worked incredibly well.”
Verne said Wave has already brokered deals with more than 100 rights holders, giving the company access to content from a range of sports leagues. These range from high-profile organizations like the Association of Tennis Professionals and Bellator MMA, owned by Viacom Inc., to smaller leagues and under-the-radar sports with more niche followings.
Videos produced by the company’s brands earn up to 7 billion views in a month, Verne said.
One thing Wave plans to invest its newly raised capital in is a proprietary content analytics platform that offers insights into content performance and trends in sports that may merit future coverage.
“It’s going to help our team be smarter about what we produce,” Verne said. “It’s about capturing different trends. Are there different topics that resonate more with our leagues and rights holders? We are trying to add a little more data into these processes.
The company also aims to capitalize on a growing interest in sports betting through potential partnerships with betting operators and by focusing on betting-themed programming.
More importantly, Verne said, Wave aims to bolster its roster of aspiring sports analysts and personalities who power its original programming.
“We live in a creator-driven, talent-driven economy,” Verne said. “Every day we have our talent shooting shows… We’re going to keep doubling and tripling on that.”