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Buzzer advances sports rights vision with $4m seed funding

Buzzer, a new mobile platform for live sports founded by Twitter’s former head of live sports rights acquisition, Bo Han, has advanced its development plans by closing a $4m (€3.4m) seed funding round.

The funding was led by New York-based venture capital fund Lerer Hippeau, and Sapphire Sport, a venture fund investing in the future of consumer experiences through personalisation, connectivity and digital commerce. Sapphire launched last year and its investors include City Football Group, parent company of English Premier League club Manchester City; and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).

Buzzer has also raised capital from investors including R&R Venture Partners and Imagination Capital, as well as leaders across the sports, media and technology industries. These include SoFi chief executive Anthony Noto, formerly chief operating officer of Twitter and chief financial officer of the NFL; former chairman and chief executive of Time Warner Richard Parsons; and former Twitter head of design and research Grace Kim.

Buzzer was founded earlier this year and its mobile platform aims to provide a seamless user and viewing experience by aggregating sports rights and content and allowing its users to set up customised notifications.

Users have the option to either authenticate an existing subscription through Buzzer or instantaneously make a secure micropayment to buy only and exactly what they want to watch.

Han, chief executive of Buzzer, said: “Our mission is to provide all sports fans, from the casual observer to the avid season ticket holder, unmatched access to personalised live sports action anytime, anywhere.

“With this investment, we are well-positioned to introduce an innovative way for fans to engage with the teams and athletes they love, and to mindfully build a product that creates complementary value for the industry by establishing a third category of sports rights – short-form live on mobile.

“The creation of this category, which sits in-between live long-form on TV and short-form near live clips on social and digital platforms, advances the existing ecosystem by creating awareness of these live games and enhances the value for existing media rightsholders.”

Michael Spirito, managing director of Sapphire Sport, added: “We are living in a world where the local, national and global media rights are still the norm, and in some cases are the only thing holding the global sport economic ecosystem together.

“The sports industry – now more than ever before – is in need of unique technology solutions like Buzzer. Buzzer’s platform creates strong partnerships with networks, leagues, teams and athletes alike in order to increase the overall value proposition for all stakeholders and make programs accessible to new consumers and demographics.”