WAVE.tv eyes company acquisitions after $32m funding round

WAVE.tv, the California-based sports media company, has closed a Series A funding round worth $32m (€27.6m) to help build its roster of media brands and acquire companies.

The funding round, made up of both equity and debt, was led by venture capital firms CoVenture and GPS Partners and also involved existing investors Golden Ventures and Sweet Capital, along with new investors.

It follows previous investment rounds that raised a total of $6.8m.

WAVE.tv, which was founded in 2017, said that the funding injection would allow it to “grow the business into a comprehensive sports entertainment company with an eye for continued category and platform expansion, IP and talent development, e-commerce, acquisitions, sports betting, and more”.

The new funds would specifically be used to “expand its roster of media brands onto new platforms and launch new media brands in categories of fandom not yet represented in their portfolio”.

WAVE.tv added: “Utilising a two-pronged approach, they will organically build new media brands and/or acquire companies that have their own distinct voices and identities in genres and fandoms WAVE.tv has identified as growth areas.”

Brian Verne, co-founder and chief executive, remarked: “At the next stage of our business we’re focused on expanding our portfolio of media brands onto new platforms. We’ll launch new ones within fandoms that we view as underserved, diversifying our programming formats, and (developing IP within) entering complimentary areas of the ecosystem that can benefit from our core underlying currency, attention.”

The closing of the funding round comes shortly after WAVE.tv signed a content agreement with the Endeavor-owned IMG agency. As part of that agreement, WAVE.tv gained broad access to distribute content from IMG’s sports rights portfolio, including World’s Strongest Man, Edge Sport and Euroleague Basketball, across Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube.

The properties will air on WAVE.tv’s media brands, including WAVE TV, Benchmob, The Pump, Buckets, No Limits, and more. Both parties will share advertising revenues. In addition to distributing the sports content, WAVE.tv is to take ownership of direct and programmatic sales related to the deal.

SportBusiness understands that the Endeavor-owned Ultimate Fighting Championship and Professional Bull Riders are not part of the initial deal with IMG but the properties are being considered as future additions to the content tie-up.

WAVE.tv boasts 3.2 billion monthly views and claims to reach over 200 million sports fans each month.