High school sports fans will cheer on PlayOn! Sports‘ new infusion of cash. Just before the holidays, PlayOn announced it had raised $25 million in Series B funding led by venture investment firm BIP Capital. New investors who also participated in the funding round include Jeff Vinik, Teall Capital and Crossover. The Atlanta-based PlayOn will use the capital grow the company by deploying new technology and making additional investments in products and automated marketing infrastructure.
PlayOn, a high school sports media company, partnered with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), member state high school associations and the NFHS Network to create the Pixellot automated production solution to help American high schools livestream their sporting events.
Three years into the business, there are now 4,000 Pixellot units in high schools streaming more than 150,000 live games per year. The NFHS Network livestreams 27 different regular and postseason sports, including football, baseball, basketball, swimming and diving, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading and dance, ice hockey and soccer and other high school activities. The games and events are monetized using the subscription model. According to the announcement, subscription revenue has increased more than 100% year-over-year.
“In addition to our returning and long-time investor BIP Capital, we're excited to partner with Jeff Vinik, Teall and Crossover on our journey to ultimately livestream every high school sports event,” said David Rudolph, founder and CEO of PlayOn. “This new capital will enable us to grow even faster by doubling the number of schools using automated production within the next 12 months.”
Mark Buffington, co-founder and CEO of BIP Capital, also commented on the new investment.
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“PlayOn has evolved into a truly exceptional company. We're proud of what they have built in partnership with the NFHS, its member state associations, and high schools,” said Buffington. “By aggregating high school media rights through the NFHS Network, state associations have made it possible for fans and their families to stream any sporting event to any connected device. In addition, the network's revenue sharing program allows high schools to extend the values and support the costs of amateur student-athleticism.”
The Pixellot device is fully automated, using auto-tracking to follow the action, including panning and zooming. It requires one-time installation and no recurring costs for the equipment. The technology allows participating high schools to stream automatically without a camera operator or technician having to be involved. Participating schools events are streamed on their own branded web page and it can be integrated with coaching software.
Heres a testimonial from one of the schools that uses the equipment.
How cool is this? This is a great opportunity for schools to livestream their games for those who cant watch the events in person – parents, siblings, classmates, grandparents, faraway relatives and others. It is also a great scouting and coaching tool. And, of course, we love that it utilizes the subscription model that can be scaled along with its operations. Having ongoing income will help the company become and remain sustainable once it has enough schools using the equipment and service. PlayOn saw an opportunity and a need, and it jumped to meet that need. We cant wait to see how this company grows in the new year.