FloSports Raises $47 Million to Expand Streaming Sports Coverage
In Q1, the company grew subscribers and ARR by 50%.
Streaming sports service FloSports announced Monday that it raised $47 million in Series C funding, led by Discovery Inc. This additional funding will help the company enhance and expand its live digital sports coverage and original content. Additional financial investors include Causeway Media Partners, Fertitta Capital and DCM Ventures, and strategic investors include World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments.
This brings the total raised to date to $79.2 million. News of the funding round comes after FloSports’ impressive first quarter results in which net subscriber growth for the quarter was higher than all of 2018.
“We are excited to continue building on the momentum of our recent strong growth, including our best quarter ever,” said Mark Floreani, FloSports CEO and co-founder, in a June 3 news release. “With this new round of funding from our investors, we will further enrich underserved sports communities by broadening our existing coverage and expanding into new verticals.”
FloSports launched in 2006 as an early-adopter of the direct-to-consumer, over-the-top TV platform to cover underserved sports like wrestling, track and field, soccer, volleyball, rodeo, weightlifting, cycling and bowling that don’t receive as much media coverage as more popular sports.
Since its launch, FloSports has grown to a network of over 20 sites covering 25 sports and more than 10,000 events a year, offering live and on-demand sports coverage, documentaries, breaking sports news and more. FloSports “channels” like FloSoftball, FloCombat and FloGymnastics can be accessed through the FloSports app on Roku, Apple TV4 and iOS. Monthly subscription plans start at $12.50 per month. Annual subscriptions are also available.
“We are excited to continue our support for FloSports with this third investment by our fund,” said Mark Wan, managing director of Causeway Media Partners. “The team continues to build the next-generation sports media company we envisioned when we made our initial investment in 2014. This new round strongly positions the company to continue the growth of the FloSports portfolio in a way that provides the best experience to sports fans and value to rights holders.”
As the company continues to grow, it has added new deals which allow it to add more events to its coverage. In the first quarter of 2019, FloSports signed or extended 55 deals in which the company would become the primary media partner. Among the new partnerships is one with Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) where FloSports will broadcast more than 300 games live or on-demand. Other new deals include relationships with CONCACAF, Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), United World Wrestling, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), Atlantic Hockey, Hockey East, the German Bundesliga, and Eurosport.
“While live events are the center of our offering, original programming is a cornerstone—we’re committed to providing our subscribers with engaging content out of season,” Floreani said.
The FloSports content library includes more than 2,000 hours of premium content including studio shows, how to videos, professional athlete features and movies. In the last year, the streaming subscription service has grown the number of premium minutes watched by subscribers by 120%, which is likely to improve retention. Since launch, subscribers have live-streamed more than 1 million hours of content.
“As we continue to build a highly engaged audience, advertisers show increased interest in our unduplicated, passionate, digital-first communities,” Floreani said, “We are excited to further invest in new monetization opportunities around advertising.”
This is an impressive investment round for a 13-year-old company. It is not necessarily surprising, however, given the significant subscriber and ARR growth the company has seen over the last year and during the first quarter this year. The company has made a name for itself by covering sports that aren’t getting covered elsewhere and fans are responding favorably. The fact that the company has increased viewership by 120% is a testament to the content they are offering. They are filling a niche and, apparently, are doing it quite well.