Sky makes strategic investment in sports MCN Whistle Sports
Joseph O'Halloran
| 29 October 2014
With the ultimate goal of increasing its reach and relevance to the coveted millennial audience, BSkyB has made a $7 million investment in YouTube multichannel network Whistle Sports.

WhistleThe MCN claims to be the first cross-platform entertainment network created to serve the "digital generation of fans and athletes". The network aims to use a combination of youth-orientated celebrities, "innovative" programming ideas and formats to make sport more accessible for younger audiences. It partners with online personalities who create "unique" online video content themed around sports, sports brands and franchises. It also works with sports leagues and franchises such as the NFL, PGA Tour, NASCAR and Major League Baseball Advanced Media to help them engage with younger sports fans, work, attempting to create viral video content using the Whistle Sports talent network along with sports stars and venues, to be shared across a number of platforms including YouTube and Xbox.

Having launched January 2014, it now boasts over 8.3 million subscribers and 190 channel partners who have an additional social media reach of over 20 million fans and followers. Furthermore the company says that its network's content library of over 28,000 videos has been watched over 1.25 billion times.

"This partnership is a tremendous fit for us, given our focus on international expansion," said Whistle Sports founder and CEO John West commenting on the deal. "Sky is a recognised leader in sports entertainment and delivery and brings to the partnership some of the highest quality creative and production teams in sports. We look forward to connecting them with our rapidly growing audience and community of creators."

For its part Sky added that its partnership with Whistle Sports builds on its on-going programme of investing in "innovative start-ups that help Sky bring new ideas, insight and services into its business." Indeed the new deal comes on the hells of recent investments in online video aggregator Pluto.TV, US ad tech firm Sharethrough, IP streaming service provider Roku, immersive 360 video specialists Jaunt and video delivery firm 1 Mainstream.

"Whistle Sports has very quickly established itself in the US as a major new sports network. We see lots of potential to harness Sky Sports' content and relationships with major sports bodies and brands to work alongside Whistle Sports' talent network," remarked Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis. "We look forward to exploring opportunities to collaborate on video content that helps broaden engagement in sport, especially for younger audiences." inShare0