Wave Sports Tailors Programming for Social Platforms

Wave Sports Tailors Programming for Social Platforms

Fresh off a recent rebrand, Santa Monica-based digital media company Bullpen Sports Network Inc., which does business as Wave Sports and Entertainment, announced Feb. 24 that it has raised $27 million in a Series B funding round to accelerate production of its sports-themed programming.
The company, formerly known as Wave.tv, produces video content under an array of digital brands. These video segments, which range from sports highlight reels to game analysis and news, are designed specifically for social networking sites like Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram.
Wave revealed its new name in December at the same time as it moved into a new headquarters and studio in Santa Monica. Now the company is ready to take on traditional sports media outlets with programming tailored to younger audiences who consume content on a range of online platforms, Wave Chief Executive Brian Verne said.
“We felt there was a really unique opportunity to democratize sports storytelling and to elevate this next generation of faces and voices,” Verne said. “It’s a blueprint that has worked incredibly well.”
Verne said Wave has already negotiated deals with over 100 rights holders, giving the company access to content from a range of sports leagues. These range from high-profile organizations like the Association of Tennis Professionals and Viacom Inc.-owned Bellator MMA to smaller leagues and under-the-radar sports with more niche followings.
Videos produced by the company’s brands earn up to 7 billion views in a month, Verne said.
One thing that Wave is planning to invest its newly raised capital in is a proprietary content analytics platform that offers insights into how content is performing and which trends in sports might be worthy of future coverage.
“This is going to help our team be smarter about what we’re producing,” Verne said. “It’s about picking up on different trends. Are there different topics that are more resonant when it comes to our leagues and rights holders? We’re trying to add a little more data into those processes.”
The company also aims to capitalize on a growing interest in sports betting through potential partnerships with betting operators and a focus on betting-themed programming.
Most importantly, Verne said, Wave aims to bolster its roster of budding sports analysts and personalities that drive its original programming.
“We live in a creator-driven and a talent-driven economy,” Verne said. “On a daily basis we have our talent shooting shows … We’re going to continue to double and triple down on that.”

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