German media company Bertelsmann invests in FloSports, an US-based online sports media network specialising in live events.
Through its Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) fund, the parent company of RTL Group participates in a $21.2 million (€19 million) financing round for the startup. BDMI and Silicon Valley fund DCM Ventures led the investor circle, with participation from media companies Discovery Communications and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) plus existing investor Causeway Media Partners.
FloSports focuses on live sports and currently operates a direct-to-consumer subscription-based network of 14 sports portals specialising in wrestling, grappling, boxing, volleyball and other sports. In recent months, FloSports has live-streamed events such as Europe’s Strongest Man, the European Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship and the 2016 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship.
“Media companies understand the ability of live events to attract and engage large audiences. The sports category is particularly powerful in live programming and FloSports captures the passion of athletes and fans by providing them with original content and real-time event coverage to create a single, separate online destination for each sport that offers news, results, commentary and every live match from the first round to the finals,” said Urs Cete, managing partner of BDMI.
“As part of a global media company, BDMI understands the importance of monetising online video and FloSports’ success in attracting paying subscribers from over 100 countries to their growing number of sports sites convinced us that this would be an attractive and highly relevant investment,” he added.
BDMI currently has stakes in almost 50 digital startups focusing on online video, ad tech, software as a service and publishing.