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Whistle Sports Raises $20 Million from NBC Sports, Tegna and Others

Digital sports-media company Whistle Sports is grabbing more money from traditional media players, with a $20 million Series C round from investors including NBC Sports Ventures and Tegna (formerly Gannett Co.).

The round brings New York-based Whistle Sports to $60 million funding raised to date. Also participating in the latest round are previous investors Sky, the U.K. satellite TV operator, and Emil Capital Partners.

Other Whistle backers include John Malone’s Liberty Global; former New York Yankee Derek Jeter; recently retired Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning; Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel; Geraldine Laybourne, former head of Oyxgen Media and Nickelodeon; and SeventySix Capital.

Whistle Sports, launched in January 2014, now has a network of 400 sports content creators, delivering video across YouTube and social, digital and TV platforms. The company claims it has 170 million aggregate subscribers, fans and followers with a growth rate of 2 million per week.

“Whistle Sports has successfully captured the imaginations, attention and engagement of millennial sports fans, and consistently delivers compelling content and options to brands and agencies eager to connect with that critical and growing demographic,” Rick Cordella, NBC Sports Group senior VP and g.m. of digital media, said in a statement.

For Tegna, which operates 46 TV stations in the U.S., the investment in and strategic partnership with Whistle Sports “will not only enable both of our companies to reach valuable new audiences, it will also combine our respective expertise to create more innovative content and advertising solutions,” Tegna president and CEO Gracia Martore said.

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