Bloomberg West: How Do Millennials Consume Sports Content

Whistle Sports Founder and CEO John West discusses the company’s sports programming focus on millennials. He speaks on Bloomberg West.

“As much as YouTube stars are an emerging force in media, most of these creators are realizing that they can’t survive on YouTube alone. To make the most of their content and influence, these people need to be active on numerous social networks.” This piece from the Wall Street Journal, looks at how networks such as Whistle Sports are engaging viewers on a multitude of social platforms.

Sky Sports and Whistle Sports have announced the launch of a new social media channel dedicated to creating original football content for young fans around the world.

“In the competition for digital video dominance, the Whistle Sports Network racked up a few touchdowns before its competitors even made it to the field. While new multichannel networks emerge on a regular basis, Whistle Sports remains largely unchallenged by other digital video startups. The sports world is still dominated by mainstream media outlets, such as ESPN, FOX and NBC, but Whistle Sports aims to build a sizable millennial audience on the back of shareable content like trick shots, behind-the-scenes athlete interviews and how-to videos. You’ll even see segments on Frisbee. “SportsCenter,” it is not.”

“One of the most intriguing entrants in this year’s NewFronts digital content and advertising series is Whistle Sports Network, a viral/social sports video media company that’s quietly raised $36 million in venture capital and amassed 72 million subscribers on various social media and online video channels. Of course, “quietly” only applies if you’re older than 25, which most ad buyers and marketers in attendance at the NewFronts are. If you’re under 25 and into sports, there’s a very good chance you know Whistle well.”

Whistle Sports EVP Brian Selander tells me that Verizon signed with Whistle to develop a slate of seven original series with an initial commitment of over 80 episodes in a “multi-million dollar deal.”  Selander tells me,“We launched our network to serve those with a mobile-first mindset in sports and entertainment.  Go90 gives our community unique new shows, new content, and a new way to engage.”

Fast Company selected Whistle Sports as one of the top 10 most innovative companies in 2015. They said, “For online sports content millennials can’t stop watching. The Whistle Sports Network launched on January 1, 2014 with a goal of providing sports content to young people that isn’t laced with scandal or peppered with ads for alcohol and violent movies. It’s hard for a new company to gain the rights to live sporting events, but the network doesn’t want them anyway. According to founder and CEO John West, its target audience—millennials—have an attention span for video of about seven minutes. To accommodate this, Whistle focuses on interactive short clips like how-to videos and behind-the-scenes athlete interviews. And in one year, the network amassed more than 1 billion views, 225 channel partners, and 13.5 million YouTube subscribers, making it the largest sports destination on YouTube.”