Sky is investing in Whistle Sports, a rising YouTube-based start-up that covers a range of international sports from NFL football to Nascar racing.
Described as the world’s largest sport-focused network, Whistle Sports consists of over 130 content creators and boasts over 8 million online subscribers.
Content includes locker room chats, trick shots, highlight reels and comedy sketches such as Bad British Commentary. We’re not sure what’s funnier, the comedic banter or the fact that Americans have actually turned frisbee throwing into a professional sport.
The investment will see Sky partnering with the channel, helping it expand while Whistle Sports expertise could be used to help Sky increase the online appeal of the Sky Sports brand, particularly with younger ‘millennial’ audiences.
Sky’s business development director Emma Lloyd said: “The market is rapidly changing and there are more and more platforms and technologies emerging, many of which will shape the digital entertainment experiences of the future.
“It’s therefore vital that we move quickly to embrace, understand and capitalise on the new technologies, no matter where they originate – and even if they are outside of Sky’s traditional areas of expertise.”
The move follows Sky’s recent investment in Pluto.TV, a web content aggregation service that wraps YouTube channels up in a grey Freeview-style programme guide and investment in Roku, which eventually led to the launch of Sky’s Now TV Box.
How exactly Whistle Sports could be integrated into Sky remains to be seen. Whistle Sports has an expanding library of videos covering traditional sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer and American football, alongside emerging activities such as football freestyle, skateboarding, trick shots, and ultimate frisbee.
It has relationships with personalities like Ultimate Frisbee champion Brodie Smith, and NBA player Jeremy Lin so similar relationships with British sports personalities could be curated.
Barney Francis managing director of Sky Sports added: “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.
“We look forward to exploring opportunities to collaborate on video content that helps broaden engagement in sport, especially for younger audiences.”
Whistle Sports content is currently available to watch online and through an Xbox 360 app. It’s also coming soon to Xbox One, unspecified Apple devices and Roku. It’s likely that a Whistle Sports channel would land on the Now TV Box, but Sky hasn’t confirmed that this is even on the drawing board yet.