Sports industry venture capital company SeventySix Capital announced Monday it has closed a second fund to invest in entrepreneurs launching sports betting, esports and sports tech companies.
“This next fund is an important milestone as we continue building SeventySix Capital as the go-to investment company in the sports industry,” said Wayne Kimmel, SeventySix Capital Managing Partner. “We have proven that we have access to the deals and entrepreneurs seeking to transform the sports world and that we are able to help them build their businesses with our capital investment as well as our sports relationships, knowledge and expertise.”
This new fund is set to invest in startup companies “that are disrupting and innovating” the sports industry through the use of analytics, data and technology, according to a press release. The Philadelphia-based venture firm aims to capitalize on the growing legal sports betting industry in the United States, as commercial gaming revenue in the country for the first seven months of 2021 nearly matched the entirety of 2020, according to American Gaming Association statistics.
Moreover, the fund will also make investments in companies seeking to transform the fast-growing esports and gaming industry. The venture capital company cites a report by gaming analytics and market research firm Newzoo, which states that close to one-third of the global population games and the U.S. Video Game industry in 2020 was larger than Music and Movies combined, as proof of the growth of this industry.
SeventySix Capital added two additional professional sports team owners as investors and strategic partners in the new fund: Robert Nutting, Owner and Chairman of the board of the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball; and AMBSE Ventures, a subsidiary of AMB Sports + Entertainment, a portfolio company of Arthur M. Blank, Owner and Chairman of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer.
The company also expanded its roster of athlete investors by adding Emmanuel Sanders, Super Bowl Champion; Alejandro Bedoya, former U.S. National team player and SeventySix Capital Athlete Venture Group Co-Chair; and James Develin, 3X Super Bowl Champion.
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame Running Back and SeventySix Capital Athlete Venture Group Chair, and DeMarco Murray, former NFL All-Pro Running Back, returned as investors along with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority and multiple family offices.
“There is absolutely an appetite right now for anyone and everyone in sports to want to have access to what we might call the next thing in sports,” said Kimmel, according to Philadelphia Business Journal. “They’re looking for exposure to the innovative new sports betting startups and esports startups and sports tech startups.”
Led by Wayne Kimmel, Jon Powell and Chad Stender, the company aims at “reshaping” the sports venture capital industry. To date, SeventySix Capital has sold three portfolio companies: sports betting media network VSiN (sold to DraftKings); sportsbook Vigtory (sold to FuboTV); and sports and entertainment media company Team Whistle (sold to ELEVEN SPORTS).
The fund, anticipated to raise at least $50 million, will see SeventySix Capital likely to announce investments in at least three new portfolio companies in the coming weeks, according to the previously cited news source.