PlayOn! Sports Announces Strategic Investment from KKR
ATLANTA & NEW YORK–PlayOn! Sports (“PlayOn” or the “Company”), a leading high school sports media and technology company, and KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will make a significant investment in PlayOn, alongside PlayOn’s existing shareholder, Panoramic Ventures. The investment will support the Company’s growth as it continues to focus on building exceptional products and experiences for state associations, high schools, high school athletes and their fans across the country. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2008, PlayOn is best known for operating the NFHS Network, which provides live and on-demand content for millions of high school sporting events across more than 27 sports and other high school activities in all 50 states and Washington, DC. The NFHS Network is a joint venture with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and its member state associations.
In addition to helping fans and families watch their favorite teams wherever and whenever they want, the platform directly supports student athletics by providing a new revenue stream to participating high schools and state associations. The Company currently partners directly with almost 8,000 high schools across the U.S.
“We are pleased to welcome KKR as a new investor who shares our passion for high school sports and supports our vision for building the leader in high school sports media and technology,” said David Rudolph, founder and CEO of PlayOn. “KKR’s deep experience in building leading consumer technology and digital media businesses, along with our continued partnership with Panoramic Ventures, will be invaluable as we look for opportunities to make high school sports even more accessible to new fans and communities across the country. Our extensive relationships with the NFHS, state associations, and high schools will always be central to everything we do, and we will continue to remain focused on our long-term goal of streaming every high school event in the country.”
“PlayOn is empowering high school athletic programs and providing fans and families new ways to watch the games that matter most to them,” said Ted Oberwager, Partner at KKR. “We are inspired by PlayOn’s mission, and we are excited to join forces with Panoramic Ventures, the NFHS, and the talented PlayOn management team to continue to deliver best-in-class solutions for a rapidly growing and highly passionate audience.”
“We are excited to bring KKR on as a strategic investment partner to help fuel PlayOn’s next stage of growth,” said Mark Buffington, Managing Partner at Panoramic Ventures. “David and I have long believed that we are just scratching the surface with the opportunities that lie ahead of us. KKR’s investment allows us to create more products and extend more value to all the stakeholders we serve in the NFHS ecosystem.”
KKR is making its investment in PlayOn through its North American private equity strategy. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to PlayOn and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP served as legal counsel to the Company. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to KKR.
About PlayOn! Sports
PlayOn! Sports was founded in 2008 with the purpose of honoring and celebrating the achievements of high school students, parents, coaches, and teachers in every community across the country. It is the nation’s leading high school sports media company and streams more live sports events than any other company in the world. PlayOn is in its ninth year of operating the NFHS Network, a joint venture with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and its member state associations. PlayOn is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NFHS Network, which delivers live and on demand high school events at www.NFHSnetwork.com and related apps. For additional information about PlayOn! Sports, please visit www.playonsports.com or follow PlayOn! Sports on LinkedIn.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management as well as capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life and reinsurance products under the management of The Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.
About Panoramic Ventures
Panoramic Ventures (formerly BIP Capital) is a venture capital firm based in Atlanta that takes a “wider-view” approach to investing by targeting the Southeast and Midwest and placing a focus on diverse founders and university startups. Panoramic opens new doors for overlooked founders, giving more entrepreneurs access to capital to build leading tech companies. For more information, visit www.panoramic.vc or follow Panoramic Ventures on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter @panoramicvc.