TECH MONEY

Austin-based FloSports raises $21.2 million to expand coverage of niche sports

Company runs online sites for fans of often-overlooked sports.

Posted August 15th, 2016

Ten years ago, brothers Martin and Mark Floreani saw a business opportunity in covering niche sports that have die-hard fans.

So Martin Floreani, who wrestled for California Polytechnic State University, and Mark Floreani, a former University of Texas track athlete, set out to build an online forum to prove it.

They raised $10,000 from friends and family, bought a van and began a three-month road trip, shooting video of anything they could find related to wrestling, including interviews with athletes and coaches and footage of practices and tournaments. Then they posted the content on a website.

Fans love it, and a company was born. Today, Austin-based FloSports operates online sites for 14 sports that don't typically get network coverage except during national championship events or the Olympics. They include wrestling, gymnastics, track and volleyball. 

Now, the company has raised $21.2 million in new funding to expand its coverage of sports that are often overlooked by the media.

FloSports received the money from lead investors DCM Ventures and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, with participation from World Wrestling Entertainment, Discovery Communications and Causeway Media Partners. The company previously raised $8 million in a round led by Causeway Media Partners.

"We're going to go into new sports and go deeper into the sports we have," said Martin Floreani, FloSports CEO. "We feel like we have a very strong model on the table, and we're going to keep bringing fans the content that they wouldn't see otherwise."

This year, the company will post more than 114,000 videos across its sites. The videos attract about 16 million visitors a month.

Floreani said the company plans to add one new sport a month this year, with the goal of reaching 20 sports by the end of 2016. He declined to say what sports the company plans to target.

FloSports' sites feature free content including stories about games, interviews and rankings. The company offers a subscription service for $20 a month or $150 a year for live streaming of games and competitions, as well as archived footage, documentaries and training videos.

Coverage includes all levels of the sports, from youth to high school to college to professional.

The company, which has offices on Cesar Chavez Street in East Austin, has 165 employees and is looking to add about two dozen more in areas including engineering, marketing and project management.

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