KKR Invests in High School Sports Platform PlayOn! Sports
High school sports media and technology company PlayOn! Sports 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,” says 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,” says 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,” adds 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.