Investors in the firm’s second fund include Adidas, Sinclair, MSG and several team owners.
(Bloomberg) — Venture capital firm Sapphire Sport has raised $181 million for a new fund, adding investors from across the sports world as it looks to capitalize on growing interest in the sector.
Investors include Adidas AG, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Bank of Montreal, AEG, Madison Square Garden Sports and City Football Group, the Emirati owners of English Premier League club Manchester City. It’s also backed by franchise owners such as Stephen Pagliuca and David Blitzer and sports investment firms including Arctos Sports Partners.
“People are realizing that venture capital is hard,” said Doug Higgins, cofounder of Sapphire Ventures and a founding partner of the sports fund. “You really have to have a dedicated focus.”
The new fund will center on sports, media, entertainment and technology in North America, predominantly in California and New York. Within those parameters, it’s looking at free-to-play gaming, digital commerce and health as some focus areas. Management is hoping to make about 18 to 20 different investments.
It’s the firm’s second fund, and Sapphire Sport now has about $300 million under management. The portfolio includes media company Overtime, live sports streaming service Buzzer, virtual sneaker game Aglet and Tonal home gyms.
Sports funds have been attracting capital as investors look to back more startups in the sector. Earlier this month, Courtside Ventures said it raised $100 million from investors such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, team ownership groups and Shaquille O’Neal, bringing its total committed capital to more than $200 million.
“Having a successful raise from different funds shows that this is a really big opportunity,” said Higgins.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.