Turner International’s Digital Ventures & Innovation Group announced an equity investment in digital media sports company Bigballs Media (BBM), the parent company of one of the world’s fastest-growing digital video platforms for football content, Copa90.
The funding will be used to fuel BBM’s international expansion, content production and distribution and enhance its data capabilities as it continues its growth trajectory. The investment will fuel further international growth and fully establish Copa90 as the definitive football youth media brand.
Turner’s Digital Ventures & Innovation Group was recently formed to focus on opportunities for innovation, development and acquisition. The investment comes within the group’s first month of operations and signals the company’s commitment to increasing its presence in the digital sports space. Turner is the largest provider of funding for the Series B investment round and the main strategic investor.
In parallel, Turner and BBM have signed a commercial agreement which embraces multiple opportunities for Turner and BBM to leverage their respective distribution and content production expertise. The partnership expands on an existing commercial relationship with leading digital sports brand Bleacher Report, a division of Turner.
The cross-platform commercial agreement includes strategic co-branded content production, the development of third party branded content and sponsorship opportunities, and content creation for Turner’s own channels. It also facilitates BBM’s close collaboration across the wider Turner portfolio, including Esporte Interativo, Turner Sports and CNN. Additionally, Aksel van der Wal, head of Digital Ventures & Innovation, will take a seat on BBM’s board of directors, and Alex Vargas, COO Bleacher Report, becomes a board observer.
The investment in BBM is the latest in a series of investments by Turner in the digital space and the first with a company headquartered outside of the US. It follows on from similar investments in 2016 in Refinery29 and Mashable. The company also acquired a majority stake in iStreamPlanet in 2015. Turner has also recently expanded Bleacher Report and injected new investment in CNN Digital. Internationally it has launched a suite of new digital-first destinations and apps across the broader digital ecosystem to extend its fan engagement around flagship properties such as CNN, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim, as part of the company’s accelerated focus on evolving its digital business interests and capabilities.