Backed by all-star athletes Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, and Mia Hamm, The Whistle Network — one of YouTube’s first sports-centric MCNs — is officially launching today.
The network will host sports content from 12 initial channel partners, including sports comedy group Dude Perfect. With over 190 million views under its belt, YouTube channel Dude Perfect has made a name for itself with a series of sports-related sketches and trick shot videos, including the recently nailed 570 foot basket from the top of Dallas’ Reunion Tower.
In addition to Dude Perfect, The Whistle Network also has content and equity partnerships in place with nine pro sports organizations including the PGA Tour, NASCAR, Major League Lacrosse, US Ski and Snowboard Association, US Soccer, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Alli Sports. The network is expected to announce a partnerships with additional leagues in the coming weeks and months*.
Launching with 14 total channels under its roof, the MCN offers your typical network perks like development tools, audience insights, and studio space in New York and Dallas. The Whistle Network will expand to other platforms via a mobile/web app and a Xbox Live video channel, both of which are currently in development. It will break out of the digital space as well with a half-hour TV series premiering on Saturdays on the NBC Sports Network starting in September.
The Whistle Network launches as part of a sports media company of the same name. Key executives behind the MCNs formation include Julie Kikla, a founding member of the YouTube sports business development team, and Dev Sethi, senior strategist of the YouTube Online Acquisition team. The company says former top execs at Nickelodeon and MTV are also part of its ownership/investor team, in addition to the big-name athletes mentioned above.
Currently, the MCN sports over 2 million subscribers across its 14 channels. However, at the moment with 2,012,835 subscribers, it seems that Dude Perfect is supplying the lion’s share of that figure.
* The article has been corrected to fix a previous error, which said The Whistle is expected to announce deals with the NFL in the coming weeks. The Whistle has an existing partnership with the NFL to produce TV content, as reported by The New York Times last year.