Buzzer has raised $44 million since 2020. Athlete investors include Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and Patrick Mahomes. The company has contracts with NBA, WNBA, ATP Tour, DAZN and FanDuel
Mobile live sports streaming platform Buzzer has raised $20 million in new funding to license its technology to third parties.
New athlete investors include tennis star Nick Kyrgios, National Football League (NFL) defensive end Myles Garrett, and National Basketball Association (NBA) ace Kevin Durant through his investment vehicle Thirty Five Ventures.
The funding brings the total raised by the company to $44 million and will be used to commercialize a licensed offering called “Powered by Buzzer,” which allows third parties to use the technology that powers its own application.
Buzzer’s mobile app provides users with notifications and quick access to live sports when they think an exciting moment is about to happen so they can watch live. This way, users don’t have to watch entire sporting events to see the best bits, and don’t have to rely on highlights, which are less attractive.
To date, the company has deals with the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the ATP Tour in tennis. It also has agreements with sports subscription service DAZN and betting provider FanDuel. However, Buzzer CEO Bo Han believes it can no longer confine its technology to its own application to work with the biggest rights holders in esports.
He told Bloomberg that Buzzer aims to become the “operating system for live sports on mobile” and has started talks with major rightsholders and broadcasters.
Buzzer raised $20 million in a Series A round last year. Existing investors include team owners and a variety of current and former athletes, including Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Patrick Mahomes and Naomi Osaka.
The value of buzzer technology has never been questioned. In a world where there’s more choice in entertainment and sports content than ever before, it’s obviously beneficial for consumers to have a helping hand in identifying the best bits.
Technology could play a key role in solving the sports industry’s problem of wowing young fans with its ability to command attention at crucial moments. Also, older viewers who have multiple commitments and are competing for their limited time may prefer the ability to watch their favorite teams and sports live rather than relying on highlights. Buzzer ultimately maximizes the value of live sports and can be a valuable marketing tool.
But the business model still needs to be refined. Buzzer works with existing subscriptions, but also provides access to specific content through microtransactions. It’s now working on an ad-supported model and wants to capitalize on the rapid growth in betting in the US. However, the low range of partnerships has so far limited the app’s attractiveness, functionality and monetization potential.
Licensing the technology turns economics on its head. Large rights holders and broadcasters will be able to incorporate the functionality into their owned and operated platforms, maintaining control and creating a steady stream of revenue for Buzzer to supplement its commissions and ad-supported revenue.