Whistle Sports Is Pitching Huge Social Growth Among Gen Y Males to Advertisers

Audience up 136 percent since the last NewFronts

Whistle Sports' presentation at the Digital Content NewFronts today was a bit like its inaugural appearance at the ad industry event last year. There were dancing cheerleaders and a small band of horn players, there were executives exchanging high-fives and there was boasting, plenty of boasting. It was all fairly bro-tastic. And what else would one expect from the marketers of Dude Perfect and Buff Dudes?

And to be fair, there's reason for the company to brag if you consider its data. In just two years, Whistle Sports said on Wednesday that it has grown to more than 185 million online fans and followers, up 136 percent from 2015. The New York-based company said it garners 2,000 daily content uploads, 750 million monthly views and 1.3 billion minutes of watch time a month. And it has some 400 social influencers in its stable of talent—most notably the people behind the aforementioned websites along with Brodie Smith

Seventy-five percent of its burgeoning audience consists of Gen Y males, which eat up Whistle Sports' steady stream of buzzy videos that feature trick basketball and golf shots, epic sports fails and behind-the-scenes creators content.

"We know millennial sports fans," said John West, Whistle Sports CEO, speaking on stage in front of a couple hundred people in New York's Chelsea neighborhood. "We do deep research. … We have an amazing amount of data."

Such statistics, per West and his colleagues, are central to the development of six new programs slated for this year. They include a gaming show called Hall of Gamers, as well as stunt-driven, action-packed athletic programs called Legends of Dunk, Battlegrounds, Crushing History, 50 Large and F2 Vs. USA. 

Additionally, Whistle Sports' numbers are likely why NBC and Tegna have announced funding deals with Whistle Sports in recent weeks.

At the NewFronts today, Whistle Sports also revealed plans to bring its partnership with U.K.-based Sky Sports to America. As part of that announcement, it showcased soccer-minded creators F2Freestylers, disclosing they got 84 million views last month and have 3.6 million YouTube subscribers. 

"Soccer is the fastest-growing sport in the world," Jeff Urban, Whistle Sports co-founder, told Adweek after the event. What makes the sport particularly interesting when it comes to social media, he said, is that "the creator demographic mirrors the participant demographic."

In other words, real players often push F2Freestylers' content in their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram streams. And rest assured, most of those viewers are dudes. 

When asked if presenting a bro-tastic image to young men was part of Whistle Sports' strategy when it launched in 2014, Urban brushed the idea aside, stating that "sports fans heavily skew male."

So can Whistle Sports grow a female audience for brands that want to pitch products to women?

"That is our desire and our plan," Urban replied.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of tweets underscoring the playful atmosphere at Whistle Sports' event:

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.