Ex-NBA Commissioner David Stern and VC Firms invest $5 Million into virtual reality

Friday September 23rd, 2016

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Days after LiveLike partnered with FOX Sports to produce a Ohio State and Oklahoma college football game in virtual reality, the startup company announced a $5 million investment Wednesday.

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern and various venture capital firms led the round, including Evolution Media Partners, Elysian Park Ventures, Courtside Ventures, Dentsu Ventures, Techstars Ventures and a joint effort between sports agency Creative Artists Agency and investment firm TPG.

“The die is cast,” Stern told Forbes. “Sports leagues and owners are falling head over heels in love with all forms of technology. …There will only be more competition out there for the viewers’ eyeballs.”

LiveLike graduated from TechStars, a New York-based startup accelerator program in 2015, and now has over 30 employees in Manhattan, Paris and India.

According to LiveLike, the funding will be used to continue to develop the virtual reality product. The company’s virtual reality production this past weekend garnered an estimated 37,000 viewers. It has conducted other virtual reality tests with the English Premier League, Roland Garros and El Clasico in Spain.

“People are seeing the potential,” Miheer Walavalkar, Chief Business Officer of virtual reality, told Forbes. “Our conversations over the past 12 months have progressed from, ‘Oh, this is interesting,’ to, ‘Okay, what’s your business model and go to market strategy?’”

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