ScoreStream, a San Diego sports media startup, has raised $2 million in an early stage round led by Sinclair Digital Ventures, a division of the Baltimore, MD-based Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ: SBGI).
Existing investors Avalon Ventures and New Enterprise Associates also participated, according to Derrick Oien, ScoreStream’s founding CEO. A number of angel investors in the Baltimore area also invested in the deal.
ScoreStream started three years ago with the idea of crowd-sourcing high school sports coverage, a market often underserved by regional newspapers and broadcast media—especially in this age of declining revenue and constrained resources for conventional media. The company now has 10 employees, Oien said, and recently moved out of the free incubator in downtown San Diego that is operated by EvoNexus.
In 2012, when ScoreStream was founded, Oien was an entrepreneur-in-residence with San Diego’s Avalon Ventures and the former CEO of Chumby Industries and its Internet-enabled touch screen device. With initial financial support from Avalon, ScoreStream created an iPhone app that enabled users to post updates on high school football games and other sports on Twitter, Facebook, SMS text messaging, and to ScoreStream’s website.
The company also signed up a local AM sports talk radio station for its Web-based service, supplying game updates and stats to the station’s website. ScoreStream also was admitted to the downtown EvoNexus incubator, which provides startups with free space and other amenities.
Since then, Oien says ScoreStream has extended its partnership deals to include Fox Sports, USA Today/Gannet, Tribune Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, Yahoo’s Rivals.com, and Hearst.
“We have an embeddable scoreboard widget they can put on their website,” said Oien, who believes the company has proven its initial concept for crowdsourcing sports scores. “Now the question is, ‘Can we get fans to engage in a social manner, so that they’re sharing games and photos.’”
After disclosing last July that ScoreStream had received an $800,000 loan from Avalon and New Enterprise Associates that could be converted into an ownership stake, Oien said ScoreStream raised an additional $2 million to build out its technology platform, integrate with software being used on TV, and expand into lower-ranked college sports divisions.
“ScoreStream is leveraging the wisdom of the crowd to turn social insights into valuable digital content resources,” said Paul Palmieri, a co-founder and former CEO of Millennial Media, who is also an angel investor in ScoreStream.