The very nature of college athletics has changed over the last year. NIL (name, image, and likeness) agreements have allowed athletes to capitalize and monetize their own abilities even while still at an amateur status. That is on top of a change in the NCAA transfer rule, meaning athletes have less restrictions on where they can move during their college tenure.
“These two major events happening in the same year I think certainly changed the recruiting landscape,” Conrad Cornell of Press Sports told Hypepotamus.
That has put even more of a spotlight on what Cornell and his team over at Press Sports are building.
We caught up with Press Sports, an Atlanta-based social media platform for athletes, this time last year as the startup was becoming a central content hub for athletes, coaches, and parents. Over the last twelve months the team has been on hyperdrive building out the product, adding to their team, and earning the attention of athletes and investors alike.
Press Sports announced today it has launched a new app, which Cornell said is about “connecting users and building relevant content” while making it easier for athletes to go viral for their video content.
The startup app is available now on iOS, Android, and on the web. The focus is on attracting Gen-Z athletes across 50 sports who are looking for exposure or a better way to share their highlight reels.
The startup is also making its first big play into the NIL space with the addition of a strategic advisory board. Star athletes Aliyah Clark (Navarro/LSU Cheer), Crystal Childs (Clemson / Radford Volleyball), and RJ Austin (Vanderbilt baseball) will start earning equity in the company while actively shaping the future of the Press Sports’ product.
All these users were already active on Press Sports.
Giving equity to known athletes in this way is a trend gaining momentum in the tech world and is blurring the line between sports star and entrepreneur thanks to NIL changes.
New Engineers & New Investors Join The Team
The Press Sports team has also been growing. In 2021 the team raised a $1.5 million seed round from General Catalyst, which Cornell said helped the team “reinvent [itself] from an engineering team standpoint and product standpoint.” The internal team now has five in-house engineers.
Alongside the new app and advisory board announcement, the team also said today that it had secured a new pre-Series A funding round from an impressive list of investors.
The team also announced a new strategic pre-Series A round from Wheelhouse, Local Sports Network & Clean Fuego.
Those joining the new round bring unique sports and media perspectives to the Atlanta-based company. At the helm of Wheelhouse is Brent Montgomery, former CEO of ITV America, producers of Queer Eye, Fixer Upper, Cake Boss, Hells Kitchen, Pawn Stars and Duck Dynasty. CleanFuego is a baseball training and feedback tool and Local Sports Network, a high school athletics-focused platform.