Leading Direct-to-consumer Sports Platform, Hang, Raises $9.2m Series A Round

28 November 2023

Hang Media, Inc., whose award-winning HANG platform has drawn more than 22 million young viewers to interactively experience sports events alongside current players, all-time greats, and celebrities, has completed a $9.2 million Series A funding round. HANG will use the proceeds to accelerate product development and audience growth, expanding its leadership position in the rapidly growing direct-to-consumer sports media category.

The financing was led by The Operating Group, a holding company run by media, technology and finance executive Ken Cron. Joining the round were Clara Vista Investment Partners, whose partners include former NBCU Television Chairman Jeff Gaspin, former Credit Suisse TMT chairman Mark Simonian, and Bob Gold, former CEO of Ridgewood Capital; Ratner Ventures, an investment and consulting firm lead by Hank Ratner, the former CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company; Brown Angel Group; and Anthony Baranello, a private investor. Emergetic, LLC partners Mark Lieberman and Ron Frankel advised Hang Media on the transaction.

HANG, co-founded by CEO Jon Klein – the multiple Emmy- and Peabody-winning former President of CNN – and CTO Lorne Greene – CEO of Viva Creative, a leading live experience producer – enables fans to mingle with their heroes on livestreams across YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch. Hundreds of current athletes, including Deebo Samuel, Micah Parsons, Odell Beckham, Jr., DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, have joined legends including Deion Sanders, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, and Clint Dempsey, and entertainers including Emmy winners Anthony Anderson and JB Smoove – in virtual parties offering up-close access to the stars. Each HANG averages 800,000 viewers, sixty percent of them in the 18-44 demographic that advertisers covet. HANG's fans engage with the platform an astounding average of one hour and twenty minutes. HANG's unique combination of broad reach and deep Gen Z engagement has drawn leading sponsors, including Toyota, Wells Fargo, MolsonCoors, Coca-Cola, Dave & Busters, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Smokey Bones, and Pernod-Ricard.

"Gen Z fans want sports viewing to be a communal experience, and they crave authentic, up-close access to their favorite personalities," said Jon Klein, HANG's co-founder and CEO. "That's exactly what HANG delivers – a livestreamed second screen experience, where the audience is as much a star as the athletes – which is why we've become a Gen Z magnet. We make fans' dreams come true, while delivering results that major brands cannot achieve anywhere else."

"We are excited to partner with the amazing HANG team," said Ken Cron, CEO of The Operating Group. "HANG has a deep understanding of the next generation fan, and the power of live sports to deliver true engagement in a fragmenting media landscape. By building community and interactivity into traditional sports viewing, HANG is transforming these everyday events into unique experiences that directly connect fans with their celebrity heroes to create lasting memories."