Stadium Live, a digital social gaming platform geared almost entirely to the Gen-Z demographic, has raised a $10 million Series A led by KB Partners and Union Square Ventures.
Through its custom avatars, sports-centric gameplay, trivia and in-house livestreams, Stadium Live has accrued 500,000 users to date and claims 93% of them are Gen Z’s born between 1997 and 2010. The startup’s premise is that its metaverse build-out (trademarked as StadiumVerse), chats and short-form sport content will attract young adults who have grown up in a digital culture and prefer real-time social platforms.
“I started looking at the Stadium Live because the ESPNs of the world, they’re targeting millennials, they’re going to sports betting,” the company’s CEO Kevin Kim told SportTechie. “They’re still one-directional sports news and all that stuff. And I said, ‘Who’s building it for the next generation, which is Gen Z?’”
“Gen Z, they love to play games, and they love to meet friends over games. They don’t watch the full games anymore around NBA, MLB, whatever. They like to create things, they like to customize things, based on NBA2K and all those type of games. And I said, well, if these kids are all into that, the sports industry is not following along. So how can we gamify sports fandom? We’re trying to build this digital playground for the next generation of fans.”
Stadium Live app users, after creating a custom avatar, can socialize on iOS with other sports fans and earn coins to power up their avatar. Coins can then be spent collecting unique items or used in one-on-one sports trivia match-play, among other activities.
The company recently partnered with Fan Controlled Football, a 7-on-7 indoor league that lets fans vote to call plays from scrimmage for their favorite team. Stadium Live produces pre-game and post-game content for the league and also stages polls to help Fan Controlled Football better engage with fans. Kim said Stadium Live also has digital rights to stream the upcoming Fan Controlled Hoops league, expected to debut in the fall.
Other contributors to Stadium Live’s Series A funding were Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures, Dapper Labs Ventures, Position Ventures, Valhalla Ventures, 6th Man Ventures, Blaise Matuidi’s Origins Fund and Breakout Capital.