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New Funding Opens Doors For opendorse

Prince Amukamara (credit: Independent/Barrett Stinson)
Prince Amukamara (credit: Independent/Barrett Stinson)

Last week we had a nice little Olympic influencer summary from opendorse, who we had not dealt with much in the past.

Today they have even more of a reason for taking notice as they continue to grow their business. The Nebraska based company, which works with over 2,400 athletes and 1,500 brands to create unique social influencer programs, announced today its close of $3.5mm in its Series A financing round.

A group of former University of Nebraska football stars, led by Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara, contributed more than one third of the investment. Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations of Formula 1, Dan Mannix, President & CEO of LeadDog Marketing Group, and Peter Gardiner, former Chief Media Officer of Deutsch and current CEO of Gardiner & Partners, also participated in the round.

“We have a clear, unique, and disruptive path to success for thousands of athletes and hundreds of brands to easily engage sports fans in the social space, and we welcome our new investors who support our mission and share our vision,” said Blake Lawrence, CEO of opendorse in a statement Monday. “We know that athletes have incredible power and we’re proud to have built the infrastructure to help foster their impact on social media.”

With its unmatched athlete user-base and cutting edge technology, opendorse provides brands with a platform to send branded content to athletes to share on social. opendorse brand partners include the NFL Players Association, PGA Tour, New Jersey Devils, more than 15 major college athletic departments, and many of the top advertisers in sports.

Even more intriguing is the connection to Formula 1, which under the leadership of Chase Carey is making a more concerted effort both in the United States and in the digital and social space, an area which the world’s biggest racing circuit has not paid much attention to until this year.

“During my time at F1 and previously ESPN, I’ve come to understand the innate power of sports and the value of its content,” said Bratches, Managing Director, Formula 1 in a statement. “Fragmentation in the marketplace is accelerating and is influencing the way fans are consuming content—they’re consuming multiple pieces of content concurrently from multiple sources and on multiple devices. I believe that brands will win this battle for distribution and ad dollars, and with social media and tools like opendorse, athletes and their personal brands are well positioned to attract the passionate, engaged audiences that advertisers crave.”

Nebraska has given the business world Warren Buffett and a host of other influencers, not it looks like some additional Cornhuskers are making a big play, or a bigger one, in the sports business space as well.

About Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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