Read the 12-slide pitch deck a basketball media brand used to raise $2.7 million in its first round of funding

  • Ballislife is a basketball media company founded in 2005.
  • The company is known for its videos and events, and has millions of followers on social media.
  • These are the 12 pitch deck slides Ballislife showed investors in 2022 to raise $2.69 million.

Matt Rodriguez has been running his basketball media company, Ballislife, on his own since 2005.

Its signature videos first gained attention with a Derrick Rose high school mixtape, and then again during the 2011 NBA lockout, when Ballislife covered the pros competing in alternative leagues. According to Ballislife, the company has also gained attention for its annual All-American game, which is primarily for West Coast high school players.

Rodriguez and his team decided to hold a raise after 17 years to double down on Ballislife’s existing offerings and expand its live broadcasts.

“I kind of ate, slept, and bled Ballislife for a number of years in my twenties,” Rodriguez explained to Business Insider. “We wanted to see where we could take it, and then that allowed us to get to a point where we would eventually be able to raise down the line.”

Ballislife raised $2.69 million in an initial funding round announced in January 2023, which closed in August 2022.

According to Rodriguez, Oakvale Sports Investco, a branch of British gaming advisory firm Oakvale Capital, funded the entire raise as a special-purpose vehicle with multiple investors.

“It’s like the world’s latest pre-seed round,” Ballislife’s new chief revenue officer David Woodley explained to Business Insider, “because typically you think of those as a new company, and these guys have been around forever.”

The last few years have been difficult for sports startups looking to raise funds — Ballislife did not meet the target funding goal it shared in its pitch deck by 2022.

The media company is currently negotiating another raise, which it hopes will be larger than the first and allow it to expand into new business areas such as NIL for high-school athletes — and pay Woodley, Rodriguez joked.

Continued growth and evolution of Ballislife events and media

As Ballislife prepares for another round of funding, it has also expanded its audience and business.

This year, Ballislife hosted its first girls basketball All-American game and has nearly 600,000 followers across its women’s basketball Instagram, TikTok, and X accounts.

“I wanted to do it in 2020, but then Covid hit,” Rodriguez said of the first girls’ game, which took place this spring in conjunction with the tenth anniversary of the boys’ game. “I just really loved having them be there.”

With nearly 9 million followers on Instagram, Ballislife is the most popular. It has approximately 6.5 million TikTok followers, nearly 4 million YouTube subscribers, and approximately 1.5 million Snapchat and X, formerly known as Twitter, subscribers and followers.

Ballislife publishes articles, podcasts, regional rankings, player profiles, and sports-betting resources and information on its website. The company also sells merchandise ranging from athleisure to basketball compression tights.

According to Rodriguez, recent changes to the Instagram page’s style and tone, as well as an emphasis on written website content in the last year, have increased engagement on both platforms. According to him, the company is also in post-production on its first documentary, which it hopes to sell to a major streaming platform.

The full 12-slide pitch deck used by Ballislife in 2022 to raise $2.69 million to expand its basketball coverage is available here.

Ballislife doesn’t overload its title slide — just a logo, a slogan, and an image.

The founders begin their presentation by asking investors to keep the pitch deck private.

The media company planted its roots in video in 2005.

With 24 million followers on social media, Ballislife claims to be the world’s #1 sports-media brand focused solely on basketball. A quote from Rodriguez demonstrates how Ballislife has always prioritized video, as evidenced by the linked “Who are we?” video.

The company establishes its core focus areas: merch, media, and events.

Mixtape videos began in 2005, followed in 2009 by an athleisure brand, and in 2011 by Ballislife’s first signature All-American game. Key stats highlighted on the slide include $1.8 million in merch sales in 2020 and 58 former All-Americans in the NBA.

How the company plans to grow its key business areas with help from investors.

Ballislife discusses its future plans for media and events, as well as why it believes the athleisure and NFT markets are promising.

The company stated that it intends to collaborate with a platform to create NFTs using Ballislife.

Though it is awaiting the right time and team to enter the market, branding is underway.

With this slide, the founders also remind investors that Ballislife does more than just host the All-American game; it also hosts camps and other events.

one-on-one tournaments.

Ballislife wishes to expand its media presence.

Rodriguez stated that the company began covering women’s basketball and working with influencers in 2016. It has also been investing in its podcasts — the company stated that it invested in its podcasts prior to the raise and for several years.

Introducing the cofounders, Rodriguez and Arek Kissoyan.

The founders list their qualifications, from their time at the Art Institute of California to Ballislife’s development and branding, merch, All-American game, and more.

Ballislife shows where it sits among its competitors in annual YouTube views.

The video views position House of Highlights as the industry leader, growing in 2021 by 8.8% year over year to 643.5 million total YouTube views. Ballislife follows with 374.7 million YouTube views in 2021, up 98% year over year.

The chart shows declines from 2020 to 2021 in YouTube views among other competitors, including Overtime, Slam, and Wave Sports and Entertainment. In 2021, Overtime garnered 84.5 million views, Slam got 9.7 million views, and Wave saw 231,000 views, per the chart.

The slide also lists acquisitions and funding of competitors:

  • Bleacher Report acquired House of Highlights
  • Overtime raised $140 million
  • Slam raised $1 million
  • Wave raised $65.8 million

The founders provide market research and examples of growth across sports media, athleisure, NFTs, and live events.

The slide cites examples of successful startup exits in sports media, including the 2020 sales of Barstool Sports to Penn Entertainment and The Ringer to Spotify. It also highlighted deals including the 2020 sale of the clothing brand Supreme and a 2019 investment in the athleisure brand Vuori as proof of financial opportunity within the athletic wear industry.

The founders feature NBA Top Shot twice in the slide deck to show potential opportunities within the NFT market. They also cite US Sports Camp and UFC as lucrative live-sports events.

Ballislife had significant growth in video views leading up to the raise, largely on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

While Ballislife’s YouTube views remained fairly constant, Snapchat and TikTok have greatly grown the brand’s audience. The graph shows views in terms of billions.

The brand jumped from 2.1 billion impressions across platforms in 2017 to 14.1 billion in 2021.

The company monetized its content on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, according to the slide.

This slide breaks the fourth wall, stating the target goal for the funding round and how the company will use the money.

The 2022 round was just shy of the target goal of $3 million to $5 million. The company is currently in the middle of another raise.

Rodriguez and Kissoyan express some gratitude for potential investors.

The duo uses this slide to thank their audience for the chance to tell them about Ballislife and how they’ve grown the business.

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