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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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SoftBank’s Huge Bet on Sports and Entertainment

  • SoftBank's Vision Fund 2 has been investing heavily in sports.
  • The fund backs some of the most influential companies in the industry.
Miki Yoshihito/Design: Alex Brooks

Japanese investment firm SoftBank launched its second Vision Fund in 2019, and since its inception, CEO Masayoshi Son and his team have invested heavily in sports and entertainment.

Vision Fund 2 — an encore to the $100 billion technology-focused Vision Fund 1 — raised an initial $40 billion of capital the year it debuted.

Funding rounds in the sports and entertainment space led by the newer fund total $2.6 billion so far in 2021. Here are some of the standouts:

  • SoftBank participated in a $100 million funding round for Fanatics-owned Candy Digital — the developer of Major League Baseball’s NFT marketplace.
  • It was the sole investor in a $400 million Vuori deal that valued the activewear company at $4 billion.
  • In August, it joined a $325 million round for Fanatics that valued the company at $18 billion.
  • Also on the list: a $680 million round for NFT soccer platform Sorare, a $300 million round for fitness wearables maker Whoop, and a $220 million round for at-home fitness company Tempo — all led by SoftBank.

Vision Fund 1 saw several high-profile tech companies — DoorDash, Slack, and Uber — go public. Vision Fund 2 could produce similar results for its sports-related businesses.

Want to learn more? Check out Front Office Sports Insights for the full analysis.

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