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DAZN co-founder among new backers for Manchester music-for-sports startup

Wavze, a Manchester startup specialising in music strategy and origination business for sports, has secured the backing of industry investors including John Gleasure, co-founder of DAZN, and Gareth Capon, CEO of Grabyo.

The latest funding follows a number of early customer wins including UFC, Women’s Six Nations Championship, British Basketball League and Premier League Productions. Wavze will use the funds to expand its team and capitalise on the growing interest in emerging music talent among major sports teams, leagues and brands.

With clubs and federations now thinking far beyond the match day experience and becoming programmers and broadcasters in their own right, they are increasingly looking to music as a language for engaging fans and building their brand. However licensing music from major artists typically requires a significant investment in both time and money, and comes with considerable restrictions on usage.

Sports industry innovator Greg Davies and DJ/producer Phil Jacob – aka Kill Miami – founded Wavze to bring major sports organisations together with highly-talented, unsigned artists and producers. Sports organisations gain access to premium, authentic sounds that connect them with younger audiences and demonstrate cultural relevance without the cost, complexity and legal risk that comes with licensing music from major artists. Meanwhile these artists gain valuable exposure to a global audience.

“FC Barcelona’s groundbreaking work with emerging music talent in 2017 was the inspiration for Wavze. It showed me how valuable young, ambitious unsigned artists can be in delivering cultural relevance and engaging younger audiences,” said Davies, CEO at Wavze. “It’s clear that music licensing is a real pain point for sports organisations but they recognise the opportunity to collaborate with emerging artists to gain access to music that is far more powerful, truly authentic and reflects their brand values.”

Wavze provides a complete music solution, from music audit and strategy to creating bespoke music compositions and enabling a rights-cleared library for sync. It delivers premium music from the hottest emerging talent which is used by sports clubs and leagues as theme tracks and for special campaigns, as well as sourcing new talent for live music and events. Recent work includes its campaign for the Women’s Six Nations Championship which generated 56m views on TikTok, with one of the artist’s enjoying audience growth of 90k followers and crediting the campaign for her career progression.

“Wavze is proving to be a highly effective solution for clubs and federations to engage a younger demographic in a cost-effective manner. Thanks to the team’s deep understanding of both the sports and music industries, and especially their network of relationships with artists and producers, they are delivering outstanding, effective and creative music experiences that really cut through with the partners’ target audiences,” added Gleasure, co-founder of DAZN.

Music has been a key area of focus in the sports industry over recent years with The Premier League, TNT Sport, Tottenham Hotspur FC, UEFA, NFL and WWE all hiring heads of music. FC Barcelona has gone further, signing an expansive four-year sponsorship deal with Spotify and renaming its iconic stadium the Spotify Camp Nou.

“We are delighted to have the backing of John and Gareth, both visionaries in the industry,” said Jacob, aka Kill Miami, co-founder and creative director at Wavze, who is based in Manchester. “They bring a deep understanding of how technology and media are impacting sport as well as an invaluable network both in Europe and beyond.”
Wavze will be at the SportsPro OTT Summit in Madrid this week with its artists Lady Ice and Deva performing at SportsPro OTT Awards on 29th November.

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