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The Evolution of Sports Media with Minute Media Founder Asaf Peled

By Jefferies Editorial Team
3 min read

In September 2023, Jefferies hosted its seventh annual Tech Trek, Israel’s largest institutional technology investor conference. The three-day event connects leading global investors with the Israeli tech ecosystem through a series of panels, meetings and curated networking events.

During the conference, Jefferies spoke with Asaf Peled, founder and CEO of Minute Media, global technology and content company specializing in sports and culture. Minute Media’s proprietary tech platform enables the creation, distribution and monetization of digital content experiences. They own and operate leading sports content brands, including Sports Illustrated, The Players' Tribune, FanSided, and 90min, while also providing sports highlight rights through Minute Media’s most recent technology acquisition of STN Video.

Peled discussed Minute Media’s growth, acquisitions, and the potential for an upcoming public offering; the future of sports media; the Israeli tech ecosystem; and more.

Following the interview, Minute Media completed a new round of funding that valued the company at over $1 billion, and it announced the acquisition of STN Video, a sports content distributor, for $150 million. The company also struck a 10-year licensing deal with
Authentic Brands Group for the publishing rights to Sports Illustrated

Note: Peled’s comments on Israel were made before the events of Oct. 7. The ongoing conflict may influence the region’s tech ecosystem and investment landscape.

Minute Media’s Founding: Disrupting the Sports Content Ecosystem

Over a decade ago, Peled and his co-founders spotted an opportunity to shake up sports content. They noticed the existing ecosystem lacked modern traits: short-form content accessible on a tech platform, where fans could also contribute as creators.

“We founded Minute Media on two core elements,” Peled shared. “First, developing tools for fans, creators, and athletes to participate in content creation. Second, building our own content management and distribution platform, so we weren’t over reliant on social media.”

A key growth strategy for Minute Media was forming partnerships with athletes, like Derek Jeter, Co-founder of The Players’ Tribune. These collaborations, tapping into the athletes' global recognition, enhanced Minute Media's credibility with both athletes and fans. This approach was particularly beneficial for The Players’ Tribune, a pioneering platform for athlete-driven content creation, which Minute Media acquired in 2019.

The Evolution of Sports Media: From Broadcast to Mobile

When Minute Media started, sports media was a mature industry with a rich legacy – but it was beginning to feel outmoded in its content creation and delivery methods. Predominantly focused on broadcast media – including TV, radio, and desktop platforms – it wasn't meeting the evolving preferences of younger audiences.

“We noticed a paradigm shift in the user base: in the ways they create, engage with, and consume content,” Peled remarked.

As sports fans became younger and more global, their consumption patterns shifted towards mobile, favoring short-form content over traditional broadcasts. Minute Media recognized this trend early and, through their innovative platforms, played a key role in driving it forward.

What’s Next for Sports Media?

Since its founding, Minute Media has watched the sports media landscape continue to evolve. While mobile-driven, fan-generated content remains central, new areas are emerging.

Sports betting, for example, has soared to new heights. The industry posted a record $10.92 billion in revenue in 2023, up 44.5 percent year over year. The convergence of sports betting and content is also expanding, with companies like FanDuel now offering a wide array of podcasts and shows.

Minute Media is closely monitoring these developments and more, as it seeks growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions.

“We're exploring opportunities in sports betting, next-gen video, and looking to expand our footprint in Europe and Asia,” Peled mentioned.

With its recent licensing deal to publish under Sports Illustrated, Minute Media plans to build on the iconic sports brand and expand the magazine’s publishing operations globally. Minute Media will continue Sports Illustrated’s tradition of in-depth journalism, thereby expanding the company’s digital footprint into print.

There's speculation about Minute Media potentially going public, given its rapid expansion in recent years. Addressing this, Peled outlined the company’s approach to sustained growth.

“Our main focus is on balancing profitability with significant top-line growth. This keeps us at the forefront of sports tech globally and opens up various strategic options, whether that’s further acquisitions or an IPO. We’re keeping an open mind about our future growth avenues.”

Israel’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Peled closed by highlighting the importance of Minute Media's Israeli roots and how the nation's dynamic ecosystem remains a driving force behind the company, even as it ventures into increasingly global markets.

“Our Israeli roots are really, really key,” Peled shared. “It’s our number one differentiator. You’ll find our offices in New York, LA, São Paulo, Tokyo, London, and more – but our Israeli DNA, and the flexibility and creativity it brings, will always come first.”