Pro League Network Raises $2.2M, Investors Include NBA Star Kevin Garnett

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Officials with the Pro League Network (PLN) say the company’s most recent fundraising round resulted in approximately $2.2 million in capital.

A game of CarJitsu pits competitive jiu-jitsu fighters against one another inside a car. The sport is produced by the Pro League Network, which recently raised $2.2 million from angel investors. (Image: Pro League Network)

PLN facilitates niche sporting events and regulates the games and contests for fair play to qualify the outcomes for sports betting. The company says it delivers sportsbooks with “fun, bettable, live professional sports” that are optimized for wagering operators.

PLN cofounder Mike Salvaris said the latest funding round shows investors are getting on board with the business model. It’s a bet he believes will pay off, as it only takes one of the company’s sports to take off.

“The portfolio appeals to [investors] because they’re placing a bet on different properties. If one does hit, there’s equity in those leagues. It’s a one-to-many bet when you’re investing with PLN,” Salvaris explained.

The network has developed its own offbeat sports such as CarJitsu, which entails jiu-jitsu fighters combatting inside a vehicle. Other proprietary “sports” developed and/or acquired by PLN include SlapFight, a slap-fighting competition, Major League Paintball, and a forthcoming three-on-three basketball game developed with former NBA superstar Kevin Garnett called Str33t.

PLN in total has nearly 20 sports brands.

Sportsbook Partners 

The Pro League Network isn’t directly involved in the gambling business but instead works to provide integrity in the niche sports it operates that make the games suitable for licensed sportsbooks to place on their betting boards. Since most states require gaming regulators to approve sports and events that can be offered by licensed sportsbooks, the contests are typically required to be sanctioned and come with an abundance of integrity safeguards to prevent match-fixing and other outside influences.

PLN’s sports have been carried by several books in the U.S., including DraftKings and Bet365, in states where the games and contests have been approved for betting. PLN sports have been bet on in more than a dozen states, including Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

The league’s sports are prime for digital consumption, company reps say.

“We’re an entertainment company making made-for-wagering content,” Salvaris told Business Insider. Salvaris’ cofounder, Bill Yucatonis, says the company helps sportsbooks keep bettors engaged during slower times.

We’re solving a problem. We’re targeting times and days that we know are a blemish for operators,” Yucatonis explained.

The co-founders say the seed money will be used to further develop the league properties that they believe have the best odds of gaining interest among bettors.

The list includes CarJitsu, the World Putting League, SlapFight, and Str33t. Str33t will feature games running just 15 minutes, which will maximize betting opportunities and allow players and teams to play multiple games a day.

PLN operates out of its studio headquarters in Branson, Mo. PLN hopes to produce up to 40 hours a week of sports programming by the end of the year. PLN began production services in December.

Will PLN Catch On?

Sports bettors have mixed views about wagering on offbeat sports like those run by PLN. On Redditt, a discussion titled “CarJitsu is ridiculous” features varying opinions.

Possibly the stupidest thing to have ever happened to jiu-jitsu. Or cars,” the discussion began.

“I mean it’s kind of entertaining to watch,” read a response.

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