NWHL announces more investors, closing of funding round

Influx of capital to provide league with “long-term viability”

Today, the NWHL named more investors in the league, including one who joined in the latest round of equity funding which just closed.

The league announced the funding round was led by Andy Scurto, the founder and former president of San Jose-based insurance software firm ISCS. In addition, two more investors were named publicly for the first time — Michael Gilfillan, a former co-owner of the New Jersey Devils, and Matthew Arpano, managing director at Silvercrest Asset Management Group in New York.

“The NWHL is a strong league that has implemented a great model for supporting the athletes. Having been very involved with youth hockey as my daughter has played for many years, I see the value sports has to offer and I’m especially passionate about building women’s professional ice hockey for the current and future generations of players. The NWHL and the players have advanced the sport and the league beyond its startup phase, and there is more to come in the years ahead,” said Scurto in the league’s press release.

The NWHL previously released the names of two of the more than 20 investors through its Partner Profiles - Neil Leibman, a co-owner of the Texas Rangers, and Lee Heffernan, former CEO of IMG Live and current Founding Partner of the W Agency in Atlanta. In May, the league released a letter about the state of the NWHL which named two additional investors Joel Leonoff and Scott McCormack. It also listed Leibman, Heffernan, and McCormack as board members. Given that Scurto led a major round of funding, it could be expected that he also joined the board.

Typically, an equity funding round raises capital for an organization in return for shares of ownership. No financial details were given on the funding round, which will be used to “increase infrastructure and enhance player development, among other initiatives,” according to the release.

“This provides us with long-term viability. This round of funding empowers us to invest in our most sustainable revenue streams. We had our best offseason in corporate partnerships this summer, so we’ll continue to focus our resources on procuring strong alignments that will lead to more support for our players and business,” said Dani Rylan.

This off season, the NWHLPA worked to secure a deal for a 50-50 revenue share for all league-wide sponsorships and media rights deals. This includes the three-season long Twitch streaming deal which including a first-ever rights fee paid by the streaming site for the games.

In September, the Boston Pride were bought by a group of investors led by Cannon Capital managing partner Miles Arnone. They are the only privately-owned team in the league this season.