• Shanti Bergel

Welcome, Nifty

Sport is a universal human language that connects people in profound ways. Love of the game and admiration for athletic achievement transcend conventional divisions to create community and bonds that endure for generations. From the ancient contests of speed and strength to the modern sports dynasties of today, the spirit of competition and teamwork commands our attention and compels us to invest in the stories of the contenders. It is primal, tribal, social, intensely emotional, and uniquely human. Sports fans are legendarily passionate and their enthusiasm runs both broad and deep. In 2018, live sports accounted for nearly 90% of the year's 100 most-watched television broadcasts in the United States. From the little to the big leagues, fans not only watch live with friends but maintain a close personal connection to their sports. We follow our favorite athletes on social media, buy the merch, manage fantasy teams, obsess over the stats, make friendly wagers, and of course play the video games. In aggregate, the industry is colossal in size with estimates for the entire global sports market coming in at $1.3 trillion for 2018. As I’ve noted before, video games are a driving force in the overall entertainment landscape and exert cultural and commercial influence across some of the largest franchises in television, cinema, and digital media. It should come as no surprise that sports are no exception. Analysts estimate that the annual market globally for sports video games as a category in 2018 was $4.5 billion. As sizable as that is however, it means that sports video games currently represent less than half of 1% of the total global sports market. Moreover, the vast majority of sports gaming revenue today is concentrated in a few time-honored franchises and platforms. Mobile, the largest and fastest growing gaming platform, is underrepresented and decidedly underserved when it comes to this massive category. There is a lot of white space left where gaming meets sports. Today my partners and I are thrilled to announce our investment in Nifty Games, a mobile-first sports gaming company centered around real-time competitive gameplay that fits the lives of modern sports fans. Since our first meeting with Jon and Pete, we have seen their early concepts go from paper prototypes to live software with care, speed, and a keen focus on fun and authenticity. The decades of experience in game development and sports marketing that the team bring to this challenge are unmistakable and inform their career long relationships with the major sports leagues and player associations. Alongside our fellow investors, we are honored to join Team Nifty and excited for fans to soon discover a whole new way to engage with their favorite sports.

About Transcend Fund

The Transcend Fund is an early stage venture capital firm that partners with some of the most ambitious and talented founders in the game industry to collaboratively build the future of digital entertainment.

Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, Transcend Fund operates remotely with team members around the world. Our portfolio features a range of high growth digital entertainment companies. More information about Transcend can be found on our website. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news from around the Transcend ecosystem. About Shanti Bergel

Shanti is the founding partner of Transcend and a 30 year game industry veteran.

His global operating experience spans every major platform and business model transition of the last several decades and is animated by a career-long fascination with how changes in technology and distribution affect products, services, and communities.

Shanti is a recognized member of the Techcrunch List, speaks fluent Japanese, and is a frequent speaker on early stage investment, M&A, and strategic partnerships in digital entertainment.

Data Sources

  • Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2018

  • IDG Consulting, 2019

  • Sports Industry Statistic and Market Size Overview, Business and Industry Statistics, 2018, Plunkett Research