(Bloomberg) -- League One Volleyball, the new all-women’s professional league with backing from basketball great Kevin Durant and comedian Chelsea Handler, has again garnered the interest of institutional investors and famed athletes in a $35 million series B raise.
Support for the Los Angeles-based upstart league, also known as LOVB, was led by growth equity shop Left Lane Capital with additional support from buyout firm Ares Management Corp., according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg News. The new investor group also includes a swath of athletes, entertainers and executives such as Jayson Tatum, Amy Schumer, Candace Parker, Lindsey Vonn, Jordyn Poulter, Amy Griffin and Linda Henry.
Existing investors Handler, Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Boardroom Sports Holdings also contributed in the new round, the statement shows.
“My hope is not only to watch LOVB continue to grow at the club level and launch the first-of-its-kind professional league, but to also buy my way onto the team since I got cut from the one in high school,” said Handler, a comedian and frequent talk show host. Her investment, she said, comes “at a time when women’s sports is finally getting the attention and appreciation it deserves.”
League One’s valuation wasn’t disclosed in the statement. A representative for the league confirmed the contents of the statement while declining to comment further on financial matters.
Read More: Kevin Durant, Billie Jean King Back New Pro Volleyball League
Professional leagues across the board have seen an uptick in interest from institutional capital and high-profile figures as the long-coveted asset class has captured large valuations in recent years. Women’s sports and quirky phenomena like pickleball have benefited in particular, as high net worth individuals see emerging leagues as investment opportunities.
“We are creating an all-new narrative for women in sports, including in this round which again captured over 50% female investors,” said Katlyn Gao, League One’s co-founder and chief executive officer. The professional league is set to begin play in 2024 following the Paris Olympics.
“This is volleyball’s era,” Gao said.
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