YouTube Sports Leader Joins The Whistle’s Executive Team

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Julie Kikla to Head Content Partnerships and Digital Strategy at First Sports Entertainment Network Committed to Young Fans and Athletes

A founding member of the YouTube Sports team is now a member of the executive team of The Whistle, the first sports-entertainment platform designed to serve the next generation of fans and athletes. Julie Kikla will serve as the start-up’s Head of Content Partnerships and Digital Strategy.

As Content Manager of the YouTube Sports team, Kikla managed a series of landmark deals for the platform. She has moved from YouTube’s offices in London to The Whistle’s headquarters in New York, where she will lead the company’s rapid growth though content partnerships and cross-platform strategies.

“The Whistle platform is being built to serve a generation of digital natives who look to their phones, tablets, gaming consoles and YouTube specifically to learn about and enjoy sports. Julie brings an incredible mix of drive, experience and results to the table to ensure we are the digital destination for that audience,” said Whistle founder and CEO John West. “We were looking for someone who understood and excelled at the intersection of sports and digital entertainment and found it in Julie."

Kikla said her years at YouTube and the National Agency Team at Google made her aware of the considerable market opportunity available at the intersection of kids, sports and entertainment. She believed The Whistle’s progress building their professional league partnerships, investment team, content strategy and company leadership best positioned them to own that intersection.

“It was clear at YouTube that there is an incredible opportunity to create sports content targeted to Generation C and aggregate the best of rising sports content creators,” Kikla said. “The Whistle has made tremendous progress and the chance to be a part of a rapidly growing company in the digital media and sports space is a fantastic opportunity. My goal will be to forge new partnerships with leagues, teams and content creators that reaches and inspires kids on every platform and device”.

The move comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Major League Lacrosse has joined the NFL, PGA Tour and other groups as equity investors in and content partners with The Whistle, whose list of partners now numbers more than half a dozen leagues and sports organizations.

Earlier this year, The Whistle was named one of the nation’s ten “most revolutionary market-ready startups" by a team that included the Angel Capital Association, Dell Founders Club, NAB Show, National Venture Capital Association, Startup America Partnership, The Paley Center and Springboard Enterprises.

Kikla joins an executive team that includes founder West, a successful entrepreneur who has started, grown and sold multiple companies; co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Urban, a former SVP of Sports Marketing at Gatorade; Brian Diamond, a former SVP of Production at Spike TV and MTV; former Yahoo VP Scott Roback and Brian Selander, a former management consultant and advisor to several elected officials.

Prior to her time on the Sports Content team at YouTube, Kikla managed partner education initiatives for YouTube and was an agency lead on the National Agency team at Google for three years. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she was on the school’s gymnastics team; was marketing director for a digital start-up; worked as a research associate in the Children and Media Lab at the Annenberg School of Communication; and spent years as a management consultant where she helped create go-to-market opportunities for new companies.


The Whistle is the first sports network and community that entertains, inspires and equips the new generation of fans and athletes. Pro sports, curated content, fitness & nutrition, sports science & math, games and insider access to professional athletes are delivered across all the media platforms where digital natives live today. Its owners and investors include sports heroes such as Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, and Tim Wakefield, media pioneers including former heads of Nickelodeon and MTV, and league partners like the NFL, PGA Tour, Major League Lacrosse, U.S. Soccer and the Harlem Globetrotters. For more information, go to

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