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Financing

John Elway makes a ‘significant’ investment in Tom’s Watch Bar

The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback was also named to the board of advisors of the emerging sports bar chain.
Tom's Watch Bar
Tom's Watch Bar just received a significant investment from NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway. / Photo by Jonathan Maze.

John Elway, the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback who won two Super Bowl titles with the Denver Broncos, has made a “significant” investment in Tom’s Watch Bar, the emerging chain of sports bars from the creators of Smashburger.

Elway will also become a member of the chain’s board of advisors. “Tom’s Watch Bar is bringing an entirely new sports entertainment concept to the bar and restaurant marketplace,” Elway said in a statement, saying it’s “filling an unmet need in the sports entertainment marketplace with virtually no true competitive concept.”

David Robertson, CEO of FrontRange Capital Partners, is also making an investment in Tom’s and is joining the board of advisors.

This is the third recent capital infusion for the company. In September, it raised $30 million in financing from Sagard Credit Partners, following a $24 million injection from the company’s founders.

The brand is growing quickly. Tom’s Watch Bar is based in Denver and has six locations with seven under construction. It also has nine leases in “active negotiation.” The company expects systemwide sales of over $10 million annually once its seven locations are completed by the second quarter of next year.

The company recently opened a location in downtown Minneapolis, in a closed Rosa Mexicano location. Tom’s boasts a huge number of televisions set to sports dictated by data on the local fanbase, with schedules developed two weeks in advance.

It features a menu with much of the typical sports-bar fare, such as wings, burgers and tacos, but also items such as the Ahi Tuna Tower, featuring marinated ahi tuna, jasmine rice, avocado, truffle oil, sesame seeds and crispy onions.

The addition of Elway gives the brand some star power, but also someone with connections in both the sports and business worlds. “John brings a unique blend of knowledge and relationships in the sports industry,” Tom’s co-founder Tom Ryan said in a statement, calling Elway “an integral partner in our continued success.”

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