Tom’s Watch Bar, a six-unit concept based in Denver, announced Tuesday a “significant” investment from Pro Football Hall-of-Famer John Elway.
Elway, who played 16 seasons for the Denver Broncos and won two Super Bowls, will also join the chain’s board of advisors. The legendary quarterback said he plans to be an active board member and help the restaurant grow its national footprint.
“I am extremely pleased with the opportunity to invest directly into Tom’s Watch Bar—a well-developed early-stage concept with strong unit-level economics,” Elway said in a statement. “This company operates a strong core of highly profitable bars and restaurants, with a robust pipeline of growth, having an additional seven high-volume locations already in construction. Tom’s Watch Bar is bringing an entirely new sports entertainment concept to the bar and restaurant marketplace, filling an unmet need in the sports entertainment marketplace with virtually no true competitive concept in the landscape.”
Tom’s Watch Bar describes itself as a “super sports bar.” It features a large centralized television, surrounded by hundreds of other screens to provide 360-degree viewing. It pairs traditional sports bar food with a variety of domestic, imported, microbrew, and craft beers, which are available in a 40-ounce, two-handled mug.
Since its founding in 2014, the NextGen Casual has grown to six locations: Coor’s Field, home of the Colorado Rockies; Ridgefield, Washington; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Uncasville, Connecticut; and Minneapolis. Seven stores are in construction, including inside Capital One Arena, the home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards. That location is set to open later this month. Additionally, nine new leases and LOIs are in active negotiation.
Based on its existing footprint, the brand has a systemwide sales run rate of more than $40 million. That should rise to more than $100 million once the seven stores under construction are completed by late Q2 2023.
Elway’s investment marks Tom Watch Bar’s third capital injection. In late September, the company revealed private equity firm Sagard Credit Partners invested $30 million, which followed $24 million in founders’ equity.
“We are extremely excited to have John Elway as an investor and board member,” Tom Ryan, co-founder of Tom’s Watch Bar, said in a statement. “John brings a unique blend of knowledge and relationships in the sports industry. His proven leadership and business acumen, from the football field to the field of business, make him an integral partner in our continued success.”
In addition to Elway, David Robertson, CEO of FrontRange Capital Partners, will make a personal investment and join the board of advisors.