The Booming Business of Sports Podcasting in 2020


PodMov Daily: Friday, November 13

Episode 319: Week Download Complete

The Booming Business of Sports Podcasting in 2020

In part one of a sports podcast ecosystem series, Tom Bassam of SportsPro surveys the diversifying business scene in 2020. Kevin Jones, the founder of Blue Wire, and Rich Kleiman, the business partner of two-time NBA title winner Kevin Durant, discuss how they’re expanding their brands in a changing field.

For Jones, niche fan enthusiasm is worth losing money on 80% of his network’s shows. “The premise of Blue Wire is that these social-first creators are the new sports radio hosts,” he says. “We think there is a transfer of power happening between older beat reporters and these sports influencers we're working with.”

Thirty Five Ventures, Kleiman and Durant’s investment company, recently launched a sports podcast network without pretension. “I’m not calling up Joe Rogan or Malcolm Gladwell and having a conversation like it’s one podcaster to another,” Kleiman explains. “We’re doing it because I’m trying to build a brand.”

Worth the Effort: Follow-Up Gifts for Podcast Guests

“I’ve guested on over 30 podcasts to date,” says Scott Stockdale. “No one has ever sent me a thank you card.” The host of Entrepreneurs Can Party has added them to his podcast workflow: “If you’re not sending follow up gifts to your podcast guests, you’re potentially missing out on a well of deeper connections.”

Expecting certain benefits is not the point, Stockdale explains. “The guest may share the gift across their social channels which may lead to more followers and podcast exposure. Note: I never ask or expect guests to do this. In my opinion, asking for something in return would turn a thoughtful gift into a bargaining chip.”

He usually sends a card, a copy of his favorite (short) entrepreneurial book, and a show-branded bookmark. However, “a thoughtful, handwritten card is more than enough.” Stockdale’s guests have responded with surprise and delight. “Following up with a gift to show your appreciation is always worth the effort.”

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Legal beat: Veritone has launched audio-only licensing services for its library of historic archives. Podcasters will have access to “millions of hours of AI-searchable audio and video content,” including historic footage of “60 Minutes,” NCAA championship games, and user-generated material.
  • Indie rocks: PodTales continues this weekend and next weekend. The audio drama and fiction podcasting festival, online this year, is free and open to the public. Live-streamed expert programming like “The Role of Music in Storytelling” will be accessible via link on the day of each event.
  • Sonic youth: On her children’s podcast Little Mind Chats, nine-year-old Siyona Vikram explores “mini minds with mega thoughts.” She’s covering education in its third season, following health and space in the first two. Since April, the show has reached 33 countries and 293 cities worldwide.
  • Club rules: “Can Spotify really convince people to pay for podcasts?” asks Joshua Benton of Nieman Lab. The company is reportedly considering a podcast-only subscription service. Many have failed to compete with free and easy: “The market for paid premium podcasts is pointedly unproven.”

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