The media group Religion of Sports – formed by NFL quarterback Tom Brady, former New York Giants defensive end turned “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, and filmmaker Gotham Chopra – has raised $10 million. It will use the money to expand its content over the next twelve months, including what it says will be the release of a “major podcast slate” by year-end.
Religion of Sports has already been toying with podcast. It debuted its first show last October when it released Why Sports Matter. The co-production with Cadence13 featured a new story each week built around a larger theme, such as mortality, tribalism and authenticity, and how those lessons extend beyond the field. Why Sports Matter published its last episode in January. On July 30 its feed will become home to the limited-run series More Than A Game that aims to show how the wisdom drawn from sports can help in the everyday word. The podcast is hosted by Varun Soni, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Southern California.
Religion of Sports also publishes Now For Tomorrow in a co-production with Magnificent Noise. Launched in April, the show is hosted by New Age guru Deepak Chopra and offers listeners tips on how to take actions to “make tomorrow better.” The weekly show has episodes that are bite-sized — some being just five to ten minutes in length.
In addition to the podcasts, several video series are in the works with Amazon, ESPN, Facebook, Netflix and Showtime, among others. That could offer a clue to where some of the new podcast content will originate. Next year, Religion of Sports will release “Man in the Area,” a nine-episode documentary that will chronicle Brady's nine Super Bowl appearances across two decades of play.
"Our vision is to create a best-in-class sports media business that empowers creators, partners with premier distribution platforms, and uses sports as the foundation to tell inspiring stories that explore greatness and human potential, social justice, diversity, inclusion and the meritocracy of competition,” said CEO Ameeth Sankaran.
Religion of Sports was founded in 2016 on the premise that “sports are religion” and it found believers in the investors, including Elysian Park, Advancit, Courtside Ventures and LinkinFirm. Together they are contributing most of the $10 million raised.
"Religion of Sports has the vision and the team to become a powerhouse in the sports media and entertainment industry," said Elysian Park managing partner Tucker Kain in a statement. "It provides a new, exciting model for how we can leverage sports to tell diverse stories of human achievement that inspires everyone, from the most passionate fans to casual spectators." Sankaran said the new funding will also give the Los Angeles-based company greater control over its destiny. “The market for high-quality, original sports-focused content, centered around human and emotional stories, has exploded in the last few years, and ROS has been at the forefront of this growth," he said.