Sports podcasters are looking to tap into the momentum that daily news podcasts have discovered during the past year with a growing bench of daily sports-focused shows. The latest is a joint production of The Athletic and Wondery. The podcast is called the Lead and it will be published each morning targeting the AM commute.
The Lead will be hosted by Kavitha Davidson and Anders Kelto and the companies say it will run through the box scores and some of the biggest sports news of the morning. It won’t include opinions, opting instead for a “story-driven approach,” according to the producers, who say it’ll tap into The Athletic’s roster of sports journalists and reporters. “Every day we look for new ways to leverage our incredible newsroom in order to bring more of The Athletic’s signature brand of in-depth storytelling to a wider audience,” said Alex Mather, co-founder and CEO of The Athletic.
It’s the latest partnership with an outside media company for The Athletic. Last week the company said it had struck a deal with Tribune Media’s radio outlet WGN Chicago (720) on the joint production and promotion of the Chicago Bears-focused Hoge & Jahns podcast.
The Lead will debut September 16. Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez said a combination of “emotionally immersive story-telling coupled with The Athletic’s in-depth reporting” will differentiate the podcast from some of the other sports-focused podcasts that are available. It is the latest sports-focused show for the Wondery team which has previously produced Sports Wars and Gladiator, a joint production with The Boston Globe.
In launching next week, The Lead gets a jump on a new daily sports news podcast set to debut from ESPN. The ESPN Daily podcast is expected to launch in early-October. Andy Tennant, ESPN senior coordinating producer who will run the team producing the new show, has said The ESPN Daily “will take a deep dive into a specific event or issue in sports, using ESPN’s unmatched resources and deep roster of reporters, producers and commentators.” No host has been announced for the show.
Meanwhile, Spotify has signaled it plans to do more with sports podcasts. The streaming audio service has recruited former Facebook head of sports media partnerships Amy Hudson to take over as head of the company’s burgeoning effort to build a lineup of sports podcasts. That’s already resulted in one new show. The Ringer has just announced it will produce a new show exclusively for Spotify. The Ringer’s Hottest Take will be hosted by Ringer founder Bill Simmons and be published several times a week.
Listeners have embraced the daily podcast format, at least in news. The latest Podtrac data includes two daily shows in the top five: the New York Times-produced The Daily and NPR’s Up First. Also targeting morning commuters are iHeartRadio’s The Daily Dive and ABC Radio’s Start Here, among others.