The podcast creation house Wondery has just launched its first sports-focused podcast and now comes word it will make the entire season available as a syndicated radio show. Sports Wars will become a three-hour radio special airing this weekend on more than 40 Cumulus Media-owned radio stations. The company’s network arm Westwood One is also syndicating Sports Wars to stations nationwide. It is the first piece of a new strategic alliance between Wondery and Cumulus.
Under the newly formed partnership, Wondery and Cumulus will work together to develop and distribute content as well as sell advertising on the shows that are produced. By connecting with a radio company, Wondery says its goal is to reach the 49% of Americans who Edison Research data shows have never listened to a podcast, or the 19% who are aware of the medium but still don’t listen.
“Radio offers significant reach and opportunity for podcast,” said Hernan Lopez, founder and CEO of Wondery. “Westwood One continues to lead the podcast to broadcast wave and we are thrilled to introduce our immersive storytelling to a new audience for Wondery.”
The Sports War podcast will look at the behind-the-scenes stories of some of the biggest rivalries in sports history. Hosted by Dan Rubenstein, the first season is a look at the rivalry between Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre and hot-shot rookie Aaron Rodgers. Future series examine at the rivalries between NBA stars Michael Jordan and Isaiah Thomas, tennis greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and take a deep dive into the famed 1980 U.S.-Russian Hockey gold medal game.
Westwood One is a good fit for Sports Wars since the network syndicates a wide array of sports programming covering the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters and the Olympics. To drive awareness of the three-hour special, Cumulus Media says it will promote the show on its broadcast stations, web streams and other online assets while Westwood One will promote the special on syndicated radio programming and on other podcasts it produces.
“Sports Wars is a great entry point for our partnership as it’s a high-quality, emotionally immersive program we know our passionate sports audience and advertisers will love,” Cumulus CEO Mary Berner said in a release. The two companies said the Sports Wars special is the “first of many” announcements to come. “Podcasting is a key growth initiative for us,” said Berner.
Sports Wars is a brand extension of sorts to another Wondery show. Its Business Wars podcast focuses on the “unauthorized” story of what drives companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to success or to ruin.