Since the beginning, The Athletic has concentrated on the written word and has hired some of the best writers in the industry. After dabbling in video, The Athletic is now expanding its offerings in the podcast world.
As reported on Tuesday by Axios (and later announced by The Athletic), The Athletic is producing and launching over 20 podcasts that will be ad-free and exclusive to subscribers. This comes after The Athletic raised $40 million in Series C fundraising late last year, with that funding being earmarked for original audio and video content, joining The Athletic’s hallmark written content.
Some of the new podcasts will cater to a national audience, but The Athletic will also being placing a focus on local podcasts, which CEO and founder Alex Mather claims is an “underinvested” market. One reason is because a local podcast is typically limited in downloads and that affects the ad revenue needed to keep a quality podcast going. Since The Athletic’s podcasts are ad-free, they can go local without the pressure of raising ad revenue.
The Athletic’s local podcast strategy will begin in the Bay Area and Toronto, featuring a total of 15 podcasts focusing on teams in those regions. One of those podcasts is Warriors Plus-Minus, a pre-existing podcast featuring The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson and Tim Kawakami which will now be exclusive to the site. Local podcasts from other cities will launch in the future.
There are also a few nationally focused podcasts that will be a part of the podcast launch, including the following.
- The Breakout: Fox Sports, ESPN, and Barstool alum Julie Stewart-Binks hosts this NHL podcast with Billy Jaffe and Craig Custance, which will look at the biggest storylines throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- The NBA Daily Ding: A daily 20 minute podcast hosted by Zach Harper, Dave Dufour, Wosny Lambre, and Travonne Edwards that looks at what happened the night before in the NBA.
- The Opener: Recently hired Athletic MLB writer (and host of many podcasts at his previous employers) Jonah Keri “breaks down the biggest stories and hottest trends in baseball and talks to the biggest names, nimblest newsmakers, and smartest minds in the game.”
- Rates and Barrels: A fantasy baseball podcast hosted by Eno Sarris and Derek Van Riper that will utilize analytics and advanced stats to give listeners an edge in their fantasy leagues.
- Starkville: An MLB podcast hosted by Jayson Stark and former ESPNer Doug Glanville.
The Athletic’s podcasts will be available on their site and app, but won’t be available on other platforms like iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play, which could present some logistical issues for those listening on the go. The Athletic did release an update for their app on Tuesday that allows for podcasts to be played on the go, but it’s one more small hurdle for people who like to have all of their podcasts in one place.