Logos for Action Network and Blue Wire. Logos for Action Network and Blue Wire.

Podcast company Blue Wire stands out not just for launching shows in-house, but for striking deals with existing shows and networks of shows. Those deals often involve advertising sales and network inclusion. They did that with Fubo in February, and with three ex-SB Nation podcasts in April, and now they’ve done it with more than 15 podcasts from Better Collective’s Action Network and RotoGrinders.

The new deal will see Blue Wire’s internal sales team (which was at six people back in February around that Fubo deal) fully represent Action Network and RotoGrinders podcasts for advertising and sponsorship opportunities outside betting. Blue Wire will also work with Better Collective on sports betting opportunities and partner integrations. Better Collective US Senior Director (partnerships) Bryan Mears said Blue Wire was the right fit for them to work with here thanks to their experience in the sports media and gaming space.

“We’re excited to bring Better Collective’s best-in-class content and podcasts to the Blue Wire Network and work with a partner that understands the modern sports media and gaming space,” Mears said. “We look forward to growing together and providing even more value to our listeners and advertisers.”

Blue Wire SVP of Business Development Maggie Clifton said this deal, one of the biggest they’ve yet struck, provides value for both sides.

“We each immediately understood the value proposition of working together—leveraging Better Collective’s content prowess and loyal audience, along with our team’s podcasting expertise and partnerships,” Clifton said. “Better Collective has built an impressive business, and we look forward to working closer with them.”

Back in February, Clifton told Sportico’s Jacob Feldman they were interested in exploring offering business development services to networks beyond Fubo. Then, she said  “We see this as a strategy growing forward where we can drive these strategic partnerships to add value to each other’s business.” They’ve done that in some smaller ways with the additions of those ex-SB Nation podcasts (which, like much of Blue Wire’s current content, are creator-owned) to their network. And those additions further showed off Blue Wire’s interest in partnering with established and existing properties, with Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones telling AA then that he sees the company’s future as largely being finding ways to boost existing creators and networks:

“Launching something new is challenging in 2023, more challenging than it was in 2019. …Almost all of our podcasters own their own IP and brought their IP to Blue Wire, that is our separator. We’re not launching much from scratch these days. …We think this is the future, five to 10 years from now, and it’s already heading that way. Creators are getting smarter, and from Day One, they want to own their own content. And no one is really helping them grow their own content, so Blue Wire can be the leader in this category. …All of our competitors are making IP factories; we’re looking to do something larger, to build a network, with the best existing owners and operators of content in sports.”

This deal with Better Collective is a further boost to Blue Wire’s scale. The company currently has more than 300 podcasts fully in its network, and while the deal here isn’t quite that (thanks to the betting carve-out), they’re now offering even more podcasts to their advertisers. And with the notable partnerships they’ve already struck with advertisers like Coors Light, some of which involve display components and studio signage in addition to podcast ad reads, they seem to be a logical fit for companies like Better Collective (which acquired Action Network for $240 million in 2021, and also owns VegasInsider.com, HLTV.org, FUTBIN.com, and bettingexpert.com, amongst other properties) looking to more fully monetize their podcasts. And this particular deal seems likely to boost the profiles of both Blue Wire and Better Collective.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.