The Blue Wire podcasting network has seen plenty of growth over the past few years, including deals with Baron Davis, Wynn and WynnBet (which includes a Las Vegas studio), and more. Now, like other media outlets, they’re getting in on NCAA name/image/likeness changes in an interesting way, partnering with INFLCR (a software platform currently used by more than 1,000 college sports teams to store, track and deliver content to athletes, which also has an INFLCR Verified element focused on NIL opportunities) for Blue Wire Hustle, which they say will provide an easy way for current student-athletes on INFLCR-partnered teams to launch and monetize NCAA-compliant podcasts. Here’s more on that from a release:
“This is a partnership utilizing each of our strengths. INFLCR has an amazing rolodex of universities and athletes and understands the complexities of the NIL rules,” said Blue Wire Founder & CEO Kevin Jones.
“Blue Wire has a track record for making some of the best podcasts in sports. We’re elated to join forces with INFLCR so we can connect and build content with student-athletes across the nation this year.”
…“Podcasts continue to grow rapidly in popularity, and they represent a unique opportunity for student-athletes to leverage their voice, their audience, and their position, to start their own podcast,” said INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale.
“Blue Wire is the clear leader in empowering these opportunities. Giving student-athletes the tools to be successful is our mission, and this puts the opportunity for them to pursue podcasts compliantly at their fingertips.”
The new Blue Wire Hustle program will provide “technical and educational support, distribution and ad-network sales for its podcasters,” and could also include opportunities for those podcasters to guest on existing Blue Wire podcasts. And this will be integrated with INFLCR’s app, allowing for use of Blue Wire tracking and analytics and automatic deal reporting to INFLCR’s Verified Compliance Ledger.
This approach seems to make a fair bit of sense from multiple angles. Keeping NIL activity compliant with NCAA rules can be challenging, especially from a perspective of repeatedly selling ads to different buyers (likely necessary for many podcasts) rather than signing one sponsorship deal with one company. And finding a sponsor for an individual athlete’s podcast can also be challenging, especially if it’s an athlete who isn’t already an established star. Blue Wire’s network provides some scale to spread an ad buy across, and INFLCR’s side of this should make it so this doesn’t lead to compliance issues (which would likely be a giant pain for any sort of podcast network to try and deal with on their own). We’ll see how this turns out, particularly with how many (and which) student-athletes adopt it and how their podcasts are received, but it’s definitely an interesting idea, and one that seems to build on both these companies’ strengths.