Podcasting company Blue Wire has been making some interesting moves lately, from partnering with Grant Wahl for a long-form series on Freddy Adu to hiring Haley O’Shaughnessy from The Ringer as their first full-time podcaster last fall to raising $5 million in Series A funding in December to hiring new marketing executive Casey Reed from Hulu earlier this week. Their latest news comes from a new partnership with Wynn Resorts and WynnBet, which will see Wynn invest $3.5 million in Blue Wire and build a podcasting studio in the Wynn Las Vegas lobby, with Blue Wire branding committed to that studio for three years. Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones spoke to AA about this move Thursday, and said Wynn was a good fit for them because of the desire for a long-term deal.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” Jones said. “Wynn and WynnBet were really willing to commit long-term, which is what we were looking for.”
Blue Wire currently has more than 140 podcasts, with everything from shows focused on particular teams to athlete podcasts to podcasts that cover entire sports leagues and/or wider issues. Jones said Blue Wire’s combination of breadth and quality made them attractive for Wynn, and they in turn were interested in teaming up with Wynn for a deep, integrated, and long-term way to really get into the sports betting space.
“We didn’t want our betting relationship to be transactional, where we work with all these different players. Wynn recognized the potential of Blue Wire with regional creators, our storytelling, our proven product, our work with athletes like Greg Olsen and Baron Davis. We checked boxes for them. …They like to see businesses moving fast and doing innovative stuff.”
Jones said a key element for Blue Wire was that this was more than just an ad buy from Wynn, with the studio providing them a real base of operations.
“We’ll have some ads with WynnBet, but this is really an in-person partnership. Blue Wire to this date has been kind of a regional brand; we now have a place to call home.”
And he said that base should help Blue Wire target major talent, both for Vegas-based roles and roles elsewhere with occasional trips to Vegas.
“It will allow us to get national talent. We’ve circled names from ESPN, NFL Network, FS1, The Athletic, The Ringer, people who fit our mold. Haley O’Shaughnessy is our first full-time podcaster, and we’re looking at adding more full-time podcasters. Some of them we hope will live in Vegas, some of them we’ll be flying in.”
Jones said the new studio and its prominent lobby location, plus the larger partnership with Wynn, will also give Blue Wire the opportunity to do fan-focused events around key sports periods.
“We’re going to do events around March Madness next year, for the NFL kickoff this year, for NBA Summer League, we’re going to fly in a bunch of our existing regional podcasters and give away hotel rooms to our fans, really create something I don’t think anyone else has in sports, a relationship with one of the best resorts.”