As Blue Wire Media looks to grow, the sports podcast network is branching into partnerships with existing media brands.
Blue Wire announced partnerships with Whistle and the Las Vegas Review-Journal to produce and distribute podcasts for the two established brands.
“There’s an opportunity to do this with great sports brands like Whistle, which has established a great understanding and brand on YouTube, but don’t know much about podcasting,” Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones said. “Instead of having a brand hire multiple full-time people to run the podcasts, we can serve as production help and sell ads.
“It is a revenue opportunity, but no one is helping other sports brands in this space.”
Whistle’s foray into podcasts also represents a further expansion of the company’s reach. Earlier this year, Whistle launched a merchandise line and an OTT channel.
“It’s really important to expand to as many platforms as possible, particularly where younger individuals are,” said Joe Caporoso, Whistle senior vice president of content and brand platforms. “Podcasting is an area that’s more and more popular with millennials and Gen Z, and it’s an area we’ve talked about and been waiting for the right situation and partner.”
Caporoso said partnering with Blue Wire gives Whistle a step or two up from starting from scratch.
The partners pay a fee to join the Blue Wire network and in return get the production and distribution, as well as ad revenue share. Additionally, having established brands adding new reach to the Blue Wire network will help draw in other advertisers, Jones said.
Jones believes adding this business-to-business aspect will provide a faster path to Blue Wire reaching seven figures in revenue than providing just a platform for original influencer-based hosted podcasts. Blue Wire currently has several angel investors, including Nextdoor co-founder Prakash Janakiraman, as well as an investment from 500 Startups.
“This can be upwards of a third of our revenue as we continue to build this out,” Jones said. “And we’ll continue to stack partnerships on top of each other to bring valuable content to our umbrella.”
Along with providing an additional revenue stream, helping other media companies succeed with their podcasts helps differentiate Blue Wire from other sports podcasting networks such as Locked On and The Athletic, Jones said.
Each partner also gets its own unique plan developed, Jones said.
For the Review-Journal, it was the paper finding value in boosting its already-existing podcasts on the Raiders, Vegas Golden Knights and MMA/combat sports.
With Whistle, it’s a bit more expansive as the two companies will develop five to ten podcasts around the company’s personalities and franchises from its other content, including “No Days Off,” “My Hustle,” and “Brother.” Likewise, Caporoso said Whistle will build out content with Jack Settleman, who the company recently hired. He already hosts a Blue Wire podcast. Caporoso also mentioned Spice Adams as a talent the company hopes to develop a franchise around.
“We can take established personalities and add more to their arsenal,” Jones said.
The partnership came to be because Caporoso said the two companies approach demographics similarly as they hope to expand their respective platforms. He said it’s a mutually beneficial relationship as Whistle will help push out the Blue Wire brand to its connections and partners and video integration.
“We like the network they already built, the collection of shows,” he said. “We think about sports in a similar way and in general the way to communicate with Gen Z with easy-to-consume content that’s not too technical.”