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Consuming Podcasts: The Latest Frontier in Fantasy Football

Fantasy football’s podcast growth mirrors the larger tech trends as another option for owners to gain an edge.

Scot Chartrand

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Podcasts - NFL - Fantasy Football

Free time— it can be elusive.

Work. Home. School. Exercise. Family. Obligations. Funny enough, fantasy football has entered that upper echelon of priorities for many people as well. With that, as technology has enabled convenience in all phases of life, it continues to do the same for the fantasy world.

For content surrounding fantasy football advice, go-to experts have long been on the web, but more recently, the latest step in helping fantasy players gain more of an edge mirrors a growing platform in its own right: the podcast. Search every major publisher’s content portfolio or scan tweets of fantasy experts. Sure enough, it seems like everyone has audio offerings.

So, why the podcast? What’s on these podcasts? Why are they growing in popularity?

The Podcast Format Grows

Convenience is certainly a major driver for growth of the podcast. Being able to listen from your mobile device while commuting, working out, or even while closing your day fits valuable content into your busy schedule. 

A 2017 study conducted by Concordia University of St. Paul found that a focus on entertainment and education also drive the format. According to the study, nearly one in four Americans listen to podcasts — with millennials and Gen X’ers combining for 77 percent of all listeners.

SEE MORE: CBS Sports Turns to Voice to Help Fantasy Football Players

Advertisers recognize this, too, as ad revenue has more than doubled since 2015 alone. As you listen to fantasy football content, you’re likely to notice this as well, with many of the leading shows featuring various sponsorships. Sports — fueled by fantasy football in particular — finds itself in fourth place among all categories for podcast topic popularity.

For fantasy football experts like Sigmund Bloom of Footballguys.com’s “The Audible” podcast, the move into the format came over a decade ago as an early adopter with innocent goals.

“Cecil Lammey and I talked about the draft for about three hours during a 2006 phone call. Cecil asked, ‘Hey would you like to do this, but record it and put it on the internet?’ That sounded like a fun idea to me and I said yes,” he said. “People spend a lot of time, too much time even, thinking about their fantasy football teams.

“Some care more about fantasy football than elements of their day job. Podcasts transmit the level of investment the hosts and guests have in fantasy football, which normalizes and soothes the audience who share the obsession. They are also easy to consume while doing other things, like commuting or housework.”

The ability to multitask while consuming entertainment and education is a powerful draw, but as noted by recent growth in ad revenue, podcasts only recently took off in popularity to become a staple of the fantasy football experience as well.

Ross Tucker, a former NFL offensive lineman who hosts the “Ross Tucker Fantasy Feast Podcast with Rotoworld’s Evan Silva as a frequent guest, sees the same thing.

SEE MORE: CBS Sports HQ Places Its Bets on Sports Betting Show

“The growth of podcasts and fantasy football have seemingly happened concurrently over the last few years so it’s not surprising that the two have become joined at the hip in terms of people consuming podcasts for their fantasy football fix,” he said.

The content and the distribution have become a perfect match, and this has only fueled access to expertise for fantasy owners.

Inside the Fantasy Boom

For those new to fantasy football content on podcasts, there’s a world of coverage and variety. 

In season, offerings like the aforementioned “Ross Tucker Fantasy Feast Podcast” focus on in-depth reviews of NFL matchups as they relate to fantasy production — going player-by-player into their matchups and usability. Other shows cover weekly waiver-wire guidance among other topics — such as “Fantasy Footballers,” “The Daily Fantasy Edge,” and “Fantasy Football Almost Daily.” A discussion into weekly rankings is a staple for many too, including “Fantasy Focus” (ESPN) and the “Rotoworld Football Podcast.”

Footballguys.com’s “The Audible” covers these as well as the week of fantasy football news, but the show attempts to inform rather than direct decision-making for fantasy owners nervous about their waiver-wire pick-ups or shuffling their lineups before kickoff.

SEE MORE: New York Jets and Marvel Join Forces on Super(hero) Gameday Activation

“We love to share to the experience of watching and thinking about football and prefer conversation and provoking thoughts to telling people what to do or sharing some rare special knowledge that only we have. We’re about community,” said Sigmund Bloom.

Still this season, new entrants continue to emerge, as the “Pro Football Doc” podcast headlined by Dr. David Chao offers comprehensive injury analysis based on his work and diagnosis from reviewing video, combined with his understanding of recovery time.

A busy schedule calls for optimizing your time as much as possible, and with a plethora of fantasy football podcasts out there, the information to put your fantasy team in position to succeed has never been easier to find — thanks to technology.

And ultimately, this has created a massive boom in one sector of the sports business industry.

Scot Chartrand is a contributor with Front Office Sports and has worked in program management driving strategic initiatives at a corporate level. He has a passion for helping clients and corporate stakeholders achieve strategic goals while providing change management and optimizing process that drives repeatable results.

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Golf Digest Back Charging For Growth With New Owner

Golf Digest is set to embark on its third ownership transition in its nearly 70 years of operation and all signs point to growth under new owners.

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Photo Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Discovery, Inc. continues its drive into golf with the acquisition of Golf Digest.

Discovery had already entered the golf space, attaining exclusive rights deals outside the U.S. for the PGA Tour, European Tour and Ladies European Tour. GOLFTV, an international streaming service launched by Discovery this past New Year’s Day, is in year one of a 12-year, $2.4 billion deal carrying the PGA Tour’s TV and streaming rights outside the U.S. Discovery also has global content deals with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari, using GOLFTV as its platform.

The bullish approach follows the trend of niche content in today’s media landscape. Discovery knows this firsthand with Food Network and MotorTrend. In sports, Discovery has had success with Eurosport and realizes sport fans crave consistent coverage.

READ MORE: The Caddie Network Partnership With Golf Digest Shows Power of Niche Platforms

“We’re looking to evolve our business and investing in content and genres that work for traditional and digital channels,” says Alex Kaplan, Discovery Golf president and general manager. “We learned from our experience with Eurosport Player, it’s very difficult to build an engaged fanbase when we offer multi-sport content.

“Let’s go deep into a specific vertical. Golf rights were available in an expansive way, and it’s not just compelling to watch, but fans play it, buy it, travel for it. It’s an ecosystem that was particularly compelling.”

The acquisition includes all brands under the Golf Digest brand, including Golf World, Golf Digest Schools and The Loop. According to the press release, Golf Digest attracts 4.8 million monthly readers and 60 million monthly video views. That’s along with its 2.2 million social followers.

This is Golf Digest’s third transition of ownership in its nearly 70 years of operation. All three have brought the media company different advantages, says Golf Digest editor Jerry Tarde, who’s been with the company for 42 years.

Tarde said The New York Times, which acquired the magazine in 1969, brought the basics and values of journalism, while Conde Nast, the owner since 2001, brought design, art and sophistication to the brand. Now, Tarde believes Discovery will bring growth.

Tarde, along with being editor-in-chief, gains a new title and role: Discovery Golf global head of strategy and content.

“This is an organization we’re at the heart of, in terms of developing sports and connecting with a high-value audience that’s passionate about the subject,” Tarde says. “This is the most exciting thing to happen to Golf Digest since it was founded in 1950. It lights a fire under us and gives us an opportunity to improve and expand U.S. coverage.

“We’ll also be able to extend it worldwide to more than 200 countries.”

On the other side of the equation, the acquisition gives Discovery a golf presence in the U.S. Kaplan said Discovery has been collecting its golf assets and knew an editorial vertical would be crucial, but it could take years to build. The Golf Digest acquisition allows Discovery to acquire that piece with one check.

“Our offering to golf fans and golf advertisers is now that of a global platform,” Kaplan says. “We can bring an aggregated golf audience anywhere in the world.”

READ MORE: GolfPass Could Set Standard in 21st-Century Sports Media

With a strong strategy in place, it will be business as usual for the time being, Tarde says, but there will be talk of new ideas and potential investments. Discovery will retain Golf Digest staff, continue the U.S. monthly print product and acquire global licenses for editions 70 countries.

“We’ve got a great team that’s been underutilized, really,” Tarde said. “Because of the way the publishing economy has been treated, our business has been in retreat. That’s now the way I spent my first 30 years. We were charging.

“This is the exciting part, we’re back on the charge.”

Like Tiger Woods on the prowl on Sunday.

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Inside the XFL’s New TV Deals

With nine months to go until its first game, the XFL has locked in its lineup of broadcast partners for all 43 regular season games.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

With nine months to go until its first game, the XFL has locked in its lineup of broadcast partners.

The deals will see all 43 games appear on either broadcast or cable TV and will see them divided up between ABC, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2.

What do you need to know?

1. – 24 of the XFL’s 43 games to be on broadcast TV (13 on ABC; 11 on Fox)

2. – According to Joe Flint of the WSJ, the deals are for three years, but no cash is changing hands.

3. – As part of the deals, the broadcast partners will cover the production costs of the games, which John Ourand notes will run $400,000 per game.

4. – Disney and Fox will keep all the television advertising inventory for the games while the XFL will handle the selling of sponsorships in the venues, according to Flint.

Will we see a repeat of 2001? 

The XFL’s reboot will come 19 years after McMahon and company attempted to make spring football a thing. Like the AAF this year, the league started with a promising opening night and then sputtered to the end. By the end of its first and only season, the XFL saw its ratings fall from a 9.5 to a 1.5 at their lowest point, according to OSW Review.

While the first time around may have not gone as planned, executives from all sides of the table are enthusiastic about the possibilities.

“The effort Vince is throwing behind it with his own personal capital and the combination of Fox and Disney platforms give us the best chance to make spring football work.” – ESPN programming chief Burke Magnus to Joe Flint of the WSJ.

Rolling into upfronts…

The announcement of the deals couldn’t have come at a more strategic time for all parties involved with upfronts scheduled to begin in six days. Given the fact that the broadcast partners will be responsible for selling ads, it would be rather surprising if the XFL inventory wasn’t included in their presentations.

Last year alone, the television upfront market for commercials generated $20.8 billion in commitment from advertisers, up 5.2% from the previous year, according to an estimate by Media Dynamics.

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Why Fewer Ad Breaks are Coming to the Super Bowl

Fox will be cutting back the number of commercial breaks for the big game by one, having only four breaks per quarter instead of five.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

Next year’s Super Bowl might feel slightly different to viewers.

That’s because Fox will be cutting back the number of commercial breaks for the big game by one, having only four breaks per quarter instead of five, according to Brian Steinberg of Variety.

Fewer breaks, but the same amount of commercials…

Although Fox will be cutting down one whole commercial break each quarter, the four that remain will be slightly longer, allowing the broadcaster to still have the same amount of slots for advertisers even with fewer breaks in the action.

This isn’t a first for the NFL…

The league has been working with broadcast partners since last year to find new ways to deliver advertisements during telecasts. The initiative last year focused on delivering more sponsored vignettes and less “billboard” ads, a change that could be difficult at times for the networks seeing as in the past they have used the “billboard” inventory as bonuses to big-spending sponsors, according to Variety.

Why do they want to cut down? According to calculations from Streaming Observer’s Chris Brantner, the average NFL fan watches almost 24 hours of advertisements in a season.

Or other leagues…

As leagues battle for the attention of their consumers, making sure they give them less time to check their phone or change the channel has become a priority.

Earlier this year, MLB announced that it was planning to reduce each national commercial break by 25 seconds, NASCAR has been using split screen advertising since its days on ESPN back in 2011, and the NBA has done it with ESPN during timeouts.

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