ESPN Is Expanding Its Podcast Catalog

ESPN LogoSports media juggernaut ESPN is launching some new podcasts. And while the Disney-owned network isn’t veering too far away from its roots, these new offerings will be a little different than the typical coverage and commentary ESPN usually offers.

Three shows will be launched under the moniker “ESPN Perspectives:”

  • * Capital Games Podcast: This show will focus on the meeting point between sports and politics.
  • * Inside Out Podcast: This show will cover how sports affects athletes socially and psychologically.
  • * SportsBiz Podcast: The name says it all as this show will discuss the business of sports.

ESPN is no rookie when it comes to podcasting. The network has been producing podcasts for years and it’s had some real success with its affiliation to Bill Simmons and his Grantland network. In fact, Grantland itself is planning on expanding its own horizons. The network is building a new  studio in New York dedicated to podcasting. The new facility will be used not just for audio but for video as well.

All of these new podcasting endeavors will be ad-supported. But even with the ubiquity of the ESPN brand and the proven success of the Grantland network, there are no guarantees that these new ventures will be successful. For now, both sides are looking at these new offerings as a way to test the water with new content. If something hits as a podcast, they can look into further development options like bringing a show from Grantland to one of ESPN’s TV channels.

This news comes on the heels of ESPN’s announcement of the creation of a new production unit named Exit 31. (The name refers to the highway exit off of I-84 that leads to ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, CT.) Exit 31’s mission is to develop and “incubate” content outside of traditional media systems. It will focus on Grantland as well as ESPN Films and Original Content along with FIveThirtyEight (another sports-centric web property).

Looks like 2014 will be a busy year for ESPN in the new media space.

Posted by Shawn Thorpe

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