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ESPN Podcasts Enjoy New Records In September

“The 9.3 million unique listeners represented a 10% increase from August and 24% year-over-year, although ABC was not part of the Sept. 2019 measurement.”

Brandon Contes

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ESPN has been clear about how much they value the podcast space, viewing it as an area with plenty of room for expansion and growth. In September, that growth continued to be recognized, as ESPN Podcasts had a record-breaking month attracting 9.3 million unique listeners. 

Consisting of ESPN, ABC, FiveThirtyEight and National Geographic, the podcast network surely benefited from football’s return, an unprecedentedly busy sports month, and the approaching presidential election. The 9.3 million unique listeners represented a 10% increase from August and 24% year-over-year, although ABC was not part of the Sept. 2019 measurement. 

According to the press release, the following ESPN podcasts enjoyed significant year-over-year growth, helping to make September a record month:

  • NBA pods (The Lowe Post, Hoop Collective and The Woj Pod) up 140% versus a year ago.
  • The Right Time with Bomani Jones up 134% versus a year ago.
  • DC & Helwani up 94% versus a year ago.
  • Fantasy Focus Football up 79% versus a year ago.
  • The Dan Lebatard Show and LeBatard and Friends Network up 61% versus a year ago.
  • Baseball Tonight up 58% versus a year ago.

Additionally, ESPN featured 13 of the top 30 sports podcasts for unique audiences, led by Fantasy Focus Football which ranked second and The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz in third place. 

Not only did ESPN reach a record audience, but the network jumped three spots to No. 4 on the Podcast Industry Rankings Report. The top-10 podcast publishers on the list averaged a 3% loss in listenership for the month, but ESPN saw their audience increase. Wondery and PRX were the other top-10 podcast networks to increase their audience from August to September. 

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Bleav Launches Kordell Stewart Podcast

“My Podcast will be an On The Edge experience however tough but fair. To be able to SLASH in and out of topics takes a team that BLEAVs in me,” Stewart said in a statement.

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Former Pro Bowl quarterback Kordell Stewart is joining Bleav for a new podcast called On The Edge with SLASH.

“My Podcast will be an On The Edge experience however tough but fair. To be able to SLASH in and out of topics takes a team that BLEAVs in me,” Stewart said in a statement.

 “Kordell was electric on the football field, and we are thrilled for him to be electric in front of a microphone. Kordell will bring top notch insights to Bleav,” Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm said. “We are ecstatic to work with him!”

The 49-year-old Stewart, nicknamed “Slash” for his ability to play several positions, mostly played quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1995-2002. He also played for the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens during his NFL career

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Over Half of All NFL Viewers Don’t Know Thursday Night Football Is Streaming on Amazon

A study of 1,000 Americans 18 and older indicated 53% of frequent NFL viewers are aware that the games will only be available on Amazon Prime Video.

Jordan Bondurant

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Thursday Night Football

The new NFL season is heading our way fast, and in Week 2, Amazon will be kicking off its historic run as the home for Thursday Night Football.

The only thing is apparently there’s a large group of football fans out there that still have no idea that you’ll only be able to stream those games.

Cumulus Media and Westwood One Audio Active Group commissioned a study of 1,000 Americans 18 and older which indicated 53% of frequent NFL viewers are aware that the games will only be available on Amazon Prime Video.

What’s more concerning, according to Nielsen Scarborough, 54% of of those who watched TNF (36.7 million) in the last year say they are not Amazon Prime members. So they likely won’t have access to a game stream anyway unless they subscribe.

On the flipside, though, those who already have Prime are more likely to tune in to games anyway. Of those surveyed, there’s a good chance the various alternate broadcasts offered in addition to the traditional feed with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit will bring in larger audiences and viewers who may be occasional NFL watchers.

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Apple is Leader to Land Big Ten Streaming Rights

Amazon has also been negotiating, but the decision by USC and UCLA to join the conference reportedly brought Apple to the table.

Jordan Bondurant

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Apple Big Ten

A new media rights deal for the Big Ten Conference is nearing its completion, and it’s being reported Apple is close to joining NBC, CBS and FOX as a media partner.

According to both The Athletic and reporting from MacRumors, the tech giant remains as the leading potential streaming partner in the new deal.

Amazon has also been negotiating, but the decision by USC and UCLA to join the conference reportedly brought Apple to the table.

The deal will reportedly see the conference make $1 billion per year. Apple has already made a splash in the streaming world this year, making deals with both MLB and MLS to stream. The company is also still being linked to talks over securing NFL Sunday Ticket.

A formal announcement of the TV rights deal is anticipated by the end of this week, but no word on whether streaming will be included in that or if a separate agreement needs to be reached.

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