Blue Wire is one of the latest businesses to benefit from the investment group 500 Startups. The venture capital firm’s seed program gives businesses $150k and a startup support network in exchange for 6% stock in the company. Noteworthy businesses in the 500 Startups portfolio include online learning platform Udemy, cloud communications platform Twilio, and personal finance group Credit Karma.
With the extra seed money, Kevin Jones, founder of Blue Wire, will look to continue to expand the number of podcasts in the network. Most of the shows feature up-close-and-personal takes on local sports, but others interview unique guests or cover more general topics like football X’s and O’s.
Including a broader range of content might help Blue Wire compete with similar sports podcast networks, such as the Locked On Podcast network run by Utah Jazz radio commentator David Locke. As the popularity of podcasts continues to grow amongst listeners of all ages, podcast networks provide a stable platform for content creators as well as advertisers.
According to a NY Times article from earlier this year, the rising demand for podcasts continues in 2019. In fact, podcast listenership grew more this year than in previous years, even though podcasts have been around for well over a decade.
The study quoted in the article states that over half of Americans over age 12 have listened to a podcast, and that a third of the same demographic downloaded a podcast in the last month. A remarkable 40% of young listeners surveyed (age 12-24) listened to a podcast in the past month. And while older listeners (age 55+) still lag behind, the number of monthly listeners grew from 13% to 17% in 2019.
Another article in Billboard estimates that total podcasting ad revenue in the US grew to nearly $500 million in 2018. The same report projects a cool $1 billion dollars of ad money in the podcasting market by 2021.
While traditional US sports are covered in a variety of popular podcasts, esports are still relatively absent in the space. Perhaps the most notable esports-related podcast currently is “The Dive,” a weekly podcast that covers the game League of Legends and its North American esports league, the LCS.
With a successful podcasting network like Blue Wire—backed by investment money—taking on esports content, it will be interesting to see which current or future esports podcasts rise up to fill that void.