Sports podcaster Blue Wire says its downloads now top 10 million each month, but it is looking to grow its reach beyond the podcast realm. Founder Kevin Jones tells Front Office Sports they are looking to form long-term “strategic partnerships” that would give Blue Wire distribution on broadcast radio or in video distribution.
“The next level for Blue Wire is really building out beyond our audio and digital channels -- getting Blue Wire everywhere,” said Jones. “So we’re looking for the right partners.”
Since its launch in 2018, Blue Wire has raised $9 million venture capital funds and it has struck a high-profile partnership with Wynn Resorts that put a studio inside the Wynn Las Vegas a year ago. The studio inside the Wynn was part of the hotelier’s $3.5 million investment in Blue Wire.
Despite his desire to form partnerships, Jones told Front Office Sports he thinks remaining independent will allow Blue Wire to differentiate itself from its bigger competitors in the sports podcasting space.
“We have this grassroots culture that’s opposite of the corporate atmospheres I’ve worked at in radio, TV, and the NFL,” he said. “There’s a want from creators to know, and be in-touch, with the leaders of media companies.” Jones is a veteran of sports talk radio including KNBR San Francisco (680).
In the meantime, Blue Wire expects to nearly double its revenue to $10 million in 2022, up from $4.9 million in 2021 and $1 million in 2020. The revenue growth comes as they add more pro athletes to their roster of podcast talent with a focus on grabbing existing shows rather than launching new ones.
“To us, it’s a strength-in-numbers play. We like existing podcasters,” Jones said. He told Front Office Sports that one way they have been able to attract shows to join its network is podcast creators that join Blue Wire hold onto their intellectual property (IP) rights.
“Creators these days are becoming fiercely independent,” Jones said. “When they give away ownership of their podcast to a big corporation, they are fearful of losing control of both their audience and what they can and cannot say.”