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Opinion: Sports Podcasts: Fans to Fans

Women’s Soccer | Photo by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian

Inspired by an early historical trend, modern sports analysts have taken to podcasts to bypass the networks and get to the people.

Fireside Chats → Podcasts 

In the 1930s, United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt utilized the new technology of radio for “Fireside Chats” to talk directly to the American people about policies and what was going on in the world. It was a personal attempt to cut through any rumors and inaccurate news, according to the Library of Congress.  

Similarly, with social media, sports enthusiasts have now used YouTube and podcasting platforms to cut through and get directly to the fans.

Being fans first, these podcasts and channels have managed to dodge the big name aura, programming and “script” of some of the biggest shows on ESPN or SportsCenter. This allows the reporters of these sites to cover all areas of the sports world and have an individual personality without changing the writing or video into how the show presents itself. 

Podcasts have created something more personable. And that is the selling point.

The new wave of consuming sports 

Years ago, when someone wanted to know what a favorite athlete was doing or training, that fan had to look through magazine articles or paper statistics to figure it out. 2023 is a different story. 

With these podcasts and channels, the athlete can tell the consumer directly; this allows for the consumer to gain some transparency by seeing through the glamor of the profession to see athletes as people.

For instance, on the Pat McAfee show, World Wrestling Entertainment (or WWE) superstar and former Ultimate Fighting Championship Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, known to be more stoic and reserved, revealed something that fans might not know.

“I get nervous around crowds. Being in front of an audience exhausted me,” Lesnar.

By interacting with someone only seen from afar, creating a pseudo-relationship builds a closer relationship, or more accurately, an understanding within a fanbase that allows outsiders to view the sport with more ease. It is not game results reported in statistics, rather it is the passion of the loss or win and the athlete’s drive. 

If someone wants to get a rundown of a game or a fight in a small amount of time, the highlights are available to jump to and continue on with the day without a plethora of advertisements from the network to worry about.

Thomas Schott, a political science graduate of the University of Cincinnati, commented on the appeal.

“When looking at podcasts in general, it’s interesting because regardless of wherever they are on, Spotify, YouTube, you get what you want out of it. There are highlights that you can jump to when you’re in a hurry,” Schott said.

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