Sports podcast company Blue Wire raises $5 million Series A
Blue Wire, a sports podcast company, has raised $5 million in its series A round, founder Kevin Jones tell Axios.
Why it matters: The company, which focuses on long-form sports narrative podcasts and conversational podcasts, now hosts more than 140 podcasts with over 20 million downloads for the year. It has $1.5 million in 2020 revenue via sponsorship partnerships via brands like Chevy and Visa.
Details: The round is being led by Dot Capital, which led its $1.2 million seed round in February. Dot is being joined by Bettor Capital, Side Door Ventures and Forty5 Ventures.
- "Kevin's been delivering over the past 10 months on everything he said he was going to deliver," says Joe Saviano, Managing Director at Dot Capital. "When someone does that, you reward them."
The money will be used to hire out an executive team and to bring on editorial talent. It's actively looking to fill COO and CMO roles.
- Blue Wire is specifically focused on highlighting minority and female voices in sports.
- 35% of its podcasters are people of color. Sports media and sports audio is predominantly white and male.
- "I was inspired by Blue Wire's ambitions to deviate from the traditional sports media outlets," says Haley O'Shaughnessy, who joined Blue Wire from The Ringer and noted the company's emphasis on giving a platform to women in media.
The money will also be used to build out the company's studio and to finance the creation of a yearly slate of 8-10 original podcast series.
- The company is working with the United Talent Agency to pitch some of its original long-form podcasts to be optioned for film and TV, including its hit original series American Prodigy, which Jones says has caught the attention of Hollywood studios and literary agents.
- "Podcasting is becoming the new books," says Jones. "We are going to lean into that unlike anyone else in sports right now."
The bottom line: Sports audio as a whole is booming but there still isn't a go-to place for most athletes, pro teams and sports media personalities to make and monetize their own high-quality audio content.
- Blue Wire is trying to fill that void. Athletes like Megan Rapinoe & Sue Bird, Evander Kane, Greg Olsen, Baron Davis, and even teams like the Baltimore Ravens, all have podcasts on the platform.