Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Media plots expansion
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Media firm has inked a seven-figure podcast deal with Cadence13 that will help launch a slate of new shows this fall as part of a broader media expansion, executives told Axios.
Why it matters: What started as a fun outlet for Earnhardt Jr. to connect directly with his fans has turned into a profitable and growing media production company.
Catch up quick: Dirty Mo Media launched in 2013 with a weekly podcast called "The Dale Jr. Download," which today is one of the top motorsports podcasts in the country.
- The company was co-founded by Earnhardt Jr. and his longtime friend Mike Davis, who was recently named president and executive producer of Dirty Mo Media, in addition to being an equity holder in the company.
- Dirty Mo is a nickname used to describe Earnhardt Jr.'s hometown of Mooresville, North Carolina, where the company operates today out of a race shop.
- Dirty Mo Media is bootstrapped and has no plans to raise outside capital.
Details: With the Cadence13 deal, Dirty Mo Media will launch three new shows this fall, in addition to its four existing shows: "The Dale Jr. Download," "Door Bumper Clear," "The Burton Continuum" and "Speed Street."
- The new shows will focus on more than motorsports, tapping into the passions of Southern sports fans with topics like college football, Davis told Axios.
- Most of the Dirty Mo podcasts are simulcast in video, and future shows have video components planned. The company is launching several new original shows on its YouTube channel this year as it seeks to grow its social presence.
"The first big step was putting Mike in a position so that he could execute his vision, make important hires, and begin building new shows that he and I want to make," Earnhardt Jr. told Axios in a statement.
- "The next year is going to be a lot of fun as we ramp up production."
Between the lines: In addition to audio, the company plans to push more aggressively into TV production, given the success of its existing shows, like "Lost Speedways," a Peacock exclusive about abandoned racetracks.
- "I think Dale Jr. has that ability to resonate with people beyond motorsports," Davis said, noting Earnhardt's commentating work for NBC Sports across football, the Olympics and the Kentucky Derby.
- He's "one of those athletes that transcends sports, and there's not a lot of them out there."
State of play: Dirty Mo Media is one of the several companies owned by Earnhardt Jr. and run by his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller.
- Miller was recently named CEO of all Dale Jr.'s companies, including JR Motorsports, a professional stock car racing team, and DEJ Management, which manages Earnhardt Jr.’s marketing and business relationships.
Between the lines: Interest in motorsports media is booming. Nascar ratings are up, and the company is using that momentum to build a brand new production facility outside of Charlotte that's reportedly worth $30 million.
- The popularity of Netflix's Formula 1 documentary series has helped usher in a new generation of young motorsports fans.
The big picture: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the latest celebrity athlete whose mega-following has helped drive a successful media production company.
- Religion of Sports, the sports media production company co-founded by Tom Brady, Michael Strahan and filmmaker and entrepreneur Gotham Chopra, raised $50 million in a new funding this year.
- SpringHill, LeBron James' production company, sold a minority stake that valued it at $725 million last year.
- Omaha Productions, the production company from Peyton Manning, has expanded to produce scripted shows.
What to watch: The company plans to bring more of its productions on the road at major races and sporting events next year through its new premium events division called Dirty Mo Live, which launched in March.