Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo of Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones, Photo credit: Olivia May

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.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Jan 11, 2021 - Sports

Business is booming for sports agencies

Data: Forbes; Table: Axios Visuals

The pandemic may have upended the sports world, but business is booming for its top agencies.

By the numbers: The 40 most valuable sports agencies in the world negotiated deals worth over $56 billion in 2020 and brought in commissions worth $2.9 billion — a 10% rise from 2019 and a 55% gain since 2015, per Forbes.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
16 mins ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.