ESPN’s celebration of Black history continues with Jackie Robinson as the subject of this month’s “Black History Always” special.
According to ESPN Press Room, The Undefeated on ESPN+ will air a new special “We Are All Jackie” to honor the role Robinson played both on and off the field in integrating American sports. The 30-minute program touches on Robinson’s legacy and how it continues to encourage others today.
The release notes that Doug Glanville, Brandon Bellamy, Howard Bryant, Sharon Robinson, and Lisa Salters will voice a series of letters written to Robinson from a modern-day perspective. They will highlight themes of acceptance, belonging and determination.
To complement the special, a roundtable discussion will air on April 30, at Undefeated.com and will be hosted by The Undefeated’s Bill Rhoden with Bryant and Glanville and Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
We Are All Jackie is the third documentary produced in The Undefeated’s Black History Always series, which launched in January. The initiative has seen content distributed to a variety of ESPN platforms including multiple television networks and all of the company’s digital outlets.
NBA Launching Podcast Partnership With iHeart
80 million people listen a podcast every week in the United States, up 17% from a year ago.
Podcasts have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, and the NBA is ready to officially get in the game. According to Bloomberg, the league entered into a podcasting agreement with iHeartMedia to produce a bevy of shows surrounding its greatest players and moments.
The league noted a vast treasure trove of audio files that have never seen the light of day and are ready to be utilized in more storytelling-based podcast mediums. The two partners are working together on the shows as iHeart handles the production, distribution, and advertising sales surrounding each project.
“We’ve been looking for the right partner to help bring our archives to life,” NBA Entertainment senior vice president David Denenberg said. “We have tons of audio footage that’s never seen the light of day.”
The league built a podcast companion for The Last Dance in 2020, but now they are diving headfirst into the medium. According to Bloomberg, around 80 million people listen to podcasts every week in the United States, up 17% from a year ago.
The site noted that iHeartMedia owns the popular How Stuff Works podcast and they have discussed using that format to explain the game to casual fans. NBA basketball is losing popularity on television after this season’s ratings slipped about 25% from 2019 figures.
“The NBA has an ability to drive culture beyond just sports in a way a lot of leagues are envious of,” CEO of iHeartMedia’s digital audio group Conal Byrne said. “We’ve had our eye on this league for a while to help it ramp up faster into podcasting.”
The Volume Launches Podcast Featuring Notre Dame Players
The show is releasing two episodes a week throughout the college football season starting on July 28.
Forget former players telling their stories on podcasts. The Volume has announced a new venture where Notre Dame football fans can hear from their favorite players during the season.
Inside The Garage featuring Notre Dame Safety Kyle Hamilton, Cornerback Cam Hart, Receiver Conor Ratigan, and Safety KJ Wallace showcases the athletes as they preview their weekly matchups, bat around stories from the team, and share what life is really like for a student-athlete.
The show is literally recorded inside the garage of the group’s off-campus house, and the debut episode went live on Wednesday, July 28.
With the NIL era upon us in college sports, it was just a matter of time before a show like this came together.
“When we saw the new rules regarding NIL, we began a search for compelling college athletes with personality and authority,” The Volume founder Colin Cowherd said in a press release. “We were lucky to find Kyle, Cam, Conor, and KJ who are passionate about podcasting and just happen to play for one of the most iconic brands in sports.”
Cowherd’s podcast network got rolling in January of this year and has focused on niche shows like this that differ from the usual diet of sports interview podcasts.
“Inside the Garage is an opportunity to bring our fans into the locker room and on to the field as we tell our stories from this season and beyond,” Hamilton said.
The whole crew feels like this is the ideal way to showcase their lives as athletes and tell their stories the right way.
“We have real perspective on the student-athlete experience, and we look forward to delivering it to one of the biggest fanbases in the country,” Hart said.
Cowherd is making a live appearance at the soon-to-be-famous South Bend garage in the fall. Funny enough, Los Angeles’s own USC Trojans play at Notre Dame on Oct. 23. That could be the perfect time to bring in the L.A.-based sports talk host.
“We are excited to join the team, and we are all looking forward to Colin visiting The Garage in South Bend this fall,” Wallace said.
Interested fans can find the show twice a week on YouTube and wherever podcasts are distributed.
Playmaker Capital Buys Yardbarker
The website was founded in 2006.
Playmaker Capital just made a move in the sports media landscape. The company announced its acquisition of Yardbarker. The sports and entertainment news site now resides under the Playmaker umbrella.
Yardbarker is one of the top content-producing sites in the country, mainly focusing on sports like NFL, NBA, MLB, College Sports, and NHL to drive its four million unique users per month.
“We believe that Playmaker is in the process of building the next great collection of digital sports assets, and we couldn’t be more excited to be joining at this early stage,” Yardbarker’s CEO Ben Maggin said in a press release. “We look forward to working with the Playmaker team to continue expanding Yardbarker’s reach and deliver the best possible service to our fans.”
The platform publishes over 25,000 full-text articles per month while integrating interactive quizzes and other content for a full scope feel that makes fans keep coming back. Playmaker dived headfirst into this partnership as a way to strengthen its global sports footprint.
After being founded in 2006 by Jeff Kloster, Mark Johns, and Ben Maggin, Yardbarker is ready to keep growing into this decade and beyond. Now they have a strong ally by their side along the way.
“We are delighted to welcome Yardbarker to the Playmaker family. This is a U.S. platform acquisition for us that is not only transformational but also immediately financially accretive to our shareholders,” Playmaker Founder and CEO Jordan Gnat said in the press release. “Ben, Jeff, and Mark have built a great business with incredibly loyal fans. Playmaker will be able to leverage Yardbarker’s content of all the key North American sports within our current Futbol Sites’ assets and vice versa. This is how we will build our ecosystem. We will cross-pollinate our various properties to provide all our fans globally with the best content on all sports.”
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