Battle of the Soccer Podcasts Just Beginning
With the growing popularity of podcasts, it’s a shame that more media organizations aren’t embracing the technology to provide content to their readers and viewers (and an opportunity to generate new streams of revenue).
Soccer/football podcasts are a perfect example. The Guardian has expanded its Football Weekly podcast to a twice weekly show (with its typical Monday episode plus a new Football Weekly Extra episode released on Thursdays). The Times, meanwhile, is back with its weekly The Game Podcast albeit without host Danny Kelly who has been replaced by Gabriele Marcotti. The good news about Kelly’s departure is that Marcotti’s lead role may result in Guillem Balague appearing on the show more often.
While The Game Podcast and Football Weekly were cordial last season, this year they seem to be trying to outdo each other (with The Guardian going twice weekly and Marcotti adding more of a serious touch) with The Times venturing into the daily email newsletter service and blogs, which could be tantamount to copying The Guardian’s formula of success.
Outside of these two leading UK publications, the quality and quantity of soccer podcasts look bleak. The Beautiful Game completed its final episode after a stint of 18 months. Soccer Shout has decided to hang up its boots after publishing hundreds of episodes.
In the United States, there are radio shows which are also released on podcasts (World Soccer Daily and Champions Soccer Radio), the network of EPL Talk Podcasts (EPL Talk, Major League Soccer Talk, Serie A Talk and La Liga Talk) and several podcasts with smaller audiences. And from the United Kingdom, there’s the twice-weekly ESPN Soccernet Extra Podcast, the 606 Podcast from BBC Five Live, while Australia offers A Game of Two Halves, which is back from the brink.
Meanwhile, what is most surprising is that media organizations haven’t produced their own soccer podcasts. Media companies such as The Daily Telegraph, The Independent newspaper, Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports. The Daily Telegraph has tried podcasts in the past (Telegraph Fantasy Football Podcast and Champions League Podcast with Henry Winter) but both of them were fundamentally fixed on making money for The Telegraph’s fantasy football product.
Part of the issue with these media corporations being slow to publish their own podcasts is bureaucracy and resources. It’s much easier for a soccer fan to produce a podcast out of his own bedroom than it is for a massive company with layers of middle management to get a new “product” created such as a podcast. Some companies just don’t have the bandwidth to handle another project. And, of course, there are many media companies who aren’t Internet-savvy or simply don’t have a clue.
Imagine podcasts featuring Bobby McMahon, Henry Winter, Des Lynam, Steve McManaman and James Lawton. The quality of presenters is out there. Now we have to wait for these media companies to get their act together and to create remarkable podcasts before they’re left in the dust.