On Tuesday, a little after the newsletter went out, the sports media giant announced that it will be debuting its upcoming daily news podcast, aptly titled The ESPN Daily, at some point in early October. (Not to be mistaken, probably, with the daily newsletter product the company already puts out, also called The ESPN Daily.)
The announcement didn’t provide much specifics to latch onto right now, but ESPN did seem to offer some ideas of what the production will probably look like to the Washington Post. Speaking to WaPo, ESPN EVP Norby Williamson described a show that would “produce new episodes every weekday morning that would probably run between 18 and 25 minutes, has many elements of The Daily.” The report also notes that the production is still in the process of figuring out who will serve as host, and how the hosting arrangements would work.
A few things:
(1) ESPN already publishes a ton of podcasts (sixty-two, per Podtrac), some at a daily cadence, that are mostly monetized through pretty harsh pre-recorded radio-like ad spots. I imagine one of the major opportunities with this upcoming daily news podcast is the possibility of selling higher-value ad spots at scale.
(2) Around this time last year, I wrote a column thinking through where the daily news podcast format could (and should) go from here. In it, I mentioned the following: “there’s just this prevailing, unshakeable feeling that everybody’s drilling for oil in the same spot because some other guy found oil there already. On several occasions over the past year, upon hearing news or a rumor of a daily news podcast in the works by a new team, my near-inevitable response has been: ‘Haven’t we done this already?’”
Despite its intentional structural similarities with The Daily, this… isn’t necessarily quite that, given the subject matter specificity. Between this, the Wall Street Journal’s recently launched daily business news podcast (called, aptly, The Journal), and the upcoming Recode daily tech news podcast, there might still a fair bit of room to explore “The Daily, but for X” constructions.
(3) I’m probably the minority on this — being what I’m told as one of the few young-ish people who actually watches Sportscenter on the reg — but I still think Sportscenter has a ton of brand equity, and there exists ample opportunity to reinvent Sportscenter for the digital media age in general, and within podcasting in particular. What can I say: I’m a dumbass romantic.
(4) Is there any other sports media company that can do something like this? Probably… not.