Rapidly Growing Sports Media Start-up Stakes Claim as Number One Local Sports Podcast Network Producing 450 Episodes Weekly
Company Total Listens Doubled in 2018, On Pace to Go As High as 75mm in ‘19
Park City, Utah – Arguably no other company is riding the podcast wave more expeditiously than the Locked On Podcast Network (www.lockedonpodcasts.com) which can now lay claim to being the nation’s number one producer of local sports podcast shows and episodes. The high-flying start-up produces some 450 episodes a week, delivering local professional and college sports podcasts in nearly sixty different major metro markets in the US and Canada. Locked On is not just the clear leader in local sports podcasts, it’s also one of the top producers of podcasts in the world.
Locked On launched in June of 2016 from a single daily podcast that former Seattle Sonics and current Utah Jazz play-by-play voice David Locke started more than 8 years ago covering the Jazz. The Company now generates five million listens per month, consisting of a core prized demographic of avid sports fans who crave any information they can get about their favorite teams and are enthralled with Locked On’s short form, 22-30 minute, daily podcast model.
The company is quickly building a moat around a unique business model. “When Locked On launched, most other companies were producing shows that were 60 minutes or longer, releasing episodes only a couple times a week or as mini-series a few times a year and targeting national audiences,” says Locke. “We believed that daily, short-form podcasts would become a predominant format for this new medium. And that a huge void existed in targeting local audiences, especially passionate sports fans.”
The rise in popularity of the “daily podcast” genre since then has proven that vision to be accurate and advantageous. A benefit of this model is the company’s ability to reach one of the advertising industry’s most elusive audiences; adult men who are no longer consuming traditional media as they have in the past. They do watch and follow sports with zealous devotion. Locked On’s podcasts have become a viable bridge to this prized demographic by creating daily appointment listening for its quickly building cadre of loyal sports devotees.
At the heart of Locked On is a roster of over 100 local experts and insiders covering their teams and the biggest stories. “For sports fans, it’s fairly easy to find sports talk about the most popular teams in the country,” says Brian Peacock, host of the Locked On 49ers podcast. “But not so easy to find deep coverage for the team they personally care about, day in and day out, especially on demand.”
Locked On’s team of local experts provide in-depth coverage of every NBA and NFL team with a growing list of major college sports teams. The company also produces nation-wide podcasts covering the NBA and NFL as well as some of the industry’s top-ranked draft and fantasy sports podcasts. Year over year, listenership has grown as much in the off-season as it has during the season, further validating Locked On’s year-round, day-to-day, in-depth coverage of local teams and major sports for serious fans.
The growth in podcasting overall is giving rise to a new, digital “golden age” in audio information and entertainment. Podcasts can deliver a wider breadth of content, tailored for specific audiences in ways that traditional radio can’t. The ubiquity of smartphones and now smart speakers, all voice-enabled, makes it easier than ever to listen to personally-tailored audio content on-demand. “It’s a great equalizer,” says Locked On COO Carl Weinstein. “It’s just as easy to ask your voice assisted smartphone or smart speaker to play your favorite podcast as it is to ask for your favorite music stream or radio station.” The prevalence of voice assistants on smartphones is also turning commute time in the car into a fast-growing domain for podcasts.
In fact, according to a 2018 study by Edison Research, 52% percent of all audio listening on smartphones is for podcasts. Podcast fans listen to an average of 7 podcasts a week. And after introducing a smart speaker into the home, 71% percent of people say they’re listening to more audio content, including podcasts. In a recent study by Nielsen Research, 17% of Americans are now regular weekly podcast listeners but a much larger 64% of all Americans are aware of podcasts and ready to lean-in to the medium.
According to Weinstein, the podcast medium is an advertiser’s dream come true. “Podcast listeners seek out the shows and subjects they’re personally passionate about,” says Weinstein. “This means they’re more engaged and rarely ‘tune out’ in search of something else. Mix in the avid sports fan – that Locked On reaches exclusively – hungry for coverage about their favorite team or sport and you’re looking at a winning advertising formula.”
In 2019 Locked On will be aggressively adding to its line-up of local sports podcasts while pursuing opportunities to introduce new daily national shows. “These are exhilarating times for us,” says Locke. “We truly do not know how high is up but we’re confident that if we execute well and continue to improve our product, the future is very bright.”
The Locked On Podcast Network is the nation’s number one producer of local sports podcasts and one of the top producers of podcast episodes in the world. Locked On covers NBA, NFL and major college sports teams with daily podcasts reaching nearly 60 different major metropolitan areas and reaching avid sports fans wherever they live. The company also produces nation-wide podcasts covering the major sports leagues and has some of the industry’s top-ranked draft and fantasy sports podcasts. Locked On’s podcasts feature short form, 22-30 minute, daily episodes targeting serious sports fans following their favorite teams and sports. Locked On currently enjoys a monthly audience of five million listens.