As Blue Wire Media continues to grow, the podcast network is hoping to create a new voice in baseball to help build the sport.
Chicago Cubs second baseman Ian Happ is the latest host to join Blue Wire with his podcast The Compound, which he hosts along with his teammates Dakota Mekkes and Zack Short.
“There are no baseball voices; Ian is willing to step on this content creator stage and show personality,” Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones said. “We want to grow The Compound, and build it into a must-listen for Cubs fans and fans of baseball. He’s really starting to find his voice, and we want to throw our resources and attention behind it to stand out.”
Happ’s podcast started at the end of March because he wanted an easy way to tell stories and connect with fans. The weekly show is a mixture of baseball talk between the three teammates and interviews, ranging from other teammates like Anthony Rizzo to celebrity Cubs fans like actors Jeff Garlin and Jake Johnson and answering fan questions. The podcast is “very organic with its ebbs and flows,” Happ said.
The show will continue once the MLB season starts, and Happ believes the behind-the-scenes look from a player’s perspective could help boost the sport.
“As a sport, baseball is lagging behind, specifically the NBA and how they’ve grown their game at an exponential rate,” Happ said. “For baseball, there’s a little bit of an old school mentality, but we can do a better job of marketing our game and getting players in front of fans and making those connections.”
Joining the Blue Wire network was a mutually beneficial opportunity to boost the profile of both entities, Happ said. The 25-year-old isn’t worried about the financial aspect of growing his media brand at the moment as he says, “I have my day job already,” but that he enjoys doing it and is excited about the possibilities that could present themselves in the future.
“Putting yourself out there is important,” Happ said. “The goal is to help push the league to be better as players promoting ourselves and the sport. That’s how we bring in more fans and how we grow baseball.”
The foray into the MLB player realm is just the latest growth front for Blue Wire, which has had an active past couple of months. The company finished a $1.2 million investment round in February, including former NBA star Baron Davis who has also become a brand ambassador. Davis is also launching his own podcasting company within the Blue Wire network called Slic.
After sports shut down in March, Blue Wire focused on building out narrative podcasts, and Jones said the company is also focused on continuing the growth in business-to-business relationships, like its partnerships with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Whistle.
More recently, Blue Wire has added a podcast by Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, and Jones said there’s new soccer and NBA feeds coming in July.
In two years, Blue Wire has grown into a network of more than 90 podcasts with more than a million monthly active listeners. That growth is also coming at an opportune time as the podcast industry is attracting more attention, starting with Spotify’s acquisition of The Ringer for nearly $200 million in February and the company’s $100 million deal to become the exclusive home to Joe Rogan’s popular show. There were also recent reports Amazon could invest in localized podcast content, like Blue Wire’s network of shows.
Jones credits new Vice President of Business Development Maggie Lanter for helping accelerate growth, especially around player personalities.
“We’re developing great relationships with agencies,” Jones said. “The Uninterrupted started something fantastic, and we’re trying to take the torch and open up to more people.”