• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

Inside CBS Sports’ Innovative Podcast Strategy

CBS Sports - Podcast

Part of being a good sports media brand in 2018 is having an effective strategy beyond just pushing out articles.

CBS Sports is embracing this mentality with content in a variety of formats on a number of platforms. Notably, the brand has been hard at work expanding its offerings and has seen triple-digit audience growth across all of its podcasts this year. Fans who haven’t been subscribing to some of the bigger projects may want to consider jumping on the bandwagon now.

For instance, this season marks the 10th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2008 championship run. Bryant McFadden was a cornerback on that Pittsburgh team and now spends his days as an analyst for CBS Sports HQ. In early November, CBS Sports launched “The Season: 2008 Steelers,” a serialized podcast where McFadden details that magical season week by week (starting at Week 11) with the help of players and coaches who were by his side that year.

Jeff Gerttula, executive vice president and general manager of CBS Sports Digital, explained how this idea came to fruition.

“The idea was a collaboration,” he said. “Our content team was looking for a good anniversary hook heading into this Super Bowl season for CBS. We realized we had an analyst in Bryant McFadden, who played on the Steelers 2008 Super Bowl team. We ran the idea of revisiting the season by him, and he was very interested, so we decided to run with it and start recording. He still has relationships with many of the coaches and players on that team, and he’s had a lot of great conversations on the episodes we’ve recorded.”

Guests on released episodes of the show include Hines Ward, Ike Taylor, and Lamar Woodley, with coaching legends Dick LaBeau and Bruce Arians (along with other players) slated to appear later this season. The show already has a perfect five-star rating on iTunes.

With the impending success of “The Season” and the serialized aspect still being an easy sell for podcast fans at large, Gerttula believes that the format is something that CBS Sports will explore further down the line, provided that it can offer fans the same peek under the hood they will get with the 2008 Steelers team this season.

READ MORE: CBS Sports Turns to Voice to Help Fantasy Football Players

“‘The Season’ falls into a category of podcasts that we will look to do more of in the future — they’re event-driven, around CBS Sports tentpoles, and serialized. With podcasts like ‘The Season,’ we can put a stake in the ground and bring new users into our ecosystem by offering access to these tentpole events.

“We know there’s an enormous audience of Steelers fans, and we’re able to deliver something cool to them with the insider access that we have to this team and their path to the Super Bowl. We’re able to talk to the audience on a more personal level with this kind of podcast.”

In addition to “The Season,” CBS Sports also offers what Gerttula calls their core sports vertical podcasts. This includes shows like “Fantasy Football Today,” “Eye on College Basketball,” and “Pick Six” (an NFL podcast). The brand is also moving some of these shows in new directions in order to better serve fans. “Pick Six,” for example, now offers daily episodes during football season as well as expanding the social content offerings on the @picksixpod social channels.

“One of the goals with the ‘Pick Six’ podcast is to build a brand that’s more than just an audio product,” Gerttula explained. “We have original content on the podcast every morning that’s waiting for you when you wake up, but we also have ‘Pick Six’ social channels, where we can be with you during real-time coverage of games. We give you everything you need to know about what’s happening in the NFL in your inbox each day with our ‘Pick Six’ newsletter; it’s a good template for what we’re trying do with all of our shows.”

READ MORE: CBS Sports HQ Places Its Bets on Sports Betting Show

After a podcast succeeds at the daily episodes strategy, live streaming episodes like a traditional radio show as opposed to the usual podcasting route of recording, editing, then releasing is a logical next step. Notably, the brand is going this route with “Off The Bench,” featuring Danny Kanell and Raja Bell, which made its debut in November.

“We launched ‘Off The Bench’ as a podcast last November, and Danny Kanell and Raja Bell really developed a strong chemistry and rapport. They’re able to offer unique insight into the top stories in sports every day as former pro athletes, and we thought it would be a natural fit as a morning show on our new 24/7 streaming network CBS Sports HQ, which launched in February. We first expanded the podcast from three days a week to every weekday before we started streaming it live on HQ in August.”

[mc4wp_form id=”8260″]

The lesson here for media brands is to be constantly looking for new ways to highlight the unique voices within the organization. With shows like “The Season” and “Off The Bench,” CBS Sports is continuing to innovate and set itself apart from others in the space competing for the same audience.

“This has been a good year for us to really develop some of our key voices in that space,” Gerttula said. “Our podcasts give us a more personal touch on the news and game coverage, as well as data-driven discussions we have on CBSSports.com and CBS Sports HQ. The podcasts give us the ability to do more of something that CBS Sports is known for — storytelling.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

In an aerial view, Soldier Field is seen before a game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.

Bears Set to Forge Ahead With Domed Lakefront Stadium Plans

The NFL team has scheduled a Wednesday press conference to detail plans for a lakefront domed stadium.

K.C. Current’s Stadium Success Highlights Chiefs’ and Royals’ Failures

The NWSL club is spending more money on a stadium development project.

Everything You Need To Know About the Legal Attempts To Kill the ACC

Four lawsuits involving the conference, Clemson, and FSU could determine the future.

A Bare-Knuckle Fighter Won His Pro Debut. The Far Right Scored a Marketing Win

With Proud Boys sponsoring him, experts say extremist groups will use his success to elevate their ideologies and recruit new believers.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Randy Johnson, Bird Savior


Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

Caitlin Clark and the Fever to Receive Even More TV Coverage

The WNBA team is placing 17 games on over-the-air stations in the Indianapolis area.
April 22, 2024

‘Give Them the Real’: Why Dawn Staley ‘Spoiled’ Local South Carolina Reporters

Staley’s love for the local media leads to more coverage and passionate fans.
April 22, 2024

Two Superstars Are Dominating Professional Golf. Will Viewers Follow?

Scheffler and Korda have been nearly unbeatable on their respective tours.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 22, 2024

Apple Reportedly Close To Winning Broadcast Rights for Club World Cup

Apple’s deal would be FIFA’s first single worldwide broadcast contract.
April 21, 2024

NBA’s Media Rights Are Set to Expire: Who’s Got Next?

The league’s exclusive negotiating window with ESPN and TNT is expiring.
April 19, 2024

No Subscription Totals? Netflix’s Decision Could Impact Sports Plans

The streaming giant says a focus on subscriber totals doesn’t reflect the full state of the company.
April 18, 2024

Diamond Sports Group Is About to Survive Bankruptcy. Will It Matter?

The bankrupt company faces key questions relating to both programming and distribution.