By: Joe Londergan, @Joehio_
Downtime is a rare commodity for working sports professionals. Not too often do we come by time where we can focus on more than one thing at once. However, things like travel days and long runs present the opportunity to passively learn more about the sports business from seasoned industry pros through the magic of podcasts.
With that in mind, here are five podcasts that I recommend for sports professionals looking to grow their knowledge of the business. With each, I believe there’s something from the show take forward with you, no matter where you are in your career in sports.
Host: Richard Deitsch
Veteran Sports Illustrated columnist Richard Deitsch hosts this weekly show where he converses with members of the sports media about their personal journeys to their current positions as well as their notable accomplishments and publications. Deitsch and his guests, who have included broadcasting and journalism legends like Adam Schefter, Holly Rowe, and Bill Raftery, also typically spend part of an episode chatting about current issues affecting the world of sports journalism today.
If you have any aspiration to be in front of or behind a camera write at the professional level in the context of sports, this is a must listen. Each and every guest (and Deitsch himself) offers valuable insight on the finer points of their profession including growing an audience, crafting a narrative, and even dealing with ethical dilemmas. Plus, if you’re an enthusiast for the history of sports journalism like myself, you’ll be able to appreciate the behind the scenes stories some of the icons of the press box have to offer.
Werly and Wallach are two experienced sport lawyers specializing in issues and cases directly affecting the sport industry. Werly is also the managing editor of sports law blog The White Bronco while Wallach contributes to The Sports Law Blog, among other entities. Each episode is a discussion between Werly and Wallach (and the occasional guest) centered around a specific legal issue facing the sports world currently. Examples of that have been the new collective bargaining agreement in the NBA, the potential legalization of sports betting in parts of the U.S., and the myriad of domestic violence cases facing various professional athletes.
If you hope to follow in the footsteps of Werly and Wallach and practice law or if you’re studying law in order to pursue another career (like becoming an agent, for example), I especially recommend this podcast. It’s the chance to be a fly on the wall as these seasoned legal minds turn over these cases and scenarios and examine them from every possible angle. It’s almost like a free law school class. While you may not be ready to open your own practice after subscribing, even as a casual listener I’ve come away with a whole new appreciation and understanding of things like contract negotiations and labor disputes. It’s a perfect introduction to this realm of the business that’s becoming exponentially more important every day.
Host: Jonah Keri
If you’re unfamiliar with Keri’s work, Keri previously wrote for the short lived, but much acclaimed, Grantland website. Baseball fans will also know Keri from his writing for CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated along with his best selling books (The Extra 2%, and Up, Up, and Away). Keri’s podcast headlines The Nerdist’s sports ventures and features casual conversationsbetween Keri and guests from all walks of sports. Past guests have included other writers, athletes, team execs, and even comedians, all of whom provide unique and interesting perspectives on what sport really means to the world.
Along with each piece of life advice from the guest that caps off every episode of Keri’s show, young professionals can take one very important thing away from the show: never stop loving what you do. Keri approaches each topic of conversation with the same high level of spirit and enthusiasm, and it’s infectious in the best way. Hearing Keri approach sports in this manner, you learn just as much about him as you do the guest. At many points, it even seems like the guest is interviewing Keri, which feels very refreshing from a format perspective. At any rate, Keri’s ability to fervently dissect every nook and cranny of the sport world reminds us all to appreciate the opportunity we’re pursuing to make our own dreams come true.
Host: Peter Roumeliotis
The intersection of sports, pop culture, and social media is the topic of this roundtable show hosted by sports communications jack of all trades Peter Roumeliotis. Roumeliotis covers hockey for Sports Illustrated and the NHL Players Association, has worked social media for the World Junior Championship of Hockey and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and play by play as a broadcaster for the Cumberland Grads, a junior hockey team in Navan, Ontario. “PeteyBeats” brings his knowledge from all of those jobs to these discussions with (normally) multiple guests per episode with the discussion centralized around one specific slice of sports communications in a session.
The biggest thing that I’ve taken away from listening to Roumeliotis and company is the importance of having a broad perspective within sports. On the show, when you see one person of the discussion put an idea or a question forth, that idea gets batted around the participants for a few minutes. At the end of those few minutes, you have four different, but equally insightful, answers to that question. Take that same approach to your work. Be willing to converse with and source ideas from your personal and professional network and look to areas outside of your sport (or outside of sport all together) for inspiration.
The name says it all. You may know DeShazo as the founder of Fieldhouse Media and author of the book iAthlete: Impacting Student-Athletes of a Digital Generation. Hodgkin currently oversees college sports product development at NeuLion and brings over a decade of experience on college sports to the conversation. The newest podcast on this list, DeShazo and Hodgkin have already provided six very thought provoking episodes on how to continue to grow as a leader within the sport industry. Each episode deals with a different approach to becoming a better leader including becoming more self aware and dealing with role changes.
Those with the goal of becoming a coach or an athletic director will especially be able to relate to the content of this podcast. As Kevin and Mark note, the college sports community is a very strong one and heavily dependent on your ability to grow and build relationships. So much of what the show talks about deals with improving that skillset and it has clearly worked for the hosts. As you listen to the show more and more, the point made in the introductory episode about how they each have very different personalities becomes more apparent. Nevertheless, those differences almost work to their advantage providing better chemistry for the show. Subscribe to the show and let DeShazo and Hodgkin try to teach you how to do the same with those inside your organization.