Where is the sporting version of the Serial podcast?
Podcasts are perhaps the first sports digital content to truly rebound.
Every team had one in the early days then, like last year's Christmas presents, we just kinda lost interest.
They were not bad or broken, just outshone. And, oh, how we love bright shiny things in digisport.
Sometimes we stored them at the back of the cupboard until they were quietly binned. Others plodded on because, hey, they were a ‘thing' we did.
But they were not as good as any video.
Or anything on Twitter…
Then there was Facebook, a big audience you can’t ignore…
Oh, and then 360 video was killing it…
Periscope, Meerket, Vine. They needed attention…
Of course?, then Snapchat was THE place…
And VR, that is going to be the next frontier…
Yes, podcasts have always been the unloved, unpolished, low rent but ultimately cost-effective product on the bottom shelf, right at the back. Just next to the email newsletters.
In football terms, they are a kind of Javier Mascherano to VR's Lionel Messi - a bit dirty but very effective.
But now, despite it all, podcasts have undergone a remarkable renaissance in recent years. Perhaps, in our distracted times, they are the ultimate content for when you are doing something else.
Have you ever sat down and listened to a podcast like 1950s families did for radio shows? Didn't think so.
But many of us don't drive, mow the lawn or go running without one.
The quality of storytelling has blossomed in recent years with professionals taking up the mantel and delivering excellent narrative podcasts such as You Must Remember This, Start Up and the imperious Serial. The New York Times have launched a podcasting division while Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed and Slate are scaling up their offerings.
However, sport has sorely lagged behind.
Don't get me wrong. My iPhone is filled with sport podcasts comprised of the following:
- four blokes bickering over the games they just saw
- a single interview in what appears to be an echo chamber
- 90 minutes of sports radio topped and tailed then pushed out
If the average number of weekly podcasts consumed by devotees is five then I am batting well above my average. My niches are covered, I am informed and entertained.
However, sport lacks a highly-produced, bespoke, narrative podcast series in the ilk of Serial.
And it should not.
We spend so long crafting videos with a limited shelf-life when every sporting club in the world could squeeze out six to eight 25-minute historical tales of daring do that would stand the test of time.
These are love stories. The sepia-tinted sagas that your fans sing about in drunken stupors inside bars adorned with framed photographs of when WE beat THEM after HE did THAT.
Now there are lots of clever people out there and podcasts can turn a profit these days. Surely this is being worked on.
A major club partner may want to be associated with a piece of far-reaching content that, if produced professionally, can be as appointment-to-view as any YouTube series or possess a longevity little content can rival.
ESPN's Pin Kings has been in the vicinity while, with respect, By Association is in the "gifted amateur" bracket. But that is about that (please tell me in the comments if you have further suggestions).
Of course, "starting my own podcast" is the modern version of "writing my novel" but many of us are mulling it over. And maybe this is an itch I scratch myself.
However surely someone with more experience and, almost certainly, talent is some way down the road.
I just wish they would hurry up.
Every other content avenue is full to overflowing with fizzing yet forgettable "meh".
And that only makes the need for crafted, narrative sports podcasts all the greater.
* Let me know about your favourite sports podcasts in the comments, especially if I have missed a good one.
* Do you agree? Let me know in the comment section.
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