Top 10 most popular sports podcasts in the US
Top 10 most popular sports podcasts in the US
Podcasting has not been an overnight success. The concept of repackaging television and radio shows into downloadable audio episodes took time to catch on. It wasn't until 2014 that an explosion of true crime podcasts was spurred on by the overnight success of "Serial." These podcasts were original content and created the blueprint for viral success.
Fast forward to today and podcasts are everywhere and they're big business. Nearly one-fourth of all Americans get their news from podcasts. There are over 2.5 million podcasts available in Apple's podcast library alone. And the listeners, by and large, are middle to upper-class. According to Music Strive, 45% of podcast listeners have a household income of over $250,000. This has helped some podcasters get very, very rich. For example, Spotify bought The Ringer from Bill Simmons, gaining control of dozens of podcasts in the process. The price tag? Try $196 million.
With so much money on the line, it pays to have a top 10 podcast in your specific vertical. When it comes to sports podcasting, competition is fierce, but the paydays are huge. By combining the real-time sports podcast rankings from Chartable, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, OLBG determined the top 10 most popular sports podcasts in the United States.
The Top 10 US Sports Podcasts in 2023
Get ready to dive into the world of sports podcasts. From in-depth discussions to fascinating interviews, these podcasts are a must-listen for any sports enthusiast.
10. New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce - Published By Wave Sports + Entertainment
This is what happens when you take subject matter that the public can't get enough of and mix it with the kind of chemistry that can only be forged through a lifelong brotherhood. The Kelce brothers have Super Bowl wins, but you could argue that their podcast is what is really making them both household names. Both are still playing in the NFL, which makes it difficult to spin out episodes during the fall, but even with those limitations this new podcast is one of the fastest rising in the industry and could be heading for the top five by year's end.
9. Pat McAfee Show 2.0 - Published By Pat McAfee
To say that McAfee is a rising star within the sports media industry would be a gross understatement. The former NFL punter has taken the industry by storm, quickly becoming a household name through his podcast and appearances on live programming including ESPN's College Gameday. His current contract with FanDuel reportedly earns McAfee $30 million per year. His new deal, inked in late May, will pay him $85 million over the next five years to appear on ESPN properties. The charismatic hype man will make more money in one year with his new deal than he did during his entire, eight-year NFL career.
8. My New Favorite Futbolista - Published by NBC Sports
Now in its sixth season, the podcast has picked up steam having won "Best Podcast Series" at both the 2022 and 2023 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards. This season, World Cup champion Meghan Klingenberg is breaking down the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. The series dives into the players of note at the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, while highlighting the causes these players are championing off the pitch.
7. The MeatEater Podcast - Published By MeatEater
Television personality Steven Rinella hosts the podcast and Netflix series of the same name. The weekly half-hour hunting podcast regales audiences with stories of Rinella's hunting and fishing conquests. In addition to hunting, there are strong elements of conservation and how hunters and fishers actually benefit an ecosystem. Additionally, audiences are introduced to culinary elements as Rinella discusses eating the game he's caught. It has entrenched itself as the number one podcast in the sports subcategory: outdoors.
6. The Lowe Post - Published By ESPN
Zach Lowe's NBA-focused podcast illustrates how much the game has grown in terms of overall popularity. Yes, the NFL remains the top dog in American sports, but the NBA has thoughtfully grown its audience over the past decade, and "The Lowe Post" is further evidence of its overall reach. The two-time Ivy League graduate (Dartmouth BA, Columbia MS) weaves in modern statistical analysis with human interest stories and interviews with players, coaches, and front office staff from around the NBA. While his ESPN salary isn't public, it's estimated that he makes north of $2 million a year as a content producer for the World Wide Leader.
5. Bussin' With The Boys - Published By Barstool Sports
Another Barstool entry, this time co-hosted by two former NFL players. Taylor Lewan and Will Compton conduct their show from Nashville in a full converted bus. Their NFL connections help them secure a steady stream of players, coaches and commentators around the sport. From football legends like Aaron Rodgers to comedy stars like Bert Kreischer, their episodes are wildly unpredictable and memorable. Their YouTube subscribers alone sit at 360,000, so there is room to grow as they climb the rankings.
4. The Ryen Russillo Podcast - Published By The Ringer
Another former ESPNer makes the list. Russillo got his big break in the industry in 2007 when he hosted numerous shows on ESPN Radio including NBA Sunday, The Baseball Show, and ESPN Radio College GameDay. By 2009 he added the NBA Today Podcast to his rotation and it became an instant success. It topped out as the second-most downloaded ESPN podcast by the end of his run in 2012. He left ESPN In 2019 and joined the Ringer and has been a success since day one with his podcast.
3. The Bill Simmons Podcast - Published By The Ringer
Given its popularity and longevity, this is one of the most downloaded podcasts of all time. Spotify acquired this podcast and the others produced on The Ringer including "The Rewatchables" and "The Ryen Russillo Podcast" for a record sum of $196 million in 2020. Simmons continues to host his podcast, which is just the latest creative endeavor for the veteran of the sports media space. He previously served as the editor-in-chief of Grantland, hosted a weekly sports talk show on HBO called "Any Given Wednesday," and he continues to oversee content operators at The Ringer.
2. The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz - Published By Dan Le Batard, Stugotz
The former ESPNers started this syndicated sports talk show out of a studio in Miami back in 2004. It took them nine years of radio shows on WAXY in South Florida before ESPN Radio brought them on in the fall of 2013. By 2015, ESPN was simulcasting their show on ESPNU, eventually moving them to ESPNews and ESPN+. The spinoff podcast has grown in popularity over the past nine years and includes over 358 episodes to date. Dan Le Batard is nearing the end of his contract with DraftKings which agreed to pay him $50 million for three years of work on the podcast.
1. Pardon My Take - Published By Barstool Sports
Big Cat and PFT Commentator have built themselves a sports podcasting juggernaut under the Barstool Sports banner. The two co-hosts combine humor, surprisingly solid interview chops, and an infectious irreverence to make for one of the most interesting sports/gambling-centric shows available. Barstool's rise has also made A-list guests a reality for the show, taking it from garbage band status (or in their case a van) to the top of the charts. It's been rumored that Big Cat (Dan Katz) makes upwards of $180,000 per episode, making him one of the highest-paid podcasters in the world.