Creative Process

Want to know how to start a sports podcast? Here’s your game plan

Want to know how to start a sports podcast? Here’s your game plan

Everything you need to know about starting a sports podcast.


Sports. There’s a lot of them. In fact, the World Sports Encyclopedia reckons there are around 8,000 sporting activities in the world, so we really are spoilt for choice. 

Likewise, the possibilities for sports podcasts are endless — and they come in all shapes and sizes. You might be a stats wizard unpacking the data to reveal interesting trends, or maybe you and your pals have impassioned, hilarious debates (or arguments) that people need to hear. 

Whatever the format or idea, you’ll have to pick up the mic with a unique approach, opinion or voice to bring something new to the table.

Thankfully, the appetite for sports podcasts is only growing. According to a OnePulse survey in the US, more than a third of sports podcast listeners say they’re pressing play on more sports podcasts today than they did a year ago.

Here, Emi Geddes and Adam Rollo from Acast’s Creator Network team — the people who look after world-class sports podcasts like That Peter Crouch Podcast, Rugby League Guru, and The Tennis Podcast — give their advice on what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

What makes sports different from other podcast categories 

Before developing your idea, it’s important to understand the state of play — and the opponents you’re up against. Sports is different to other podcast categories because it’s so tribal — whether it’s a specific sport, a certain team, a favorite player, or even a memorable era. 

Having your audience (or tribe) in mind when creating your podcast will be crucial to its success. Who is the podcast for? Why should they be listening to yours and not a rival’s? 

The best sports podcasts are often home to established experts — many of whom are big, recognizable names from traditional media organizations. Yes, they may be blessed with resources and access, but your advantage is your complete creative control to explore unheard stories and experiment with innovative formats.

How to be a successful sports podcaster

  1. A hook

As with any successful podcast, you need a solid hook. Are you an expert in your field? Your club or team’s biggest fan, with an unrivaled knowledge of its history? Can you comment on your sport in a way that isn’t covered by anyone else? Maybe you’re just funnier than everyone else?

  1. Passion

The next important factor is a deep passion for what you’re doing. You’ll need this enthusiasm to keep you focused and motivated to publish consistently in the early days, which will help you build your audience. 

We can’t stress this point enough: regular and timely publishing is the biggest factor in audience growth. Sports’ tribal nature means it can take a while before listeners accept you as a voice in the space, so stick with it.

Listening figures can really ebb and flow in line with the sporting seasons, tournaments and key events. This is hugely beneficial in some ways, with moments of significant media coverage and highly engaged audiences meaning new podcasts can burst onto the scene and ride the wave, but be prepared for downtimes where content can be difficult to push.

  1. Listener engagement

Sports fans are some of the most engaged podcast listeners out there, so the audience should be at the heart of everything you do. 

Many successful sports podcasts have a dedicated fan section in the show, where listeners can send in their hot takes from the latest game or ask questions for the hosts to answer. Give them a space to sound-off for themselves. 

This loyalty can pay dividends. Acast’s own research with Nielsen revealed that 62% of sports podcast listeners would be willing to pay a monthly fee to hear more from their favorite podcast hosts.

  1. Great branding and marketing

Consider the big picture when branding and marketing your show. Your artwork needs to stand out in podcast listening apps. Make sure your show’s description turns scrollers into listeners. Set up your podcast website and social channels to start building a promotion strategy — and think about how you’ll find your audience, and how you’ll get them to listen. 

Take a look at our Aclass Essentials podcaster toolkit, where we have a whole section dedicated to podcast promotion and growth.

Sports podcasts that are acing it

The Fantasy Playbook Podcast covers the sports-adjacent topic of fantasy football. Host Kyle Yates speaks to some of the brightest minds in fantasy football and NFL Draft media to help give listeners an edge. With a near-daily release schedule during the NFL season, the consistent publishing allows for steady audience growth. Plus, they continue releasing episodes even when the action on the field stops, ensuring listeners stick around. The show also features a ‘listener mailbag’ segment, encouraging audience engagement and loyalty. 

Missed Apex is a Formula 1 podcast that puts entertainment and community first. Priding itself on fan interaction, the hosts Spanner and Matt Trumpets have live streams during races with an active chatroom, a private Slack group for listeners, and the show offers paid podcast subscriptions. Again, the podcast features a listener mailbag segment, involving their audience in the show and keeping them coming back for more.

Upfront is a dedicated women's football (soccer) podcast, bringing the biggest stories from the WSL and beyond, and taking listeners to the cultural heartbeat of the women's game. The show platforms unique voices in the much less saturated space of women’s football, and they grew their loyal audience from best-in-class coverage of the Women’s Euros in 2022.

Feeling inspired and ready to start your sports podcast? You can sign up to Acast for free here.