iHeartMedia sets podcast strategy for its Women’s Sports Audio Network

WSAN (Women’s Sports Audio Network), a unit launched by iHeartMedia in April, is announcing an inaugural slate of original podcasts across a range of sports. The sports to be featured range from soccer and basketball to tennis, golf, volleyball and more. iHeart promises top athletes and personalities as hosts of the new shows. Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment is a production partner.

The purpose is twofold. In iHeart’s promotional language: “To amplify well-known and new influential women sports athletes and relevant programming to millions of listeners nationwide, and also unlock access to inventory and opportunities for brands to engage.”

There is a second component to this ambitious launch of content. On June 18 WSAN will launch regular “Women’s Sports Reports” across iHeartMedia’s vast national network of radio stations. The company calls this “a landmark moment in bringing more equitable media coverage to women’s sports for the first time.”

Capital One, e.l.f Cosmetics, and e.l.f SKIN are the founding partners on the sponsorship side.

Notably, iHeart observes: “The launch of the first-ever women’s sports audio network comes at a time when investment and viewership numbers for women’s sports are on the rise. This year, elite women’s sports are currently expected to become a $1 billion industry, representing a 300% increase in just three years.” Even with that remarkable increase, women’s sports receive only 15% of media coverage.

“As long-standing supporters of women’s sports, both on the collegiate and professional level, we are excited to build on these efforts by partnering with iHeartMedia and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment to increase access to women’s sports content and help raise the profile of these amazing athletes,” said Cindy Epley, Vice President of Brand Media Strategy and Investment at Capital One.

“Standing with every eye, lip and face means supporting the community all day, every day. Our support is especially prominent where we see the underrepresentation of women, both as athletes and in the surrounding content. So, we are taking over the mic to change the conversation,” said Kory Marchisotto, Chief Marketing Officer, e.l.f. Beauty. “It’s important to normalize positivity, inclusivity and accessibility so that equity becomes our strongest muscle. That’s how the next generation gains increasing strength to dream big and achieve their highest vision.”

The official announcement contains  a wealth of detail about the women’s sports stars who are part of this effort as podcast hosts.

Brad Hill