I Started A $360K/Year Podcast About Sports Betting
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Sean Green and I’m the co-founder of The Sports Gambling Podcast Network and co-host of The Sports Gambling Podcast. In 2011 I hosted the first episode of The Sports Gambling Podcast with my partner Ryan Kramer. At the time I didn’t realize I was starting a business, I just thought I was talking about betting on football with my buddy.
In the following ten years, we’ve grown it from two guys recording their conversation in a garage to a legit sports gambling media empire. We have over 15 shows under our brand, multi-million downloads per year and have reached $30K/month in revenue.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
We came up with the idea for the Sports Gambling Podcast and then the Sports Gambling Podcast Network based on our passion and enjoyment of sports gambling. When we got started there was very little in the world of sports gambling or sports gambling podcasts. I mean our name is literally the “sports gambling podcast.” I had previously worked in SEO so having that name really helped us get started.
There was never an “aha” moment; it was just a slow accumulation of small victories that we continued to pile up as we grew.
Making sure your company can pivot on a dime when needed is essential.
When we opened our physical office and studio in Los Angeles earlier this year that’s when it really felt like we were an official business, even though we had been making profits for years. Something about translating it from the digital space to a physical space made it feel more official.
Walk us through what the production process looks like for your podcast.
Our product begins in our newly launched 4k studio in Los Angeles. Each episode we record we have a rough outline of the topics and games we want to cover. Then we go live on the air and mix it up from there. After that, we do some minor edits and mixing and then get the product out to market.
In sports content games you have to be quick and timely and we always have a quick turnaround. We’ve also transitioned to doing our shows live, it’s a fun way to interact with the fans and makes the turnaround even quicker.
Our first podcast isn’t that much different from our latest podcast, as far as the content, it’s simply two friends talking about betting on sports. The production value has increased tremendously over the years. We started with a couple of crummy mics and one mixer, now we have a legitimate 4K studio with audio and video streaming capabilities. The new studio has also allowed us to interact with the listeners live in the chat or even on-air. A lot of listeners have made the transition from fan to a contributor on our network as we’ve grown our community. As we’ve increased our production value our comfort on air has increased as well and really cemented a high-quality product.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Our launch wasn’t some gigantic event, in fact, it received very little fanfare at the beginning. The first episode of The Sports Gambling Podcast we put out didn’t get many downloads and wasn’t very high profile. But we kept at it because we really enjoyed doing the show and thought there would be some future in it down the line.
It wasn’t until a few years in that we started to attract sponsors and start making money on the podcast. Our first major sponsor was when we brought on an offshore sportsbook MyBookie. They were one of our biggest partners for years and the fact that we could deliver for them was a turning point in the business. Even when we started with them it didn’t really feel like a business. It didn’t feel like an official business until we launched the SGPN network and started hiring people to make content for us a few years ago. Then it started to feel like less a hobby and more a business.
How have you monetized the podcast?
We’ve monetized the podcast simply from our relationship with advertisers. We have a variety of different rotating partners and our flagship presenting sponsor is WynnBET. Having WynnBET on via our partnership with Blue Wire has been tremendous for our company.
Center the business around a passion, eventually, the adversity of running a business will pile up, but if it’s built around a core passion you’ll be able to find the strength to continue.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
The easiest way for us to attract customers is through our free picks and free contests.
They come for the free picks and prizes and then end up staying around once they hear the show. We’ve tried a bunch of other ads and promo opportunities like Google AdSense, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, promoted posts, all to little success. A podcast someone wants to hear about via a personal recommendation a lot of time.
The other way we’ve retained a lot of our audience is via our Slack community.
In there, the listeners aka customers can interact with each other and talk sports gambling when we’re not there to fill in the gaps with content. It’s also been a great arena for like-minded people to connect. The users feel like it’s a community they’re going to stay with our network which essentially is the product.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Our company has never had an unprofitable year and the future continues to look bright. We keep our operations lean and use our community to help offset any high marketing or advertising costs.
The future for the network resides in the recent launch of our SGPN app. It’s the exclusive home for our contests and all our content. We continue to grow our social media footprint with over 150k followers between the platforms and our network. We’re also expanding our video reach with our YouTube channel.
As we continue to drive app installs we will in the near future explore a Series A opportunity for taking SGPN to the next level.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned through starting a business is that the most important ability is adaptability. It’s too tough to predict what a marketplace will look like to position yourself perfectly every time. Making sure your company can pivot on a dime when needed is essential. The pandemic taught us that first hand adapts or die is a great motto for every business.
By stressing adaptability you’ll make sure to continue to adjust to what your customers want out of your product and keep yourself relevant as a company. Having any rigid ideas for success is the first step toward failure.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use several tools for our business.
iMovie - For simple video editing of podcast clips.
Ableton - For high-end audio mixing.
OBS - For live stream broadcasts.
Streamyard - Another live stream tool.
Google Analytics- For website analytics.
Headliner.app - For podcast audiograms.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth. This book is a really pragmatic approach to growing your business. So many business books I’ve read center around hypothetical scenarios or overall business ideas, but ‘Traction’ is great in that it literally lays out 19 different channels your company should be exploring and how to explore them. Very simple and very easy to wrap your head around and very helpful.
That Will Never Work. It’s a great book by the guy who founded Netflix. It highlights his journey from idea, to growth, to eventually being bought out and moving on from the company. Highlights some of the personal aspects of running a business and does a good job of explaining what it’s like to be benign in the cockpit of a growing business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Mike Tyson had a great quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” I think the same can apply to the business world. A plan is great, but how rarely is a successful business executed exactly like the original plan? Responding to what the marketplace presents you is the key to a successful business.
Continue to have plans but when they don’t work out initially don’t jump ship. To the same extent, be honest with yourself and the business. If certain avenues aren’t working, changing lanes or directions is completely healthy and good for the business.
My biggest piece of advice is to center the business around a passion. Eventually, the adversity of running a business will pile up, but if it’s built around a core passion you’ll be able to find the strength to continue.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re always looking to add to our team. For a full list of available positions, you can go here.
- A skilled writer familiar with best practices regarding SEO
- Familiar and involved with sports gambling social media
- Able to self produce content either written, audio, and or video
Ideal candidate: Has experience creating sports gambling content and a following already.
Compensation: DOE & availability
- Editing and producing podcasts
- Ensuring correct ad reads are included and SGPN hosting procedures followed
- Familiar with proper tagging procedures of .mp3 files & uploading to hosting platforms
- Coordinating with social media and hosts on podcast record and release schedule
Ideal candidate: Has experience as a podcast producer. Los Angeles area is preferred but open to remote work for some candidates.
Compensation: DOE & availability
- Editing and publishing writers’ blog posts
- Copyediting and quality control on both new and “best of” content
- Manages Publishing Calendar
- Stays Abreast of Sports Gambling News/Trends
- Knows SEO
- Helps brainstorm new content
- Collaborates with Writers and Podcasters on crossover topics/content
Ideal candidate: Has editorial experience in sports media, has experience working with WordPress, Photoshop, and Trello. This can be a remote position.
Compensation: DOE & availability
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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