With the slow restart of sports, once again we have a reason to pay attention to the goings on of professional athletes. One way we can do that is through podcasts. Whether you’re a diehard fan of the gridiron, you’re eagerly watching America’s past time, or you’re waiting for skates to hit the ice, there’s probably a podcast out there for you.
The pre-eminent factor of sports podcasts is the fact that they’re so widely accessible. They can fuel your opinion and provide you with the information you need to back it up. Hell, sometimes it seems like staying up to date with sports gossip and news is as competitive and cut-throat as the sports themselves.
Even if you miss one of ESPN Radio’s shows in the early morning, you can still keep up to date by finding those shows later on wherever you download podcasts. That’s the beauty of podcasts: Content consumption anytime, anywhere. If you need help listening to your favorite podcasts while on the go without draining your data, there are tips on how to download podcasts to your phone so you never miss out on the action.
We went ahead and broke down some of the best sports podcasts available no matter what fix you’re looking to fill.
ESPN Daily is, by far, one of best sports podcast options because it takes an in-depth approach to the world’s biggest sports stories of the day. Built similarly to The New York Times’ The Daily podcast (the fourth most popular podcast in the world), ESPN Daily is a weekday morning podcast that utilizes the network’s vast array of reporters and analysts to provide an inside look at some of the day’s most interesting sports stories.
It’s hosted by longtime writer Mina Kimes, who has aimed for a slightly different format with the ESPN Daily podcast by not only broadcasting the daily news and stories of the sports calendar but by sharing stories the avid sports fan might not hear otherwise. For example, Kimes recently shared an extended interview with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who spoke publicly for the first time since his on-field altercation with Mason Rudolph.
If you’re an avid sports fan in any capacity, you know that there is no voice louder or more intriguing than that of Bill Simmons. Simmons is a longtime member of the HBO Sports team and founder of The Ringer, a network that blurs the lines between sports and pop culture. The Bill Simmons Podcast follows suit, as Simmons welcomes celebrity hosts ranging from Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl to esteemed comedian and actor Adam Sandler, in order to facilitate open discussion about everything from new movies and scandals to music and more.
Even though Simmons weighs in heavily on pop culture topics and trends, The Bill Simmons Podcast, and its mainstay contributors Cousin Sal and Joe House, provide detailed analysis of the most popular matchups of the week and spark conversations with some of the world’s biggest athletes on the hottest stories around the sports universe.
(Fun fact: The Bill Simmons Podcast is the most downloaded sports podcast of all-time.)
ESPN’s 30 For 30 Podcast is basically a sports version blend of NPR’s popular series, This American Life, and ESPN’s 30 For 30 series. Since its start in 2009, the 30 For 30 series has established itself as the apex of modern sports documentaries, touching on everything from the longstanding Celtics and Lakers rivalry to the 2002 collegiate football scandal at Ohio State in Youngstown Boys. The 30 For 30 Podcast is an audio-only version that follows the same direction in order to share detailed sports stories that fans may have missed. If you’re a sports nut who is intrigued by behind-the-scenes stories of some of the world’s biggest sports stories and scandals, then this one’s for you.
The No Dunks podcast is designed for the avid basketball fan looking for a weekday recap of everything going on in the NBA. Run by The Athletic, No Dunks features a quartet of “the original basketball podcasters” — Skeets, Tas, Trey, Leigh, and JD 3 — who talk shop about all the happenings around the league in a candid, comfortable fashion. Most podcasts are centered around a topic they can cover deeply and effectively, and No Dunks is by far the premier podcast for everything NBA related, whether it’s breaking down the day’s biggest matchups, interviewing current and former players, or answering listeners’ questions.
If the gridiron is more your cup of tea, Move the Sticks is indubitably the best podcast for learning more about the game and the players entering the league. Show hosts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks, former college scout and long-running NFL Network contributors, are some of the most knowledgeable minds to pick when it comes to football, and Move the Sticks is their most effective medium. Whether you’re looking for information on draft prospects, itching for the newest interview with the league’s top players, or simply want to digest every bit of information about the game of football that you can, Move the Sticks should be the podcast you cue up next.
Men in Blazers is one of our favorites among the best sports podcasts — no cap. Why? Well, if you’re an American soccer fan, Men in Blazers and its hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett will give you all the information you need to head into the weekend’s head-to-head matchups fully prepared.
If you’re looking for a more international scope on the sport, The Guardian’s Football Weekly will cover all the bases. But, if you’re searching for a few laughs, entertainment, and a brush-up on the soccer world in the U.S., Men in Blazers can be found airing on NBC Sports during the day, and on your own time for its podcast. And yes, they wear blazers when in action.
If you’re a baseball fan to any degree, chances are you’ve heard of Buster Olney. Olney has written some of the best sports articles of the last half-century, ranging from his unflattering piece on Deion Sanders’ baseball stint to his book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, which dubbed him as the markee ESPN reporter for everything baseball. Baseball Tonight, ESPN’s longtime TV program for baseball fans, has been turned into a podcast using Olney as its voice. As a baseball fan, this podcast is even better than the show on TV, mainly because Olney is so good at what he does. He’s very well connected in the baseball world, which means his guests are always noteworthy and reliable, and he knows how to find the right balance between sharing news, facts, and opinions on specific matters.
Whether it’s debauchery on the field or clear-cut criminal actions off of it, Crime in Sports details everything true-crime while utilizing the sports world as its landscape. This podcast does an exceptional job at keeping things interesting for everyone – even those who could care less about the Super Bowl, the World Cup, or the World Series.
Nonetheless, the comedic Crime in Sports hosts James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman enjoy poking fun behind some of the most immoral and mundane acts committed by athletes in order to shed light on “the biggest idiots in sports history.” including O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, the fall of Aaron Hernandez, and the drug-filled journey of former NFL tight end Clarence Kay. If you’re looking for dark humor emerging from a true-crime storyline based in the sports world, we suggest downloading Crime in Sports now.
Whether you’ve found a new sports podcast in our collection or not, we recommend you stick with a podcast that’s worth your time. Podcasts are a medium for you to learn and acquire news on something you’re interested in and want to dig into deeper, and there is no point in wasting your time on something that supplies neither.
If you burn through all of these, you should check out our favorite podcasts for road trips, our top overall picks for 2020, the best fiction podcasts, podcasts to listen to at work or during your workout, some great options for commuting, a few hilarious comedy podcasts, or The Manual’s own podcast. If you’re new to podcasts, you’ll need one of the top apps for listening.
Last updated July 2020.
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