You Should Listen to Sports Podcasts: 15 You’ll Probably Love
Sports are even better with friends — so try a new podcast!
You should listen to podcasts. Really, you should. Podcasts turn long commutes into trivia night with friends. Doing the dishes becomes a chance to learn something fun you never knew you desperately needed to know. Podcasts get you through a workout or entertain you on a walk.
A podcast is basically a recorded radio show or an e-book. It’s an audio story, and it’s right there on your phone or device. Some are two minutes; some two hours. Some can be listened to alone; others are better in series. And if you’re a sports fan, podcasts can be a great complement to a game you watched or a catch-up replacement when life gets busy.
Podcasts are a new way to tell stories, just like books and movies and television. Since March is #TryPod month, I wrote about 20 great non-sports podcasts I love. It’s still almost March (life is busy, sue me), so here are 15 of my favorite sports podcasts and a quick recommendation for each.
Be sure to add your favorite in the comments if it’s not mentioned!
The Bill Simmons Podcast
Bill Simmons is the Podfather — he has done so much for sports writing, documentaries, and podcasting. I prefer Simmons now as an interviewer. He has an incredible Rolodex of guests and a way of getting them to open up about things you just don’t hear in other interviews. The recent pair of Kevin Durant podcasts were a fantastic example. Frequent visits from Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman are always favorites going deep down the rabbit hole. And there’s still nothing like listening to Simmons guess the NFL lines with Cousin Sal, talk Yankees or politics with Jack-O, or discuss literally anything with House. Simmons podcasts are still can’t-miss.
The Chase Thomas Podcast
Chase Thomas is one of my favorite up-and-coming guys in sports media. He covers a little bit of anything and everything in the sports world, a 2017 sports renaissance man. You’ll find NFL, hoops, wrestling, the occasional movie review, and more here, and Chase does a great job lining up interesting guests. His podcasts with Charlotte Wilder and Lana Berry were two of my favorite podcasts so far in 2017 — just laughing and talking sports and television and life with friends. Give him a look!
The Double Pivot
This is the first of a few soccer podcasts here, and it’s definitely the smartest and most analytical of them. The podcast features soccer analysts Mike L. Goodman and Mike Caley — yes two Mikes, yes it’s confusing, and yes they acknowledge it often and have fun with it with a weekly contest that demotes one of them to “Other Mike” status. With the Mikes you’re getting an hour a week of micro-analysis of games at a deep statistical level as well as a zoomed-out macro-level look at the big picture and context behind, focusing on the big European teams. They also take five minutes to talk about something other than soccer — anything from television to religion to parenthood, a really lovely personal insight and great way to wrap the pod.
The Flagrant 2 Dribble Drive Podcast
James Cuoco and Nigel Gordon are a pair of Hofstra grads who know their hoops from college to pro. With the college season wrapped, you’ll want to see what these guys have to say about the loaded incoming NBA draft class. They’ll tell you everything you need to know about De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball, but they’ll hit that late second-round sleeper and the Euro stashes as well. Lately The Flagrant 2 have added guests on their pod like Twitter legends James “Meet Me in Temecula” Holas and Oliver Maroney. I had the pleasure of joining the guys last week to talk NBA playoffs, March Madness, and my #NBANicknameMadness tournament (above).
Dunc’d On Basketball Podcast
There’s no deeper, geekier dive into the NBA than Nate Duncan and frequent guest Danny Leroux. These guys do all of your stats homework for you and hit you with every angle on the NBA, covering game-by-game at times and adding some in-game Periscope analysis for especially big games. The 15-in-60 pods every few weeks are a staple as they cover 15 NBA teams in “60” minutes (90 to 120, but who’s counting?), a great way to catch up on what’s happening around the league. The mock trade deadline and mock offseason are personal favorites, hours of fun as the guys put on their GM hats and simulate upcoming player movement with impossible precision. If you’re a basketball nerd, Dunc’d On is hoops heaven. You’re lucky you found them just in time for the nightly playoff recaps.
Effectively Wild: A FanGraphs Baseball Podcast
Baseball nerds unite! The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan record every few days with an hour of every geeky angle you could ever possibly want in the baseball world. They just finished an all-encompassing preview of each team in baseball and there are over 1000 episodes of podcast nerdery here if you want to go back and hear them rank their favorite baseball books, talk Pitch, or any number of other hot stove topics. Be sure to check out Lindbergh and former host Sam Miller’s book The Only Rule is it Has to Work on their time using analytics to overhaul the Sonoma Stompers minor league baseball team if you haven’t already — awesome read!
Finding October: A Chicago Cubs Podcast
This is the only team-specific podcast on this list, my favorite Chicago Cubs pod by far. Finding October is a mix of hosts Brad Robinson, Drew Brown, Kurt Larson, Evan Altman, and others just talking Cubs a half an hour once every week or two. They preview the season, talk about the heartbreaking losses, and live out the magic of the World Series run as lifelong diehard Cubs fans. I especially enjoyed their Cubs Stories series last year, the personal side of fandom with a glimpse at how some of the hosts and their friends got their start as Cubs fans. The Cubbies season is long and grueling; this is a bite-size update every week or two to get you to October.
The Garbage Time Podcast with Katie Nolan
Katie Nolan is my favorite person in sports media, a rising star who’s gone from comic web series to her own TV show on Fox Sports and live interviews at the Super Bowl. Her show wasn’t renewed and the pod has gone two months without an update, but rest assured there will be big things ahead. Nolan is a breath of fresh air, a fun and witty voice. She isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and she’ll speak her mind and stand up for what she believes in — something the sports media world badly needs. Podcasts with guests like Gotham Chopra, Dan Soder, and Michelle Beadle show off Katie’s ability to connect with guests and get them to open up in a meaningful way. Her podcast with Julie DiCaro is a must-listen for a glimpse into the life of women in media. Get you some Katie Nolan in your life.
The Jump is a half-hour each day sitting around talking hoops with your friends — if you happen to be friends with legends like Tracy McGrady and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That’s the hook from host Rachel Nichols and this is the perfect daily companion for any NBA fan. You’ll talk drama from the night before, breaking news, and more with Nichols, Zach Lowe, Ramona Shelburne, TMac, Kareem, and others. Nichols has a real gravitas and opens the show with a minute or two monologue that is often light but sometimes appropriately serious and on the mark. She has fun with her guests and gets them to open up about inside NBA stuff you’ve never heard, like last week when Scottie Pippen shocked her and Zach by admitting that old coach Phil Jackson is responsible for the Knicks’ failure and should be fired. Those are the moments you’ll find on The Jump and nowhere else.
The Lowe Post
Any NBA fan needs to know Zach Lowe. Lowe just talks hoops, and he knows his stuff better than anyone. He knows the game inside and out, and he has great rapport with players and coaches, so you never know when you’re going to get a great little nugget you won’t find anywhere else. There are favorite recurring guests like Howard “What Up” Beck and Kevin Arnovitz, and Zach gets any and all other guests in the NBA world, too. Zach Lowe is someone every aspiring NBA writer or podcaster wants to be. You just can’t be an informed basketball fan without knowing his work.
Men in Blazers
These two weirdos make for the most hilarious and fun soccer podcast out there. Michael Davies and Roger Bennett feel like two old friends that have been watching soccer and bantering together for 50 years, and you just get to listen in on the conversation. The two blew up during the World Cup and now have a weekly TV show and frequent podcast guests. I prefer the good old podcasts when it’s just 45–60 minutes breaking down that week’s Premier League games with absurdity and profundity, plus a lot of pop culture and life silliness in between. Prepare to laugh.
The Ringer Sports Podcasts
There’s The Ringer NBA Show, The Ringer NFL Show, The Ringer MLB Show… you get the idea. My personal favorite is Ringer U where Mark Titus and Tate Frazier have been killing it during March Madness with Mallory Rubin cleaning up in college football in the fall. You won’t find better, deeper football analysis out there than Michael Lombardi or Robert Mays. Basically, sit down a couple Ringer personalities and let them do their thing. You may catch Jonathan Tjarks or Kevin O'Connor breaking down their latest NBA piece, and you even get an occasional must-listen Shea Serrano appearance (when Tate isn’t boxing him out again). There’s a lot here across a lot of streams, so keep an eye out and cherry pick your favorites.
SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch
Richard Deitsch lines up the biggest names in sports media — broadcast, writing, and otherwise — and gets the inside scoop on how they got to where they are, the story behind the story they wrote, and more. Conversations with frequent guests James Andrew Miller and John Ourand give you the skinny inside ESPN, Bill Simmons, and TV media, but there’s almost two years of sports media goodness and almost all of it is still relevant and worth going back to listen. Some of my personal favorites include S.L. Price, Bill Raftery, Gus Johnson, Wright Thompson, and Verne Lundquist. Heck of a guest list, right? And that’s just getting started. Give it a listen.
The Starters is a daily TV show but there are a couple podcast-only episodes too. Skeets, Tas, Leigh, Trey, J.D., and Matty O are the group of basketball friends you never knew you had. They come from all walks of life and are quirky and jovial and fun, so you’ll get every angle of the NBA while laughing the whole time. There are tons of inside jokes and Easter eggs you’ll learn over time — it genuinely feels like these guys are my friends after how much time I’ve spent with them. Friday’s Drop is my favorite podcast of the week, especially Leigh’s Tweet of the Week (and TOTW Army!) and Pun Gun with J.D. droppin’ them drops. Their nightly recaps at the Summer League are one of my favorite times of the year. These guys are a blast.
The Total Soccer Show
Taylor and Daryl cover any and all soccer, so you’ll get the U.S. National Teams, MLS, the Premier League, and the rest of Europe. There are specific predictions and deep dives for the big games, and there’s extensive coverage of the USMNT in particular so there’s no better way to get to know the team. There’s also the TSS Scouting Network, with listener feedback covering prospects around the world, a great and unique way to learn about young talent around the globe. And if that’s all a bit much, the guys also host a daily five-minute soccer pod called The Goalmouth.