Colin Cowherd Network Acquires SEC Podcast as Conference Expands

·4 min read

Colin Cowherd’s podcast network, The Volume, is diving deeper into college football with the acquisition of its first daily program, The Jboy Show, hosted by former South Alabama baseball player-turned-college football coach Jake Crane. Since launching a year ago, the SEC-focused podcast has amassed 2 million downloads and featured guests including Hugh Freeze, Mike Leach, Shane Beamer and Trey Wingo. The show will premiere on The Volume this month as football season kicks off.

Cowherd launched his new sports-focused podcast network earlier this year in partnership with iHeartMedia, his second tie-up with the media company. Cowherd, a popular Fox Sports personality, also launched The Herd Podcast Network with iHeart in 2018.

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Though The Volume will not get any equity ownership of The Jboy Show in the deal, it will obtain exclusive distribution rights. Ownership remains in the hands of Crane and his partners: Vince Thompson, founder of sports and entertainment marketing firm Melt; Atlanta-based investor and Turner Broadcasting veteran Steve Chamberlain; David Cone, the podcast’s executive producer; and former FOX and Home Team Sports executive Kyle Sherman.

No financial details of the arrangement between The Volume and the show were disclosed.

“When we launched The Volume we knew we wanted to make college football one of the core areas of focus,” Cowherd said. “Jake grew up in Auburn and has been living and breathing SEC football his entire life. We’re excited to bring Jake’s passion and expertise to The Volume just in time for Saturdays this fall.”

Crane’s daily show will stream live on The Volume’s YouTube channel Monday through Friday. The network hopes to use Crane’s audience, which skews younger, to grow its YouTube presence. A Sunday recap show will round out the recurring content, all of which will be made available in podcast form on the major platforms. Crane will also simulcast a watch-along of SEC games on The Volume’s YouTube page during the college football season.

The show will be broadcast from a new studio in Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame.

Including Crane’s daily programming, The Volume’s slate now includes 11 shows. In July, the network announced plans to launch Inside The Garage, a twice-weekly college football podcast hosted by four active players on Notre Dame’s 2021 football team.

“Obviously, with the SEC and Notre Dame, we are leveraging two massive college football audiences right there,” Logan Swaim, head of content for The Volume, said in an interview. “So we’re excited about that… and we think Jake, having his live show on YouTube, is going to bring some of his audience to us. That younger audience is certainly something we’re trying to grow.”

Swain said Crane’s show was the right fit as The Volume’s first daily show, due to the “obsessive nature” of SEC football, which lends itself to frequency and consistency. Cowherd’s network also partnered with The Action Network this spring to bring fans sports gambling content, a topic Crane will also touch on at the college level. Sports betting operator FanDuel is The Volume’s presenting sponsor.

“Us football fans around the country, and really in the SEC, we’re always thinking about it,” the host, Crane, a former coach in Montana, said in an interview. His father, Kurt, was an All-American linebacker at Auburn.

“SEC fans are always thirsty to learn more, and they need a place they can go and can count on every day that’s going to be current and is going to be not only opinionated, but opinionated the way we think down here,” Crane continued. “The ability to go daily, and really quench that thirst [is huge]. Then when we get to kick-off, that’s when we dump the water cooler all over you.”

The podcast industry has proven quite lucrative, on track to exceed $1 billion in annual revenue this year and hit $2 billion by 2023, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The addition of the SEC-focused show is particularly well-timed, coming after news that football powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma will depart the Big 12 to join the juggernaut conference. The SEC’s membership offer for the two schools is technically effective in 2025, when their current grant of rights in the Big 12 expires, but many expect an earlier exit to be negotiated. Once the Longhorns and Sooners join, the SEC will feature 16 top teams across the American south—home to an audience valued highly by traditional media and sponsors. ESPN, for example, signed a $300 million deal with the SEC just last year for the rights to all SEC football games. That value will likely increase with the arrival of Texas and Oklahoma, who have 11 national football titles between them.

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