(Bloomberg) -- Meadowlark, the sports media company run by Dan Le Batard and former ESPN boss John Skipper, is bringing on a show stranded by Showtime as the premium channel prepares to shut down its sports division at the end of the year.
Basketball stars Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All the Smoke Productions is joining Meadowlark’s portfolio through a partnership arrangement, including the titular studio podcast and hosts such as Rachel Nichols, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. A new lineup of shows will be announced in the next few weeks.
The shows will join Le Batard & Friends on the DraftKings Network, the sportsbook’s streaming channel, starting in January.
“We know the asset,” Meadowlark Chief Operating Officer Bimal Kapadia said in an interview. “We feel pretty strongly that it was not a totally maximized property when it was under the Showtime banner.”
Skipper, also a former head of sports network DAZN, started Meadowlark with longtime ESPN host and contributor Le Batard in 2021 as a new media company that produces podcasts, documentaries and unscripted series. They’ve been adding properties ever since.
Meadowlark executives started looking into All the Smoke soon after Paramount Global said in October that it would close the 37-year-old Showtime Sports in light of Showtime’s merger with streaming service Paramount+. The parent company already has a sports division under CBS.
Sports podcasting has become a highly competitive space in recent years. New shows have proliferated from both independent creators and media giants like Spotify Inc.
“It’s crowded and it’s noisy,” said Kapadia. “It’s hard to get the economics to work in a single-medium basis like audio. You have to have multimedia and an established audience that you can build off of.”
(Corrects number of shows in the deal, in the headline and first paragraph.)
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