iHeartMedia and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment Launch Women’s Sports Audio Network – The First-Ever Audio Platform Dedicated to Women’s Sports

Featuring leading sports champions including Sarah Spain, Sheryl Swoopes and more, the Women’s Sports Audio Network will highlight and scale women’s sports coverage across broadcast radio, podcasts, streaming and events

New partnership reinforces iHeartMedia’s commitment to women’s sports programming, content and coverage

NEW YORK, N.Y. – April 23, 2024 – America’s #1 audio company iHeartMedia and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment today announced a new partnership to launch the Women’s Sports Audio Network (WSAN), the first-ever audio platform dedicated exclusively to women’s sports. As a net-new audio platform dedicated to exploring and celebrating women’s sports competitions, including athletes’ stories on and off the field, WSAN is a free, ad-supported network that will include podcasts, daily sports reports, spotlights and audio vignettes, social content, promotion and industry event presence, and will be available across iHeartMedia’s broadcast, digital and podcast platforms and everywhere podcasts are heard.

The launch of the first-ever women’s sports audio network comes at a time when investment and viewership numbers for women’s sports are on the rise. This year, elite women’s sports are currently expected to become a $1 billion industry, representing a 300% increase in just three years, while in the US, women's sports still only receive 15% of media coverage.

By launching a network dedicated to delivering what fans want most – more access to the athletes, the influencers, the stories and the daily conversation around all things women sports – iHeartMedia and Deep Blue aim to amplify well-known and new influential female sports athletes and relevant programming to millions of listeners nationwide, and also unlock access to inventory and opportunities for brands to engage in an emerging market across various sports and communities. In a recent Deloitte report, research found that for every dollar spent in women’s sports, more than seven dollars was generated in “customer value for that organization.”

Women’s sports extends much further than the popular NCAA tournament and World Cup; The Women’s Sports Audio Network is designed to offer talent and programming year-round with the launch of new daily shows focused on a wide range of sports and commentary from a variety of talent, including leading sports media personality Sarah Spain and WNBA Legend, three-time Olympic gold medalist, Sheryl Swoopes, with more talent to be announced in the coming weeks.

This new partnership with Deep Blue, which is led by agency veteran Laura Correnti as Founder and CEO and WNBA Legend Sue Bird as Chief Strategy Officer, reinforces iHeartMedia’s commitment to accelerate growth in women’s sports by driving equity in coverage, representation, and access to women’s sports every day, everywhere in America through the power of iHeart’s mass reach. 

This new slate will join iHeart’s growing roster of women’s voices in sports podcasting, such as Cari Champion, Erin Andrews and others. Additionally, the iHeartSports network has committed to run dedicated women’s sports reports daily across its network – servicing more than 500 broadcast stations and their digital streams throughout the country, across multiple formats.

“Women’s sports are on fire and so is audio. The timing is perfect to deliver on the massive fan excitement today and most importantly use the power of iHeart’s massive audience reach to ensure women’s sports gets the attention it deserves,” said Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer for iHeartMedia. “We all win when the athletes, the fans and the brands get to play together every day in the biggest audio arena on the planet at iHeart.”

“While women’s sports continue to break ratings and attendance records on a seemingly regular basis – it’s imperative the media marketplace and commercial investment keep pace to not just meet consumer demand, but sustain this growth market,” said Laura Correnti, Founder and CEO of Deep Blue. “By partnering with iHeartMedia, we’re unlocking the ability to immediately share more women’s sports stories with more fans while addressing the need for more discovery, visibility and scale – a common pain point for the advertising and media marketplace in this space. This partnership effectively moves the coverage of women’s sports from 15% to 90% overnight through the power of audio.”

Launching WSAN comes in close follow to Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment’s recent partnership with Axios, creating a thought leadership event series and editorial content dedicated to the business of women’s sports, focused on the economic and social impact women's sports has on individuals and global communities. The new partnership was announced on stage at Deep Blue and Axios’ Business of Women’s Sports Summit, held in New York City.

About Deep Blue

Deep Blue exists to identify, create, and influence business models and growth opportunities in emerging markets in sports and entertainment, including the firm's first vertical of focus: women's sports.

Deep Blue includes media, marketing and advertising practitioners working alongside athletes to ensure brands have a first-person perspective when building their women’s sport-focused marketing strategies and brand messaging. Led by Founder and CEO Laura Correnti, and Chief Strategy Officer, Partner, and WNBA legend Sue Bird, Deep Blue provides agency services including platform development and brand strategy, media investment, brand partnerships, ad campaign and content development, experiential marketing, league and club asset media value analysis and ancillary media / content strategy development, athlete / influencer partnerships, brand and thought leadership communications strategy, analytics and measurement framework development, and beyond.

The firm also includes an Athlete Advisory Council that helps inform client work. Founding members include Rennae Stubbs, ESPN commentator and former professional tennis player; professional golfer and media influencer Shasta Averyhardt; former Australian Cricket player and international cricket commentator Melanie Jones OAM; Olympian and former professional soccer player turned broadcaster, influencer, and entrepreneur Melissa Ortiz. Current clients include MassMutual, Ally, and UCLA.

About iHeartMedia, Inc.

iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month. It consists of three business groups.

With its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. Its leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms, including more than 860 live broadcast stations in over 160 markets nationwide; its National Sales organization; and the company’s live and virtual events business. It also includes Premiere Networks, the industry’s largest Networks business, with its Total Traffic and Weather Network (TTWN); and BIN: Black Information Network, the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service for the Black community. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics, targeting and attribution for its marketing partners with its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products using data from its massive consumer base.

The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the company’s fast-growing podcasting business -- iHeartMedia is the number one podcast publisher in downloads, unique listeners, revenue and earnings -- as well as its industry-leading iHeartRadio digital service, available across more than 500 platforms and 2,000 devices; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; its digital advertising technology companies; and its audio industry-leading social media footprint.

The company’s Audio & Media Services reportable segment includes Katz Media Group, the nation’s largest media representation company, and RCS, the world's leading provider of broadcast and webcast software.

Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.