Diving letter:

  • The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) launched a podcasting unit called FIFA Sound this week to create original audio programs in partnership with the Universal Music Group for Brands. The first program to emerge from the partnership is an eight-part podcast series titled “FIFA PlayOn” that brings together soccer stars and musicians. This is evident from an announcement emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • Liam Payne, the singer who became famous with boy band One Direction, hosts the podcast series, while sports broadcaster Jaydee Dyer is co-host. In the series, soccer players discuss important moments in their careers and how musicians inspired them with their songs. In the first episode on January 13, there was a conversation between Ivan Rakitić, who plays for the Spanish Sevilla Football Club, and the Colombian music group Morat.
  • As the audience for streaming audio programs grows, FIFA is taking a cross-platform approach. Future episodes of “FIFA PlayOn” should appear every Wednesday on Amazon Music, Apple Music, Google Podcasts, Spotify and other streaming platforms. In addition, according to the announcement, the soccer players will publish playlists of their favorite music on Spotify.

Dive Insight:

FIFA’s launch of a podcasting group in partnership with Universal Music Group for Brands aims to reach the growing audience for streamed audio programs and keep them engaging with entertaining content. Podcasts are an on-demand portable media format that audiences can use on a variety of devices while doing other tasks, whether at home or on the go. This flexibility helps support global growth in podcast audiences, which PwC estimates will grow from approximately 900 million monthly listeners in 2020 to more than 1 billion this year. To reach this growing audience, marketers will increase their podcast advertising spend by 22% per year through 2024, the company said. On top of advertising, a number of marketers have also welcomed creating their own podcasts as a way of engaging directly with audiences, building loyalty, and learning more about those consumers.

The “FIFA PlayOn” series is aimed at a wider audience with its combination of soccer star and musicians. The podcast can appeal to music fans who don’t follow soccer, and vice versa, and help increase the potential reach of the content.

“FIFA’s vision is to make football truly global, accessible and inclusive,” said Jean-François Pathy, FIFA’s Marketing Director, in a statement. “The transition between football and music underscores this greater cultural relevance. Both languages ​​are universal languages ​​and have the power to generate incomparable emotions. Bringing them together is a natural fit.”

With original programs like podcasts, FIFA can help keep interest in football going at a time when the pandemic has affected participation in live games and concerts in many regions, as it is too early to tell when the restrictions are lifted.

The news comes that interest in podcasts is growing among digital platforms, media companies, and marketers. Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it was buying podcasting startup Wondery to expand its content offering after Sirius XM bought Scripps’ Stitcher podcasting unit for $ 325 million. On the program side, WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, is introducing podcasts this year, while Ben & Jerry’s developed a podcast last year that explores historical aspects of American racism in more depth.

Marketers have also noted the willingness of podcast listeners to engage with ads on the channel. In the US, about half (49%) of podcast fans last year said advertising was still the most effective way to reach them, up from 37% of listeners who said so in 2019. This comes from the survey “Super Listeners” by Ad Results Medien, Edison Research and PodcastOne. The group defines “super listeners” as US adults who listen to podcasts for at least five hours per week. Fifty-four percent of this group said that listening to an ad on a podcast increases the likelihood that they will buy a product, according to the study.