EVERY TWO weeks, you can hear the potential future of sports coverage, as recorded in an unoccupied office in the Berea, Ohio, headquarters of the Browns. There, Max Linsky sets up two microphones before speaking with a member of the organization—anyone from All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas to equipment manager Brad Melland, depending on the episode of Brownscast, a team-owned podcast.
This is an article from the Dec. 28, 2015 issue
"Brand storytelling" is the marketing catchphrase, and podcasting continues to enjoy a post-Serial boom. So a team-sponsored podcast represents two of the biggest trends in sports and media coming together, like freemium virtual-reality selfies. Except this mashup works.
Cleveland tabbed Linsky (who is not a Browns devotee) because members of the organization enjoyed his Longform Podcast, in which Linsky and others interview nonfiction writers. While Linsky likened Brownscast to a combination of Hard Knocks and The Player's Tribune, it is essentially Longform Podcast: Browns Edition.
Linsky is quick to point out that he does not consider Brownscast to be journalism, given that the team owns it. But he says Cleveland has not meddled much. From the Browns' perspective, the opportunity to share their brand with the safety net of final control is a no-brainer, and Linsky expects to see similar projects start around the league soon. Other NFL teams mimicking the Browns? How's that for a change?
THE YEAR IN HOT TAKES
"Tom Brady, liar. Bad, right? But it's worse. No, not it. Him. Tom Brady. He's worse than a liar, worse than a cheat. He's a man of low integrity.... The revelation that Brady had destroyed his cell phone before his interview with Ted Wells makes it clear what species, what kind of cretin, we're looking at. Tom Brady, shameless.... Now we see the depths of Brady's desperation."
—Gregg Doyel, The Indianapolis Star