Sunday, June 26, 2022

Bill Simmons tapped to lead Spotify’s global sports division

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Spotify promoted the bell‘s Bill Simmons to a new role as head of global sports strategy, reported Deadline† Simmons has worked under the streaming service umbrella since it bought its sports and culture podcast network the bell back in 2020. In his new role, we’ll likely see Simmons expand its current lineup of NBA, MLB, and NFL-focused podcasts and venture into international territory. We’ve already gotten a hint of that with shows like The Rugby Pod starring Andy Goode, Big Jim Hamilton and host Andy Rowe.

Spotify’s non-US audience is growing – the service is now available in 178 countries. The number of subscribers actually grew with 2 million in the first quarter of 2022 (despite the loss of all its Russian subscribers), setting it as “outperformance in Latin America and Europe”. Last year, the streaming service launched extensive to 86 new countries, with the ultimate goal of streaming to more than 1 billion users. Earlier this year, Spotify announced that it was main partner from FC Barcelona, ​​as well as its official audio streaming partner. Given that no global sports coverage would be complete without football, we’re likely to see even more of this space. There is undoubtedly an appetite among Spotify’s global audience for shows focused on the Premier League, FIFA and the World Cup, as well as other international sports topics.

Simmons’ promotion is part of a wider shake-up in Spotify’s governance structure. Parcast founder Max Cutler will become the head of Spotify’s creator-focused content and partnerships, overseeing the originals and leading an entirely new division of creator-focused content. Julie McNamara will oversee studio partnerships and Hollywood-produced works.

In Spotify’s latest earnings call, it announced it had hit a record 422 million worldwide monthly active users. But despite the strong growth, the first to care that Spotify may have bitten off more than it can chew with its $1 billion investment in podcasts hasn’t faded. During podcast listening hours skyrocketed during the pandemic, there’s no guarantee Spotify will be able to maintain that momentum going forward.

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