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New Discovery

New Discovery: The Sports Agents

What does the latest franchise show have to offer?

3:30 PM GMT on March 21, 2024

    The branding is instantly recognisable to anyone who has looked at a podcast app in the last couple of years. The Sports Agents is the latest offshoot of the Agents podcasting franchise behind The News Agents and The News Agents USA. We’ve seen this work before to great success in the form of The Rest Is… shows’ never-ending dominance of the podcast charts. It’s no surprise that others now want a bit of the action. The smart money in podcasting in 2024 is on a franchise where the pun is designed with more than one show in mind.

    Yet the clue to the greatest appeal of The Sports Agents does lie in the slightly uncomfortable title. The show makes best use of hosts Gabby Logan and Mark Chapman by giving itself a remit of the entire sporting sphere. Countless podcasts provide really excellent coverage of one specific sport, but The Sports Agents utilises its presenters’ experience of covering everything from athletics to American football to give its listeners the whole picture. In the two weeks since launch the show has covered motorsport, boxing, football, horse racing, and even “the doping Olympics”. With the (hopefully drug-free) Olympics around the corner this summer, this seems an ideal time to launch a show that feels like a flick through the back pages of a newspaper.

    The danger of these big, professionally fronted shows is that you risk never hearing anything radical or new, with too much at stake for the well-practised presenters to ever go out on a limb and give anything other than the broadly accepted consensus. This deprives a podcast of personality, one of its key advantages over other media formats. To its credit, The Sports Agents hasn’t shied away from that risk, and its hosts have done a decent job of putting personality on display when it counts. This is most prominent in their recent interview with Aron D’Souza, president of the aforementioned doping Olympics (or the “Enhanced Games” as he would have you call it), where Logan is immediately on the offensive, sniffing out unsubstantiated statistics and biting back at what she calls D’Souza’s “patronising” line of defence. Recording the introduction to the show afterwards, both sound slightly sheepish, but like they just had much more fun than they’re used to. It’s genuinely endearing.

    D’Souza is perhaps an easier target than Eddie Hearn, who is well liked among a significant section of the British public and very well integrated into its media sphere. Hearn, who has come on to shill for Saudi Arabia and their sportswashing program, gets a reasonably robust interview from Logan and Chapman. It’s nothing like the calm hostility dished out to D’Souza and everyone is keen to have shaken hands and made up by the end. The pair of interviews show that the team behind The Sports Agents recognise the risk of homogenisation and can produce an excellent show when they push their regular boundaries, but aren’t yet prepared to burn any bridges they may need in the future.

    Two weeks in and it’s a strong start. Two podcasts a week is plenty, but Logan and Chapman should have no problem sustaining it despite their busy schedules. The challenge will be in continuing to find boundaries to push that could make certain episodes essential listening.

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