August 20, 2020

Podcast: Adam White on Building The Politico of Sports


Adam White, Founder & CEO of Front Office Sports, is as unlikely a media operator as there ever was. FOS started as a college project that Adam hoped he would be able to leverage into a job. When that failed, he figured he might as well see where this could take him. So far, that strategy is working.

In this show, we discussed a variety of important topics, but a few things jumped out.

On building for a prosumer audience

The business of sports as a core topic is a multi-billion dollar business, but there are so many adjacent industries that intersect with sports. This intersection is where Adam believes his company is able to excel the most. Additionally, there are so many job functions outside of core sports that his audience comes from because of a general interest in sports.

This opens up an opportunity for Front Office Sports to generate revenue from more than just endemic and non-endemic b2b advertisers; specifically, he’s talking about brand advertisers. In one deal, Anheuser-Busch sponsored one of their awards shows, which would likely never have been heard of from a b2b publication.

The Politico of sports

One of the reasons Adam believes this is the right approach is because he believes he can build the Politico of sports. If you look at Politico’s business, it has 100 million people visiting its website, but only about 30,000 are paying subscribers. The secret is that each of those subscribers is incredibly high priced.

The same hopes to be true for FOS. Presently, it hopes to serve this broader audience that works around sports. But at some point in the future, it might identify a new product opportunity that could benefit from a high priced subscription. However, as Adam said, if that’s just slapping a paywall in front of their content, he’ll be disappointed.

Young startups need to constantly fight for a dollar

We discussed a great story about how FOS launched a podcast that had a crypto advertiser. It had a football player who was a fan of bitcoin that was supposed to be the host. At the last minute, the player backed out of the project, so Adam had to take over because it was a high ticket sponsorship that the company couldn’t afford to lose.

Looking at the Anheuser-Busch deal, Adam talked through the execution for the Rising 25 sponsorship that included creating their own soccer team with original kits. The flywheel of media is such that any dollar you bring in ensures that you can reinvest it back into producing better content for your audience, so they’ve had to consistently be creative with their opportunities.

While Covid-19 has certainly had an impact on the business (sports did shut down after all), the business is still expected to grow revenue by 100%. And depending on how Q3 and Q4 goes, it should be profitable.

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