Tegna Buys Locked On Podcast Network, Startup Focused on Pro and College Sports Teams

Tegna wants a bigger piece of the podcast action: The TV station group announced the acquisition of Locked On Podcast Network, which produces some 160 daily shows for teams across the U.S.’s four major pro sports leagues and more than 30 colleges.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Tegna said it will finance the acquisition through cash on hand, noting that the acquisition is not expected to materially affect its 2021 financial results. Park City, Utah-based Locked On will remain a standalone business within Tegna, expanding its podcast footprint alongside digital content studio Vault Studios and individual Tegna stations’ podcasting efforts.

Locked On Podcast Network was founded in June 2016 by David Locke, the radio voice of the Utah Jazz. In its only outside funding, the company announced in November 2019 that it raised $750,000 from investors including Bruce Gordon, former Disney Interactive Media Group CFO; podcast investor Podfund; and Utah-based private-equity firm Summit Capital.

“Local communities are at the heart of what we do, and nothing brings communities together like local sports. That’s why we’re very pleased to welcome Locked On to Tegna,” said Dave Lougee, president and CEO of Tegna. “We look forward to growing the Locked On network through collaboration with our local stations, including the potential for video simulcasts of shows, and further increasing distribution, engagement and monetization of these fan favorite podcasts.”

Teaming up with Tegna “was a natural fit as we seek to grow our audience and expand our offerings,” Locke commented. “We’re excited to begin our next phase as we work with Tegna on new innovations that will enhance our value with our loyal listeners and help us reach new sports fans across the country.”

The Locked On (lockedonpodcasts.com) lineup spans every NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL team plus major college basketball and football teams and conferences. The company also produces daily podcasts for fantasy sports, sports betting and the NFL draft. In addition, Locked On has inked a deal with radio broadcaster Entercom Communications to create original sports podcasts for Entertcom’s new BetQL Audio Network for sports-gambling content.

All told, Locked On currently publishes more than 600 podcast episodes weekly and says it generates around 8 million listens per month. In 2020, its podcasts were downloaded more than 80 million times.

With the deal, CEO Locke, COO Carl Weinstein and Locked On’s four other full-time staff members will join Tegna. The companies expect Locked On’s current podcast contributors — more than 200 hosts — to remain on board.

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