NBA writer Chris Mannix and Sports Illustrated are launching their first-ever podcast tour with his show The Crossover. Mannix detailed the tour and discussed the process with The Big Lead.
Mannix wanted to think of a way to take podcasting to the next level and this idea came to him at the end of the NBA season. He’s a big fan of political podcasts and found the live audiences those draw intriguing. He notably mentioned the popular Pod Save America podcast as an example. This was an area he believed sports podcasts, particularly NBA-focused ones, were lacking. Combining this with his constant notice of fans talking and debating each NBA topic at the bars during the offseason led to this decision: “I want to bring that type of discussion and debate to a live setting,” he explained.
“This led me to focus on a podcast tour in the Northeast, in the cities of Boston, DC, Brooklyn, and then in Philadelphia. Each event will be very local-topic centric,” Mannix said. “It’s going to start with a panel discussion that I’m trying to load up with local NBA writers that work in that state with some national guys sprinkled in.”
Mannix added he is currently focusing on adding a “big energy” personality to each show. He is working with teams to get players, general managers, and coaches involved.
His hope is he can get around 100 sports fans in these venues with tickets priced at $10-$15. The idea is to create a bar discussion-like atmosphere.
“I want the audiences to be involved and engaged,” Mannix said. “With one part being a Q&A session where the fans can let their voices be heard. Some of these venues will be at bars, so I want this to be a fun experience.”
Mannix spoke more about his goals for the tour: “I don’t know how I will measure success for these yet. I guess to know the people had a good time? I’m not trying to make any real money off this. I’m instead trying to see if there is an appetite for this kind of stuff in the live event space. This is my trial balloon.
“Yeah, I’m going to be hosting this event, but the only time I want to sound like a host is when I’m transitioning between topics. I want the voices of the fans to be heard. The back-and-forth conversation is key.”
Mannix wrapped up, “To be honest, Bobby, I’m a little nervous about this, but, at the same time, incredibly excited.”
The tour, which will also be recorded, will kick off in Boston at The Harp on October 2. The next day he will be in Washington, DC, at The Draft House. The third show will take place inside the Barclays Center at the 40/40 Club on October 4. The final podcast will be a few days later on October 7 on the Improv Theater in Philadelphia. Ticket links will be available later this week.