The 13 Best Sports Podcasts of 2020

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Podcasts are a popular way for sports junkies to get their fix. With so many options to choose from, however, deciding which ones are worth listening to is a daunting task. We take the hard work out of the equation by listing some of the best sports podcasts currently available below.

Best for Ice Hockey Fans: 31 Thoughts

Male ice hockey player receiving puck at high speed as ices flies through the air, wearing full protective clothing.

 Mike Harrington/Getty Images

What We Like
  • Based north of the border, but gives attention to all relevant teams throughout the NHL.

  • Nice banter between the hosts.

  • Great audio quality.

What We Don't Like
  • Humor isn't prevalent on this podcast, although that could be considered a pro if you're just looking to get the facts.


  • Has become more interview heavy in recent months, which may turn off some listeners.

A Sportsnet Canada property, the 31 Thoughts podcast is highly entertaining and a great resource for hockey fanatics. Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman provide excellent insight into everything taking place on the ice and in the dressing room. 

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Best NFL Podcast: Around the NFL

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler talks football during an episode of Around the NFL

 NFL

What We Like
  • Showcases personalities.

  • Offers more than just your average, mundane rundown of the games.

  • Previews all match-ups from around the league.

What We Don't Like
  • Hosts go off topic too frequently on some episodes.

  • Loud sound bites and background music threaten to overwhelm the conversation at times.

The signature podcast from NFL.com's catalog, Around the NFL gets you caught up on the most recent games and does a solid job of previewing all upcoming matchups from around the league. ATN is hosted by a crew of football scribes that mesh well together, creating an enjoyable dynamic.

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Best Podcast for Baseball Fans: Baseball Tonight

Close-up of a baseball

Jill King / EyeEm/Getty Images

What We Like
  • It's obvious Olney and the team put a significant level of preparation into each episode.

  • Frequent episodes.

  • Occasional deep dives on interesting topics.

What We Don't Like
  • Occasionally, the audio quality of several guests and sometimes even that of the host is distractingly poor.

  • Shorter episode lengths might disappoint some listeners looking for more in-depth talks.

Hosted by long-time columnist and TV reporter Buster Olney, Baseball Tonight regularly features other ESPN personalities, along with beat reporters from various cities.

With frequently-released episodes (sometimes more than once per day in-season) covering the latest happenings around the game, as well as the occasional outside-the-box deep dive on an interesting topic, this is a worthwhile listen for both casual and serious baseball fans.

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MLB Trades and Call-Ups: DFA Podcast

An empty baseball diamond

Grant Faint/Getty Images 

What We Like
  • In-depth analysis of what every call-up, trade, or event means for the MLB.

  • It even focuses on minor transactions that usually get ignored by other shows.

What We Don't Like
  • A positive can also be a negative, as many of these minor transactions may only be interesting to hardcore fantasy players or fans of a particular team.


Even the most successful big-league teams seem to have a revolving door policy in their clubhouse at times, as evidenced by the always-busy MLB transaction wire. This holds especially true in the summer months leading up to the non-waiver and waiver trade deadlines in July and August.

Baseball Prospectus writer Bryan Grosnick and R.J. Anderson from CBS Sports break down every call-up, trade, or event on the DFA Podcast, analyzing what they really mean for the clubs and players involved.

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Best for Baseball Analytics and Emerging Trends: Effectively Wild

The Effectively Wild podcast logo

Effectively Wild

What We Like
  • Despite being hosted by Fangraphs writers, you don't have to be sabermetrically-inclined to enjoy this podcast.


  • Great camaraderie among the hosts.

  • Offers advanced analytics and growing trends in how the game is managed on and off the field.

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced metrics could be explained a bit more.


  • Some episodes can be quite long.

Brought to you by Fangraphs, Effectively Wild is a well-rounded baseball podcast with an expected slant towards advanced analytics and growing trends in how the game is managed both on the field and in the front office.

Hosts Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan do a good job of keeping things interesting, mixing a bevy of topics in each episode alongside the occasional industry insider guest.

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Behind-the-Scenes Look at MLB Front Offices: Executive Access

Executive Access podcast logo featuring a businessman with a baseball bat

MLB.com

What We Like
  • Longform interviews with front office baseball personnel fans don't typically get a chance to hear from as often as they'd like.

  • Offers a behind-the-scenes perspective on baseball fans don't often get to hear.

What We Don't Like
  • Sometimes more background information on guests would benefit casual fans.

  • Early episodes suffer from poor sound quality.

A baseball podcast with a different spin, MLB.com's Executive Access gives its listeners more than just a glimpse into the front-office folks responsible for constructing their favorite club's roster. Former longtime Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand interviews GMs, team presidents, and other key decision-makers for a behind-the-scenes perspective fans don't often get to see or hear.

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Best for Fantasy Football: Fantasy Focus Football

Fantasy Focus Football logo over the podcast's four hosts

ESPN

What We Like
  • Frequent episodes help ensure you aren't digesting stale information.

  • Daily strategy, previews, and injury reports from ESPN experts.

What We Don't Like
  • Much of the show's structure seems geared towards novice fantasy owners, which can test the patience of advanced players.


  • Sporadic schedule.

Fantasy Focus Football stands out among a sea of options for those virtual GMs watching their players in action from a bar stool or a recliner. Hosted by ESPN fantasy gurus Matthew Berry and Field Yates, alongside reputable injury analyst Stephania Bell, the show breaks down draft and waiver wire strategies, as well as the coming week's matchups.

This podcast helps provide an edge in today's ultra-competitive fantasy football landscape, one of the main reasons it consistently ranks near the top of the iTunes podcast rankings throughout the season.

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Soccer Fans Need This Podcast: Men in Blazers

Men in Blazer's Rog and Davo display a fan-made scarf

Men in Blazers

What We Like
  • Fun hosts.

  • A deep-rooted interest in growing the game in the United States.

  • Entertaining even for soccer newbies.

What We Don't Like
  • Some popular leagues don't get attention on this podcast.


  • Some longtime jokes will fly over newcomers' heads.

Hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett are all about soccer, and the steady growth in their podcast's popularity is no fluke. Men in Blazers does their part to promote the sport to newer fans in the States by focusing on the passion and excitement of the English Premier League, looked upon by some as the golden standard of soccer fandom. 

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Best Hidden Gem: R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED

Logo for the podcast R2-C2 is UNINTERRUPTED

R2C2 

What We Like
  • You don't have to be a New Yorker or a fan of the Yankees to enjoy this podcast.

  • They cover a fairly wide range of topics.

  • Good chemistry between the hosts.

What We Don't Like
  • The show ended in June 2020, but back episodes are still available.

Co-hosted by former Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and sportscaster Ryan Ruocco, R2C2 is a bit of a hidden gem in the sports podcast arena. With a who's who of Big Apple baseball on the guest list and an upbeat and humorous approach, the affable left-hander and Ruocco combine for a very enjoyable listen.

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Best for Hardcore Fantasy Football Fans: Rotoworld Football

The RotoWorld Football podcast logo

NBC Sports

What We Like
  • The podcast's direct approach when providing important information is refreshing and avoids a lot of unnecessary chatter.


  • Well-paced analysis that offers multiple opinions.

  • Excellent recaps and previews.

What We Don't Like
  • Not much. This is what a true fantasy football player should want in a podcast.


An authoritative resource for fantasy football news and advice, Rotoworld's NFL podcast broadcasts tried-and-true knowledge many daily and season-long players rely on. Don't put in those waiver claims or submit those lineups until you've listened to the latest episode first.

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Best for Learning More About NFL Players: The Adam Schefter Podcast

A headshot of ESPN reporter Adam Schefter

ESPN 

What We Like
  • The interviews are some of the best found on football podcasts.


  • Schefter knows when to get out of the way and let his guests talk.

What We Don't Like
  • Episodes aren't released frequently enough during the season.


  • Audio quality of recent episodes has suffered.

When it comes to the NFL, ESPN's Adam Schefter has been one of the main go-to sources for years thanks to an impressive network of insider contacts and his penchant for breaking news first.

Although his podcast incorporates some of what he's well known for, Schefter does much more than just recap the games and look forward to next week's slate. If you like shows that dissect the personalities under the helmets and shoulder pads, we suggest giving this one a try.

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Best Casual Sports Podcast: The Bill Simmons Podcast

Logo for the Bill Simmons Podcast

 The Ringer

What We Like
  • Simmons covers the NBA better than a lot of other multi-sport podcasts.


  • Great chemistry and humor.

  • Features many celebrities from the sports and entertainment industries.

What We Don't Like
  • The podcast can occasionally seem a little Boston-heavy. 

  • Irregular schedule.

Known for establishing Grantland and later The Ringer, Simmons is a force in the sports podcast world. His show does a nice job of casually mixing sports with music, movies, and other celebrity chatter without getting too far away from the subject at hand. This podcast often has an impressive guest list, including many prominent athletes. 

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Best for Casual NFL Fans: The Rich Eisen Show

Rich Eisen poses with actor Henry Cavill on The Rich Eisen Show

The Rich Eisen Show (via Twitter)

What We Like
  • Eisen's easy-going and dry sense of humor really shines during interviews.

  • Mixes analysis with pop culture, humor, and interviews.

  • Consistent schedule.

What We Don't Like
  • It's technically not a podcast.


  • Dominated by football content.

A one-time fixture on SportsCenter dating back to the mid-'90s, Eisen is now an oft-seen face on the NFL Network. The podcast is basically just a rebroadcast of his radio show, which is unsurprisingly dominated by football but isn't exclusively pigskin talk. 

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