SSPC: Can the ISL be Profitable?

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman Hodges and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Torrey Hart, former SwimSwam writer and now full-time sports journalist at Front Office Sports. Torrey wrote a massive piece breaking down the business side of ISL at the conclusion of Season 2, and if you haven’t read it yet, DO SO NOW! Then we can really have a conversation.

We break down how the ISL ran things in their first 2 seasons, including their inability to pay all of their debts right away. We talk through both sides of the coin as well as moving forward, what the league can do to turn a profit and really start to turn swimming into a legitimate professional sport. Because let’s be honest: as swim fans, that’s all we really want.

Music: Otis McDonald


Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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6 months ago


Reply to  Realist
6 months ago

It could… But it feels like there’s still a longer way to make swimming popular enough for the broad public

Reply to  Olympian
6 months ago

Yeah people would have to magically care about and understand swimming aside from Michael Phelps

Reply to  Swammerstein
6 months ago

I think ISL can be, re: total digital reach. Over 2019, reach was 40 million and change. It’s larger this years. Once you’re nearly 100 million reach, you have a business. True, it’ll take time, 2-3 more years, but you can reach break-even. HOWEVER, if the gamification (gambling) of swim is a part of the biz model, then you’re in the black and profitable in 12-18 min.

Swim fan 44
6 months ago


Finance guy
Reply to  Swim fan 44
6 months ago

Not at all, it’s swimming. XFL failed twice now and football is infinitely times more popular. The AAF also failed.

Reply to  Finance guy
6 months ago

Both those leagues had existing competition though. It’s EXTREMELY hard to produce a better product than the NFL when all the elite talent is there. The ISL has all the elite swim talent, the challenge for them is reaching new potential fans. I wholeheartedly agree with Mel’s comment above saying that adding a gambling aspect could do wonders.

6 months ago

ISL really needs strong marketing and sponsors otherwise, it will fail. This season was amazing to watch on tv , the content is great, that’s the big point.

Last edited 6 months ago by swimfan_00

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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