Join episode 162 as Rodney Knuppel joins his brother Ryan to talk about his career going from ESPN personality to content manager for Knup Solutions.

Ryan Knuppel

Hey, what’s going on everybody. Ryan Knuppel here, Knup Sports Show, episode 162. We’re moving up, lots of shows going on. And today is one that I’m super excited about, really a special guest, special edition of this episode. Don’t know why it’s taken me 162 episodes to have this gentleman on, but it has. And we’re here today with my brother, the one and only Rodney Knuppel. Rodney, how are you today?

Rodney Knuppel

I’m doing good. I’m doing good. We’re finally getting good weather, that makes me happy.

Ryan Knuppel

Awesome.

Rodney Knuppel

I’m good. I’m good. Yeah, thanks for having me on. I’ve done a few of my own shows, but first time here joining you.

Ryan Knuppel

Funny, we’ve done this Knup Sports Show and you’ve been a part of it from a planning side and all, the back end side. And I’ve just been interviewing guest, after guest, after guest. And I’m like, “I haven’t talked to Rodney. Let’s talk to Rodney and let’s dive into his career and what he’s doing currently.” We’ll talk a little bit about that here as we get going. But thanks for joining me, I really appreciate it.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah. Looking forward to it and always willing to talk in front of the camera.

Ryan Knuppel

There you go. So, as most of you probably already know, Rodney is our content manager at Knup Solutions. Does a ton of planning and writing and all sorts of the above, managing our teams there at Knup Solutions. But Rodney, why don’t you dive in and just tell us little bit about yourself and kind of how you got into the sports industry?

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah, man. Well, it’s been a long journey, as you know. Actually have an education background, spent some years teaching, got out of that. Wasn’t quite the thing I wanted to do at that point. Got into a little radio background with local ESPN, so I’m an ESPN star. But no, it was good for a while, didn’t quite match up with the lifestyle, the family lifestyle that I wanted. And an opportunity came here with you and us and our business. It allows me to work from where I want when I want, how I want, sometimes more than others.

Rodney Knuppel

But as you know, it’s one of those grinds and it’s a thankful job because you see the process that we put … the work that we put out there and it’s fun. Now I manage writers, work with editors, publishers, our team. I mean, gosh, we’ve built a team of close to 100 individuals. All do great jobs, some do more than others. I kind of just manage them all and talk to them and get their schedules together. We do a lot of content and that’s fun for me, kind of look over the content, write some of my own. That’s just kind of where I’m at now.

Ryan Knuppel

You know, it’s funny because obviously knowing you as my brother and growing up with you and everything … But it’s funny to see where you’re at now and with all the sports and the numbers, and knowing how you were when you were a kid and super into the stats and the numbers and things just around sports. You’ve always been that person who has enjoyed that. And it’s kind of ironic that you’re in some way or another still kind of doing some of that stuff, so that’s probably pretty rewarding.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah. I mean, scheduling … I got to know what sports schedules are our next week. Now, with the internet and with our phones and stuff it’s pretty easy to look it up. But yeah, what are the big games, because we’ve got to cover them okay. I think I know that fairly well. I know what’s going on in professional sports, college sports. And then, getting any opportunity … Again, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to do a lot of writing myself, but anytime I do to fill in, or to help out, it is fun because then you do get to put the numbers together and do what I wanted to do 30 years ago now that I’m almost 40.

Rodney Knuppel

So yeah, it is fun. And just being involved with the sports industry and seeing it continue to move. We’ve been through so many cycles of NFL in the basketball and the NCAA in the baseball. I’m a little biased, but I know the sports schedule about as well as anyone. Not only just because I love it, but my job obviously makes that happen. It’s fun to be involved with that, yes.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. We were talking about this earlier. You mentioned your ESPN background. Do you miss that side of it, this side of it, the more on air side of the industry, do you missed that a little bit?

Rodney Knuppel

At times. But also, this job gives me an opportunity. We can do things like that now. Is it the big audience that we had at an ESPN, or out in an event … I miss talking sports every day, but I don’t miss being live on an air until six o’clock at night, from nine to six, or eight to six and getting home at seven o’clock. If I want to talk sports, I’ll get on with one of our guys and we’ll have a little show here. Again, maybe not the audience that I had when I worked for an ESPN, but it does give me that opportunity to talk. So yes I do, but I can kind of fulfill that here. And I know we’re going to be doing some shows coming up here and that kind of fulfills that void.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. Let’s talk through that, because I think the listeners probably don’t even really recognize everything we’re doing. Knup Solutions content agency, we’re providing content for hundreds of websites in this industry. But we also operate the Sports 2.0 Network. It’s one of the kind of passion projects. It’s almost like our minor leads of content, where we have our writers start. We have our content creators really learn and train, and we’ve had a lot of fun with that. I think that’s what you’re alluding to.

Ryan Knuppel

We have our guys, a bunch of writers and creators that are doing a certain set of shows out there and really not a huge audience yet. But hopefully you guys listening, maybe you’ll start tuning into some of these shows. I’ve seen you on a few of them. There’s a baseball one that you guys have been doing a little bit of. I know you and Tim are doing some sort of a nightly, or a couple a week. Talk a little bit about some of those other shows that maybe people don’t even know about that they could find.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah. So Tim [van Stratton 00:06:06] and I are going to re-up the put-the-kids-to-bed version of the Sports 2.0 show. It’s not necessarily like factual … I mean, we’re not out there telling lies, but it’s not necessarily going to be your most factual. It’s going to be whatever we want whenever we want type show. We’re going to talk sports, we’re going to take … If we want to have comments, we’ll take the comments. If we want others to join us, we’ll have others join us. But it’s kind of a fun way and we do it at night, obviously. I’ve got three kids, so we put them to bed and then we get on and talk sports. So we’re going to restart that, so it’s going to be the put-the-kids-to-bed version 2.0, because this is the second time around.

Rodney Knuppel

Baseball Spotlight is going on. I was on with [inaudible 00:06:50] and Mitchell Martin the other day talking some baseball. I know our horse racing guys do a great show every Friday. We have a pair of golf guys that are one of the best in the industry, they just continue to crank out great stuff. They have a show as well. So we’ve got it. Basketball season’s here, we’ll talk basketball. And so it is fun. It is fun. I’m not always on every one, but kind of managing and filling in here and there has been a fun process for me.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s awesome. That’s cool. I’ve really enjoyed that side of it as well. I know we have a hockey show. We need to get a basketball show though. I don’t really have a basketball specific show, but we do have a really good hockey … a couple guys that are doing a show as well, so that’s a lot of fun. I always enjoy watching you on air as well. I think you have the face and the voice to do something like this. So very cool.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah, you’re right. I didn’t mention the hockey guys. Those guys have been doing a great job. Dan and his buddy have been doing a fantastic job and they’ve been gaining a lot of steam in the industry as well. Every Tuesday night I know they put that one together. Basketball … I know football will be a big one, college NFL, maybe even both, as football will start getting here soon again.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about the industry as a whole, the sports betting industry. You and I, we’ve obviously been in it forever. I think I’ve been in it for nearly 20 years. You kind of were as a writer and kind of started with me when we really went full time with things. So we’ve kind of seen this industry, both in the United States … We’ve been around it when it wasn’t legal and now we’re starting to get states becoming legal. I mean, you’re in Illinois where it already is legal to bet, I’m in Florida, still waiting for the day. But, it’s been a fun journey. And I guess for me, just the attention on the industry has been fun. What’s it like for you just kind of being in an industry that’s now emerging and we can really talk about it?

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah, it’s wild. Because as you know, I’m a pretty big social media guy, especially Twitter. And everybody bets now, literally everybody bets. And while there are some pitfalls to that … Everybody is the expert and I get it, everybody wants to put their picks out there. That’s great. But, it’s fun to know that everybody is betting. This is what we have been doing for a long time. Done this a long time, but it is nice to see various sides of it. It used to be you’d bet on the games and that’s about it. Now, you can literally bet on every bat, you can bet on every possession, the live betting, the first inning bets have just blown up in major league baseball.

Rodney Knuppel

So it is fun to see the transition. Not all of it is great for the industry, it just isn’t. We don’t have time to get into that. But the attention to sports betting is nice. And it’s not as like, “Ooh, you bet on sports. I don’t know about you.” We’re not necessarily the black sheep anymore, because it is legal here in my state. We’re not doing anything illegal. Now, the one thing here in Illinois that people are still fighting is college basketball and football can’t bet on Illinois schools. And people just can’t stand that here. Just literally can’t stand it, because they want to bet on their team. But anyways, it’s been fun. I run into people at the gas station, the grocery store, “Who are you betting on tonight?” That’s fun, to be able to talk about it out there.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. And then just immediately turns into that’s what we do every day, right? Knock content around these games and just … Yeah, it is a lot of fun. It’s been rewarding to see the industry get where it is. And I don’t even think it’s close to fully mature in the US. It’s still on the … I would say not even 50% mature yet here in the States, so lots of room for growth.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah. It’s fun to see the progress. If you can get your Florida going, Texas can get going California, get going, you’re going to see those numbers really skyrocket. And Illinois’s got really healthy numbers month after month. Billions, billions of dollars.

Ryan Knuppel

For sure. So speaking of the industry, just recently … I guess back at the SBC event, so there’s been this whole like movement of events that are coming into this space. And most of them are business to business events, so they’re truly focusing on business professionals like us who can come and connect and learn about the industry, and learn about all the different services.

Ryan Knuppel

At the SBC event I got to sit down with Pierre, who’s now the founder of iGaming NEXT. And he asked if we wanted to be a media partner of the iGaming NEXT event in New York City, 2022. Man, I love everything about the industry, so immediately said yes. Immediately said, “Hey, Knup Solutions will do what we can do to help with this event, to be a part of the event, to just support it and be a part of it.” And so, part of the reason you’re on here today is I’d ask you to moderate, I think, moderate. You can talk a little bit about what’s coming up. But, moderating an event here in May, so you’re going to be moderating a panel at the New York City, 2022 iGaming NEXT event, correct?

Rodney Knuppel

Yes, I am. The Friday of the event, that is Friday, May 13th. It’s just before lunch, I’m going to be moderating an event. The all roads lead to customer profitability, me and a couple other guys will be on that one. I’ll be moderating it, they’ll they’ll be doing most of the talking, looking forward to that. Some Checkd Media, Catena Media, Betting Hero, are the companies, going to be talking about that one. So it should be fun. I know those guys are going to know so much more than I do, and that’s fine. I’ll learn. And that’s what I’m going for. I want to be able to learn. The speaker list for this is great. I’m looking forward to all these that are going on throughout Thursday and Friday. You’ve got the agenda up. I’ll be Friday before lunch. Should be a fun one. But yes, I’m looking forward to it and learning a lot from that event as well.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah, that’s awesome. What a great speaker lineup. The panel that you are working through on all roads lead to customer profitability, Checkd Media, Catena Media, Betting Hero, some of the biggest companies in this space and some of the true leaders in this industry. That’s not the only panel that’s going to be amazing, but I’m really excited to see you moderate that and keep that discussion going. That’s going to be fun.

Ryan Knuppel

And man, hey, look at this. Knup Solutions right here as a media partner, we’re really proud to be … honored really, honestly. As we go through this and do what we do, you just want … I don’t care about recognition. I don’t really care about any of that for our company, but it is fun to see your name and your business kind of up with some of these other companies. So us as a media partner has been cool and then when … Look at this, you got this speaker line-up with just insane hundreds and hundreds … And oh, look who we got here?

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah, that’s me.

Ryan Knuppel

We got our one and only Rodney Knuppel’s going to be a part of this event. So really cool, and thank you for taking part in this and making it happen.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah. And not only that, it’s been a long time since I visited New York City. I’m really excited for that aspect as well, the little bit of time I do have outside of the great conference to maneuver that city. Again, been a long time, and I get to actually stay a couple extra days and see my Cardinals play.

Ryan Knuppel

That worked out well.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah, the Cardinals and Mets are playing. They’re playing a four game series Monday through Thursday. I couldn’t quite stay for all four, but I am going to see Cardinals/Mets on that Monday. Anytime I go somewhere, if the Cardinals are anywhere close, I am in, so Cardinals/Mets on that Monday will wrap up my trip. Really looking forward [crosstalk 00:14:41]

Ryan Knuppel

It’s like they knew you were coming. So that’s May 12th and 13th is that event coming right up here in May. If anybody listening does want to attend this event … I did have Rory [inaudible 00:14:51], who is kind of the leader of this event in New York City … I had him on the show just on episode 161, and he actually said that they’re going to be selling out here fairly soon. So if you do want to go to this event and you don’t have your tickets yet, head out to igamingnext.com, head over to Knupsports.com, uswager.com, any of our properties we’re also promoting their event. Click on it, you can buy your ticket there.

Ryan Knuppel

I think it’s going to be a great one. I think they’re doing a really good job of putting together a superstar lineup of speakers and topics. And of course, with these events, there’s always networking and fun things that go along with it. We’ll see what they have planned. I’m not 100% sure what they have planned from a fun side of things, but I’m sure they’re going to have something.

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah. It’d definitely be great. You can go to the website. I was looking at tickets there the other day, so still available. But like you said, probably going to sell out soon, so make sure you get them soon and see me there. And if you want to meet up before or after the conference, I would love to meet with you.

Ryan Knuppel

Awesome. Cool, Rodney. Well, I appreciate you joining me here. What else? What else did we miss? I know you got to get back to your schedule, man. You got to get that schedule rolling and rocking and then going through. But what else? Anything else we missed before I let you go?

Rodney Knuppel

No. Just shout out to our great team. They go underappreciated sometimes, our writers, our editors, our publishers, the behind the guys. They do a great job. Some more than others, they do more than others. They all do a great job and I’m appreciative of them. I put it out there for them, they get the job done. And so, shout out to them. I call them my team, but they’re really our team, the guys that I manage. So, shout out to them and thank you for doing what you do.

Ryan Knuppel

Cool. You mentioned Twitter earlier, but if people listening to this want to get ahold of you, want to connect with you, maybe want to send you a message to meet you at iGaming NEXT, what’s the best way to do that?

Rodney Knuppel

Yeah. You can find me on LinkedIn at Rodney Knuppel, message me there. I’ve used Twitter quite a bit. It’s my last name, K-N-U-P-P-E-L, first name, R-O-D-N-E-Y. Just like that, no spaces or anything in the middle. Knuppel Rodney at Twitter. Just send me a message. And again, LinkedIn’s a great spot as well. I know there’s a lot of iGaming NEXT stuff going on there. So either way, would love to meet up with you, try to find some time, even if it’s right before or right after the conference. I’m there for a few days. So looking forward to it and I’d love to meet up with anybody.

Ryan Knuppel

Cool. We’ll put a ton of these links out in the show notes so that way people don’t have to remember them and they can click on them and go from there. So we’ll put those all out there. Rodney, I appreciate it. Really excited to finally have you on and obviously, I knew what you did already and I know what you’re all about. But, I think it’s awesome for people listening to now kind of understand what makes you tick and who you are. And hopefully, episode 300 you can come back on.

Rodney Knuppel

There we go.

Ryan Knuppel

We can talk all about the last five years of what we’ve been doing and what we’re up to. So appreciate you taking the time.

Rodney Knuppel

Yep. Sounds good, man. Thanks for having me.

Ryan Knuppel

All right, take care. Everybody, that was Rodney Knuppel, really appreciate him coming on. My brother, one and only content manager, who does a great job for us. I really appreciate him spending some time here. Also appreciate you guys tuning into this show, supporting this show up to 162 episodes. I would not be doing it if people weren’t listening and commenting and having a good time. So love bringing on leaders in the industry. If you know someone that would be great for this show, please have them reach out to me at Ryan Knuppel, K-N-U-P. You can find me anywhere at LinkedIn and Twitter, wherever you can find me. Appreciate everybody. Make sure you get your tickets for iGaming NEXT. But until next time, stay safe. We’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Relevant Rodney Knuppel/iGaming NEXT Links

More Knup Sports Links

Contact Ryan Knuppel