Freakonomics Radio presents a special series, “The Hidden Side of Sports,” that explores how sports became an entertainment juggernaut, how the economics actually work, and how the best athletes in the world do their job. Among the interview subjects: N.B.A. veterans J.J. Redick and Jeremy Lin, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (and many of his teammates, coaches, and executives), sportscaster Dan Patrick, U.F.C. fighter Lauren Murphy, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, former M.L.B. slugger Mark Teixeira, N.F.L.P.A. executive director DeMaurice Smith, former cyclist Lance Armstrong, former N.F.L. defensive back Domonique Foxworth, and the Olympic champions Simone Manuel (swimming), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Kerri Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball), and Mikaela Shiffrin (alpine skiing). Many of the full interviews can be heard on Stitcher Premium — use the promo code “FREAKONOMICS” for one month free.

How Sports Became Us (Ep. 349)

Dollar-wise, the sports industry is surprisingly small, about the same size as the cardboard-box industry. So why does it make so much noise? Because it reflects — and often amplifies — just about every political, economic, and social issue of the day. Introducing a new series, “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

How to Stop Being a Loser (Ep. 350)

The San Francisco 49ers, one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, also used to be one of the best. But they’ve been losing lately — a lot — and one of their players launched a controversy by taking a knee during the national anthem. So why is everyone there so optimistic? To find out, we speak with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and star players, including their new $137.5 million quarterback. (Ep. 2 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Here’s Why You’re Not an Elite Athlete (Ep. 351)

There are a lot of factors that go into greatness, many of which are not obvious. A variety of Olympic and professional athletes tell us how they made it and what they sacrificed to get there. And if you can identify the sport most likely to get a kid into a top college — well then, touché!

Think Like a Winner (Ep. 363)

Great athletes aren’t just great at the physical stuff. They’ve also learned how to handle pressure, overcome fear, and stay focused. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be an athlete to use what they know. (Ep. 4 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Inside the Sports-Industrial Complex (Ep. 364)

For most of us, the athletes are what make sports interesting. But if you own the team or run the league, your players are essentially very expensive migrant workers who eat into your profits. We talk to N.F.L., N.B.A., and U.F.C. executives about labor costs, viewership numbers, legalized gambling, and the rise of e-sports. (Ep. 5 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Not Just Another Labor Force (Ep. 365)

If you think talent and hard work give top athletes all the leverage to succeed, think again. As employees in the Sports-Industrial Complex, they’ve got a tight earnings window, a high injury rate, little choice in where they work — and a very early forced retirement. (Ep. 6 of "The Hidden Side of Sports" series.)

Extras

Extra: Full Interviews With Jimmy Garoppolo, Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, and Kyle Juszczyk

Stephen Dubner’s conversations with members of the San Francisco 49ers offense, recorded for Freakonomics Radio episode No. 350, part of the “Hidden Side of Sports” series.

Extra: Shawn Johnson Full Interview

A conversation with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

Extra: Jeremy Lin Full Interview

A conversation with veteran N.B.A. point guard Jeremy Lin, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

Extra: Mark Teixeira Full Interview

A conversation with former Major League Baseball player and current ESPN analyst Mark Teixeira, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

Extra: Mark Cuban Full Interview

A conversation with the Shark Tank star, entrepreneur, and Dallas Mavericks owner recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

Extra: Domonique Foxworth Full Interview

Stephen Dubner’s conversation with the former N.F.L. player, union official, and all-around sports thinker, recorded for our “Hidden Side of Sports” series.