Already in 2017, ESPN’s NBA coverage has lost Marc Stein, Chad Ford, Henry Abbott, Ethan Strauss, and others (while adding Adrian Wojnarowski). Now another longtime cog in the network’s pro basketball coverage is headed out the door.
Tom Haberstroh, an analyst, reporter and podcaster for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, announced Friday he was leaving ESPN and changed his Twitter bio to say “Spotlight Media Ventures + B/R Mag.” The news of Haberstroh’s departure and his new gigs was first reported by Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead.
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) October 13, 2017
Per The Big Lead, Haberstroh will write features for Bleacher Report Mag while also joining Spotlight Media Ventures, a brand-new media company that specializes in podcasts. SMV will reportedly soon roll out a audio and video network called Leverage the Chat, which has already debuted one podcast, The Basketball Friends. Per TBL, Haberstroh will participate in The Basketball Friends while also leading other yet-unannounced projects. The Basketball Friends is produced by Jade Hoye, former producer of ESPN beloved TrueHoop podcast series, which Haberstroh contributed to and which was canceled and then revived amid the network’s flurry of personnel changes this spring.
Many basketball fans are likely displeased to see so many of their favorite writers and podcasters spreading out, but from an industry perspective it’s encouraging to see an established presence like Haberstroh land at an up-and-coming company. As podcasts have become more and more prolific and popular in recent years, it became inevitable that more business models would center around that medium. For Haberstroh to leave ESPN to help launch an unproven network, he must truly believe in its blueprint.
Haberstroh is a versatile analyst, who largely traffics in analytics but also brought us “The Tinderization of the NBA.” His piece over the summer about Klay Thompson and the hot hand myth (or, as it turns out, non-myth) was an entertaining blend of feature-writing and statistical analysis. ESPN will miss him, but it sounds as if readers/listeners will still be able to see/hear plenty of him.