The NBC Sports Regional Networks have made a significant hire on the NBA side. Tom Haberstroh announced Thursday that he’s heading to NBC, where he’ll appear across their platforms:
Today I begin my new job as NBC Sports’ national NBA Insider — TV, writing, dig video and podcasts. Tonight I’m at MIA@WAS doing pregame, midgame (!) and postgame TV broadcast with the crew. GSW, BOS, PHI, POR, CHI and SAC spots to come in next 2 weeks … cue John Tesh … pic.twitter.com/7I5pM4nl8Q
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) October 18, 2018
NBC also made an official announcement of the move:
NBC Sports Regional Networks today announced that award-winning, veteran NBA insider Tom Haberstroh has joined NBC Sports Regional Networks as a National NBA Reporter. Haberstroh will cover all the teams and storylines across the league, with a focus on the NBA teams in the RSN markets. He makes his debut tonight on NBC Sports Washington as the Washington Wizards face the Miami Heat.
…“We’re excited to have Tom join the NBC Sports Regional Networks team,” said Jon Slobotkin, SVP, Content & Live Programming. “Tom’s original insight, research and perspective will offer our fans the additional context to the national NBA landscape, and complement the daily coverage in our markets throughout the season.”
“I am beyond thrilled to join the NBC Sports team and can’t wait to get started,” said Haberstroh. “Where else can you contribute to game coverage on every night of the week while also providing innovative content on digital platforms? From my seat, there’s no better place to offer insight to loyal and knowledgeable fans across the country and beyond.”
Haberstroh most recently covered the NBA for Bleacher Report, and also co-founded the Count The Dings podcast network, co-hosting the Back To Back podcast and the BIG Number digital video series. Before that, he spent eight years at ESPN, contributing to the magazine, ESPN.com and a variety of TV shows. And he’s an interesting hire given his grounding in analytics; he started as an analytics consultant at ESPN, and has often used advanced stats to inform his written, audio and video content.
This fits in to a couple of larger trends. For one thing, this is some extra content for the new MyTeams by NBC Sports regional sports networks’ app, which was launched this week and will allow authenticated cable/satellite/streaming bundle subscribers to watch not just games on RSNs, but also pre-game and post-game programming and featured videos on their teams. The NBC release mentions that Haberstroh will host original podcasts and video content for that app, in addition to writing stories and appearing on TV, and that could be an extra way to help promote that new app outside of game content, and to promote it to even those who prefer to watch games on conventional TV.
Beyond that, the demand for prominent NBA personalities is only rising, with plenty of outlets making big moves there. Some recent ones include ESPN bringing in Woj and many others, Marc Stein joining The New York Times, Shams Charania heading to The Athletic and Stadium, Frank Isola joining The Athletic, Michael Rapaport hosting shows for Fancred and Dan Devine leaving Yahoo for The Ringer. There’s clearly a substantial market for NBA content, and perhaps especially for personalities like Haberstroh who are comfortable creating content across mediums. And it’s interesting to see regional networks hire a national reporter, bringing in Haberstroh to “cover all the teams and storylines across the league, with a focus on the NBA teams in the RSN markets,” and to integrate his content with we’ll see how that balance is applied and how this works out in practice, but it’s certainly a notable idea.