The NBA will produce a series of original podcasts chronicling the league’s greatest moments and its best players, partnering with iHeart Media to produce the programming.
As reported by Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw, iHeart Media will be responsible for the podcasts’ production, in addition to their distribution and advertising sales. The conglomerate owns a huge number of radio stations and a podcast network that should provide an ideal platform for getting the word out on this NBA series.
For the NBA, the hope is that these original podcasts will reach a different audience, particularly casual fans who don’t typically make time to watch professional basketball.
There are plenty of NBA-related podcasts available, including shows produced by ESPN, The Ringer, Yahoo Sports, Showtime, LockedOn, and Sports Illustrated, in addition to numerous basketball podcasts associated with networks like SB Nation and FanSided, and independent fan-produced content. Yet the league itself hasn’t made much effort to reach that audience and doing so could help boost viewership that has declined since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet according to Bloomberg, the NBA isn’t interested in interview and talk programming. The league wants to utilize the audio content it has that no other outlet does.
“We have tons of audio footage that’s never seen the light of day,” NBA Entertainment’s senior vice president of distribution and business affairs David Denenberg told Bloomberg.
The NBA and iHeart haven’t finalized what their first wave of podcasts will be. Daily podcasts could be part of the lineup, but the league wants to emphasize limited series (perhaps 10 episodes long) that uses its in-house archived material.
Another possibility is a program similar to iHeart’s popular HowStuffWorks podcast, which provides insight into a variety of different phenomena, processes, and questions. A basketball version could be produced for new and casual fans.