With the NBA making news 365 days a year, ESPN is expected to announce Monday that it’s expanding Cassidy Hubbarth’s Hoop Streams into a season-long show.
The hit digital program streams on the ESPN app and ESPN’s Twitter and YouTube platforms.
Launched in February, the live, on-site show initially streamed before ABC’s Saturday night prime time game telecasts and other big games this past season. It grabbed a young, hoops-savvy audience.
Now Hubbarth, former NBA star-turned TV analyst Kendrick Perkins and a rotating cast of analysts, reporters, and influencers will take the show on the road for the 2019-2020 NBA season.
The new year-long Hoop Streams will debut October 25, as Duke’s Zion Williamson makes his NBA home debut for the New Orleans Pelicans against the Dallas Mavericks.
This season, they’ll also be there for the Battle of Los Angeles on Christmas Day when LeBron James’ Lakers take on Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers. As well as the NBA Playoffs, Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
Starting Jan. 18, Hoop Streams will be on site for every ABC Saturday Nighty prime time game and every ABC Showcase game on Sundays.
Hubbarth will be supported by Perkins, who recently signed a multiyear contract extension, and WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike. ESPN’s Jorge Sedano and Gary Striewski will also appear regularly on Hoop Streams.
ESPN announced a multiyear contract extension with Hubbarth, one of the network’s rising stars, in February.
“I’m so excited to get started on my second season hosting Hoop Streams and build off of last year where we discovered new ways to reach and entertain NBA fans,” said Hubbarth in a statement. “This year we are not only covering more marquee games but we are doing it with a crew that includes insanely talented analysts like Perk and Chiney. We aim to set the stage with crazy energy, first-hand knowledge and a vibe that can only be captured by being on-site and in the digital space.”
In his short TV career, Perkins has garnered positive reviews for his willingness to tell it like it is.
He earned respect in Boston by saying his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving was a “bad leader” for the Celtics.
Turning Hoop Streams into a season-long show is viewed as a vote of confidence by ESPN’s Executive Vice President of Content Connor Schell.
When Rachel Nichols returned to ESPN from CNN to create The Jump in 2015, the daily afternoon NBA studio show didn’t air all the time.
But once Nichols’ show found its audience, Schell made The Jump a year-round program. Nichols is now one of ESPN’s most important NBA voices, anchoring ESPN’s coverage of the Houston Rockets-China controversy from Shanghai last week.
During the upcoming season, The Jump will become ABC’s premier on-site pregame TV show before Saturday night games.
Nichols will also host The Jump before ABC’s Christmas Day Lakers-Clippers telecast. Then she’ll serve as the host of the NBA Finals on ABC, plus other marquee games through the NBA Playoffs.
Maria Taylor, meanwhile, is succeeding Michelle Beadle as host of NBA Countdown. ESPN’s currently negotiating a buyout of Beadle’s expensive contract.
“The NBA is incredibly important to all that we do,” said Schell in a statement. “This new pregame studio strategy will continue to elevate our NBA coverage and will be led by a talented array of voices who are committed to excellence, understand how to communicate to NBA fans, and are deeply passionate about the sport. We can’t wait for the season to get started.”