As the National Basketball Association sets out to create podcasts as part of its new alliance with iHeartMedia, the league says its biggest opportunity in audio has been collecting dust in its media vault. David Denenberg, Senior VP of National & Local Network Partnerships at the NBA, says rather than the typical chat podcast, he sees basketball’s rich history as a deep bench of content.
“We’ve been looking for the right partner to help bring our archives to life,” Denenberg told Bloomberg. “We have tons of audio footage that’s never seen the light of day.” The NBA also hopes the podcasts will reengage audiences and bring new fans to the sport.
One example of a series that would fit into that mold is the limited ten-episode run Beyond The Last Dance podcast that the NBA produced last year with Pushkin Industries as a companion to “The Last Dance” documentary series on ESPN. It featured new interviews with former players, coaches and journalists as they provided never-before-told stories about one of the most memorable teams in NBA history.
In their announcement, iHeart and the NBA said they would share more details of the slate in the coming months. But they said in addition to podcasts designed to tell the backstories of some of the greatest moments in NBA history, other podcasts will offer a mix of the latest league news, player commentary, and insider analysis. Bloomberg says one show may riff off of iHeart’s HowStuffWorks as a basketball explainer to casual fans of the sport.
“We’ve had our eye on this league for a while to help it ramp up faster into podcasting,” Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group, told Bloomberg.
It is the latest sports deal for iHeart. The company announced in April that it had signed an exclusive multiyear podcast partnership with the National Football League. And last week it struck an alliance with Sports Illustrated that will see the co-production of at least eight new original podcasts while the iHeartPodcast Network will pick up distribution duties for Sports Illustrated’s existing podcasts.