Head of NBA & Studio Production
David Roberts is the head of NBA and studio production at ESPN, leading ESPN’s NBA and WNBA production, including event and studio, in addition to his expansive collection of content responsibilities. Roberts oversees production for all regular-season and playoff games, punctuated by the NBA and WNBA Finals, as well as studio content including NBA Countdown and NBA Today. He also leads production for First Take, the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, Get Up, PTI, Around The Horn, This Just In (since its launch in Oct. 2021), ESPN Audio content and ESPN digital shows. In August 2020, as part of returning the strategic direction of ESPN Audio’s national network talk radio content to his oversight, he unveiled a powerful weekday talk lineup, adding new and diverse voices to ESPN Radio.
In January 2021, Roberts’ leadership expanded to include the launch and continued growth of two new, signature shows on the network’s industry-leading sports streaming service, ESPN+. Stephen A’s World – featuring host and executive producer Stephen A. Smith – and ESPN’s reimagined SportsNation.
In November 2020, leadership of ESPN’s cross-platform production unit was added to his portfolio. He now also oversees Jalen & Jacoby, all ESPN Audio content, including podcasts and events, as well as production of digital studio shows and YouTube.
Roberts’ leadership across ESPN has been highly recognized. In 2020, he was named to the Cablefax Diversity List, recognizing the most influential diverse executives in the industry. Roberts was also an integral part of a leadership team that brought First Take live to HBCU Week in 2019, with the goal to increase HBCU enrollment and scholarships at the event’s college fair. Records were set for both and Roberts was honored with the Trailblazer Award at the HBCU Week Gala.
Previously, Roberts served as vice president, production since 2018 which included oversight of the ESPN Audio network. Prior to that, he served as general manager of ESPN New York 98.7FM. While at ESPN New York, Roberts led rights negotiations that brought multiyear deals for New York Knicks, Rangers and Jets games to the station. In addition, Roberts oversaw the simulcast agreement for The Michael Kay Show on the YES Network. Before that, Roberts was senior coordinating producer, studio production for ESPNEWS and joined ESPN in 2004 as a coordinating producer.
Roberts came to ESPN after more than 25 years in local news experience. In 1987, he became news director at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio, where he was the first African-American news director in the state’s history. In 1991, he moved to WBAL-TV in Baltimore as news director and in 1996 he joined WXIA-TV in Atlanta in the same position. Once again, he was the state’s first African-American news director.
He began his television career in 1978 as a reporter for WGPR-TV in Detroit, Mich. In 1980 he joined WFMY-TV in Greensboro, N.C., as a reporter. In 1982, he returned to his hometown of Detroit as an assignment editor for WJBK-TV. In 1984 he moved to KFSN-TV in Fresno, Calif., as executive producer. A year later he assumed that same role for WGHP-TV in High Point, N.C.
A native of Detroit, Roberts earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications from Wayne State University in his hometown of Detroit.