ESPN Reimagines NBA Pregame Coverage with New Strategy


ESPN Reimagines NBA Pregame Coverage with New Strategy

Expanded Roles for Several Commentators

ESPN is reimagining its NBA pregame coverage with an innovative, multiplatform strategy ahead of the 2019-20 season, highlighted by an impressive collection of top basketball commentators. Spearheading the coverage will be several significant ESPN properties: The Jump, NBA Countdown, SportsCenter and Hoop Streams.

Rachel Nichols will expand her role as host of The JumpESPN’s breakout daily NBA studio show. The Jump will now serve as the on-site pregame show on ABC for the marquee NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC series, which airs January-April, as well as the pregame show on Christmas Day prior to the Los Angeles Lakers vs. LA Clippers primetime game on ABC. As part of her expanded role, Nichols will host the NBA Finals on ABC next June, as well as marquee games throughout the NBA Playoffs. As one of the NBA’s longtime preeminent voices, Nichols helped launch The Jump in 2015 and will continue to host the Monday-Friday editions of the show from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

Maria Taylor will expand her role to host NBA Countdown, ESPN and ABC’s longstanding NBA pregame show, from ESPN’s Seaport Studios in New York. Taylor will also have a significant role hosting NBA Playoffs editions of NBA Countdown across ESPN networks. Her high-profile, multi-sport role will continue as an integral part of the College GameDay and ABC Saturday Night Football teams. Taylor will also continue in her role as lead host of ESPN’s women’s college basketball coverage, culminating with the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

ESPN basketball analysts Jay Williams and Jalen Rose will regularly join Taylor on NBA Countdown. In addition to Williams and Rose, Richard Jefferson and Paul Pierce will be prominently featured in ESPN’s overall NBA pregame coverage. NBA Countdown generally airs Fridays from 7-8 p.m. on ESPN prior to games and Sundays from 3-3:30 p.m. on ABC ahead of the ABC Sunday Showcase series, which starts in January. NBA Countdown will make its preseason debut on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski will also expand his role and consistently contribute to ESPN’s NBA pregame shows. All of ESPN’s pregame coverage will include special feature segments from ESPN’s award-winning storytelling team.

ESPN will televise special editions of its iconic SportsCenter show leading into its NBA primetime games on Wednesdays throughout the season. SportsCenter will air from 7-7:30 p.m. on weeks when ESPN’s NBA games begin at 7:30 p.m. More information on Wednesday’s pregame coverage will be announced soon.

ESPN host and reporter Cassidy Hubbarth will play a significant role in ESPN’s NBA pregame strategy. Hubbarth will continue to host Hoop Streams, ESPN’s innovative on-site digital show leading into high-profile NBA games, including every NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC broadcast and throughout the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals. Cassidy Hubbarth hosts Hoop Streams alongside analyst Kendrick Perkins, and a cast of top commentators and influencers. Hoop Streams will expand its on-site presence this season, as Hubbarth and the team will be on location on Christmas Day for the Lakers-Clippers digital pregame show. Hubbarth will also continue in her role as ESPN NBA reporter for game telecasts throughout the season and during the NBA Playoffs. Hoop Streams is available on the ESPN App, Twitter and YouTube.

Connor Schell, ESPN executive vice president, content:
“The NBA is incredibly important to all that we do. 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.”


ESPN media contact: Ben Cafardo at 860-766-3496 or [email protected]. Twitter: @Ben_ESPN.

Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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