ESPN's Kendrick Perkins Talks Remote "Hoop Streams" Production
ESPN continues to produce new original shows despite sports being almost entirely shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that has forced on-air talent to adapt to new technology and production ideas. “Hoop Streams,” the ESPN+ NBA digital pregame show that airs on Tuesdays and Fridays on Twitter and YouTube, is among the shows currently being produced 100% remotely. Former NBAer and “Hoop Streams” analyst Kendrick Perkins said the biggest change is that a one-hour show “turns into a three-hour show” with all the various tests that need to take place. He noted ESPN gave all the show’s panelists a “camera-iPad-type thing” and said, “You gotta hook the iPad up to the microphone, make sure the microphone is working. You gotta plug in your earpiece thing to another cell phone where you can hear everybody and producers gotta do test runs.” Despite all of the new hoops to jump through, “Hoop Streams” remains successful. Perkins noted producer Max Kelley and the rest of the crew “really do a great job of prepping the show.” He said, “I’m talking weeks ahead of time, putting people in position to be successful, so that when we do come on the show, it is really, really great.”
NUMBERS GAME: Despite the uncertainty surrounding the NBA's return to the court, it is clear there is an appetite for NBA-related content during this shutdown. The first new episode of “Hoop Streams” during the hiatus, which debuted on March 24, drew more than 750,000 streams on Twitter and YouTube, and that figure does not even include viewership figures from the ESPN app, as those numbers were not available. An ESPN spokesperson said that total viewership would have been higher with all outlets reporting. For comparison sake, “Hoop Streams” this season -- prior to the NBA shutting down -- has been averaging 1.6 million streams per show. The newest episode streams Friday at 5:00pm ET.
TAKING A CHARGE: One pitfall of this new normal is making sure all of the necessary technology is ready when needed. Perkins relayed a story about a recent remote appearance on “The Jump” that was not all that smooth. “My iPad went dead,” Perkins said, “so Rachel Nichols and Paul Pierce had to wait on me to charge my iPad for like 30 minutes.”