The NBA is getting into the podcast game by riding the popularity of ESPN’s hit documentary “The Last Dance.”
The league and Amazon-owned audio service Audible are releasing the 10-episode podcast series “Beyond The Last Dance” on Aug. 31, which will be hosted by former sportswriter J.A. Adande and former NBA player B.J. Armstrong, who won three NBA titles with the Bulls. The series of 40-minute episodes will “explore additional storylines” from “The Last Dance,” which centered around Michael Jordan’s career and the Bulls’ 1997-98 season.
It will include new interviews with former players, coaches and journalists. Each episode will begin with an “insightful audio feature” by Adande, the announcement said.
“The NBA is proud to team up with Audible and Pushkin Industries for Beyond The Last Dance, which marks an exciting new venture for the league,” said David Denenberg, NBA senior vice president of global media distribution & business affairs. “As we continue to reimagine our content and storytelling about our teams, players and history, Beyond The Last Dance serves as a stepping stone as we pursue new opportunities in podcasting.”
“Beyond The Last Dance” will be exclusive to Audible. It was announced as part of the service’s new, lower-priced subscription tier called “Audible Plus,” which offers users a $7.95 monthly plan, down from the premium $14.95 price point.
Armstrong – now an agent with Wasserman – is no stranger to podcasts, both as a host and guest, and has frequently discussed “The Last Dance.” He currently hosts “Pushin’ Thru” alongside Tate Frazier on the Westwood One Podcast Network as well as “The Pure Hoops Podcast” with co-host Eric Newman distributed on Audioboom. He previously hosted the “BJ x Bucher Podcast” with radio host Ric Bucher.
Adande spent his writing career with Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Times and ESPN. He is now the director of sports journalism at Northwestern’s Medill School.
“The Last Dance” scored record viewership numbers, premiering in April when there were virtually no live sports. The series averaged 5.6 million viewers domestically on ESPN and ESPN2 — making it the most-watched ESPN documentary in history — and drew in 23.8 million users internationally on Netflix.
It also helped boost the nostalgia around all things Jordan and the Bulls. Sneaker reseller StockX saw Jordan sneaker sales increase more than 38%. The Bulls launched Bulls Archive, the NBA’s first team archive-focused social media account. It has more than 100,000 followers across Instagram and Twitter, with content that leans heavily into that era.