Behind The Scenes

Behind the Heat Index

Editor’s note: The NBA Finals continue with Game 2 Thursday (9 p..m ET, ABC, ESPN Radio) as the Dallas Mavericks try to even the series with the host Miami Heat. Front Row provides a look at one aspect of ESPN.com’s coverage, the Heat Index.

Kevin Arnovitz took a circuitous route to his current position as editor of the Heat Index.

A graduate of Columbia University with degrees in English and history, he spent a few years as a campaign consultant before moving to Los Angeles to pursue some writing opportunities in Hollywood in the late 1990s.

He eventually joined Slate as a part-time editor, then National Public Radio as a freelancer, before landing a full-time role as commentary editor at NPR’s Marketplace.

For as much as Arnovitz enjoyed his work, he was also a Los Angeles Clippers season-ticket holder and decided to independently launch ClipperBlog in March 2006.

It was more of a hobby at the time, an outlet for him to express his perspectives on the team and the game.

But then his blog was noticed by TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott, and the ESPN.com editorial staff recruited Arnovitz to ESPN in October 2008.

Together, Abbott and Arnovitz worked hand-in-hand in creating the TrueHoop Network, a collection of blogs representing every team in the NBA, which launched in January 2009.

When ESPN.com announced plans prior to the 2010-11 NBA season to launch the Heat Index, Arnovitz was named editor with a team of journalists including Brian Windhorst, Michael Wallace and Tom Haberstroh. Arnovitz, Windhorst and Haberstroh all moved to South Florida in pursuit of the opportunity.

“Coming away from ‘The Decision,’ I believe some people had false impressions of what our site would be,” said Arnovitz.

“Our goal has not changed. We strive to deliver a package every day, multiple times a day, which is informative, compelling and provocative. We want to interact with Heat fans and be the source of record for Miami Heat coverage.

“Mike instantly gave us local credibility; Brian, in many ways, sets the standard for beat writers; and Tom is one of the most prepared writers I’ve ever worked with.”

Heat fans have been navigating to the site this postseason.

Through the playoffs, the Heat Index has generated 10.8 million page views and has been visited 8.5 million times.

With the Heat’s advancement to the NBA Finals, Arnovitz says there is an opportunity to attract a broader audience.

“We know there will be some new fans arriving during The Finals, which may not have been following the team as closely during the season. It’s a great opportunity to expose them to the site and our team.”

Much like the team they cover, the Heat Index staff has no plans of slowing down.

“As fast as we’re moving, the media landscape is changing just as fast,” Arnovitz said. “We’ve only begun to scratch the surface.”

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