*Sal Masekela is pretty much the Howard Cosell of extreme sports.
The 41-year-old son of South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela segued from being an NBA sideline reporter for ESPN to covering its annual X Games and Winter X Games, which features elite competitors in various action sports.
NBC wanted in on the “action” and got the genre’s most prominent voice to host its own weekend program, “The Red Bull Signature Series,” which spotlights the most progressive and innovative snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, ice cross downhill, skiing and BMX competitions.
“They’re just the type of events that they have a big following and big subcultures, and they require amazing athleticism and durability and things that you have as an athlete in other sports, but people don’t get a chance to see and know about it,” Masekela told us during interviews for the show Monday in Pasadena. “I think people can become fans by seeing them on this kind of platform on NBC.”
This weekend, Masekela is in Austria for the freeskiing event Red Bull PlayStreets, held in and around the spa town of Bad Gastein in Salzburg. The event will air this Sunday (April 28) at 5 p.m. [Scroll down to watch a promo.]
While in town, Masekela will also cover the Red Bull Hare Scramble’s Erzberg Rodeo. “It’s a moto event that goes through the forest and up mountains and things like that,” he explained.
Masekela understands that not all sports appeal to all people…and that’s precisely why viewers should tune in.
“I kind of liken it to what ‘Wide World of Sports’ was in the 70s and 80s, where any given Saturday you could tune in and you knew you weren’t gonna see a stick and ball sport,” he said. “You’re gonna to see something fantastic that you didn’t know about.”
Below, Masekela admits that even he isn’t familiar with some of the extreme sports he’s had to cover.
The “Red Bull Signature Series” freeskiing event, “Red Bull PlayStreets,” will air Sunday, April 28, at 5 p.m. on NBC. Masekela narrates the promo below.