Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
ESPN is betting on itself Wednesday night.
The network is set to broadcast its first alternate sports betting presentation for an NBA game. The presentation will be a special derived from ESPN’s sports betting show “Daily Wager,” which debuted in 2019. The game at the center of the “BetCast” pits the Brooklyn Nets against the Philadelphia 76ers. The “Daily Wager Special” arrives as sports betting becomes less taboo among broadcasters and sports organizations and is now legalized in 25 states and Washington, D.C.
“You can have a normal conversation about betting,” Daily Wager commentator Doug Kezirian told Variety. “And it will not feel dirty or shady or anything silly like that — period.”
Both ESPN+ and ESPN2 will broadcast the special, while ESPN will host a traditional broadcast. The usual “Daily Wager” crew will host; ESPN analyst and NBA champion Kendrick Perkins will also have a hand in the coverage.
A big part of the draw for the broadcast will be customized graphics designed to immerse viewers and tip-off and halftime shows geared towards betting. “We know the sports fan is evolving in how they use our games and our information, and we need to evolve with them and provide them with alternative experiences,” ESPN vice president of basketball production Mike Shiffman said in an interview.
ESPN previously tested a betting-focused presentation in January during its megacast of the NFL Wild Card matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.