ESPN Amping Up Betting Talk In TV Broadcasts, Starting With 76ers vs. Nets

Written By Derek Helling on April 13, 2021 - Last Updated on May 3, 2021
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If you’re more of a basketball bettor than a basketball fan, the future of NBA broadcasts on ESPN looks promising for you. Wednesday night’s Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers game affords sports bettors in PA a taste of what might be to come in a Daily Wager Special alternate presentation.

The companion broadcast will focus on betting angles during the game, as well as pre-game and halftime content with the same theme. This style of presenting sporting events could become far more popular as time passes.

Details on the Daily Wager Special broadcast for 76ers vs. Nets

The Nets at 76ers game, set to tip at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN2, will be ground-breaking for the network. It will be ESPN’s first alternate presentation driven by sports betting content. Most of the elements will be quite familiar for all viewers.

For instance, a 15-minute pregame show will feature commentators discussing game storylines along with making predictions. Those conversations will likely involve more themes like the game’s spread and player props, though.

During the game, the four-person crew will relate action to pre-game odds. They will also highlight in-game odds. The commentary should feature mentions of futures markets and updates from other games in progress as well.

Joe Fortengbaugh, Tyler Fulghum, Doug Kezirian, and Kendrick Perkins will be on the broadcast. The former three regularly appear on ESPN’s Daily Wager. Perkins is a former NBA player and ESPN analyst.

At the half, there will be more updates from around the league. Keeping with the gambling theme, the members of the broadcast team will grade bets and preview the second half with wagering angles in mind.

Right now, it’s unclear how frequently ESPN will make similar alternate presentations available for more NBA games. The same goes for other sports on its networks. This is another sign that legal sports betting is changing sports on television, though.

The future is now, like it or not

With more of the NBA’s home markets becoming part of jurisdictions with legal sports betting, the amount of crossover between NBA bettors and fans is only going to increase. Broadcasters like ESPN have a vested interest in promoting wagering on sporting events.

Late last year, ESPN made a deal with Caesars/William Hill Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook for content promotion and affiliate revenue sharing. The gambling companies get mentions on ESPN channels and in return, they pay ESPN for the traffic it brings.

Thus, more frequent sports betting is in ESPN’s best interest. That’s why it’s rolling out new gambling-centric content, in addition to selling a lot of advertising time during events to gambling companies. Those sales have been quite prevalent during 76ers broadcasts already.

ESPN isn’t the only sports content studio to go this way. NBC has a similar deal with PointsBet Sportsbook and CBS is on board with William Hill as well. FOX has its own sports betting product in PA and also has ties to FanDuel Sportsbook. FanDuel is in cahoots with Turner Sports as well.

If more broadcast presentations like this Daily Wager Special become commonplace, the exposure that 76ers fans will get to gambling content will only increase even further. At some point, the entire broadcast of games may end up feeling like one long commercial for DraftKings, William Hill, and others.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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