David PurdumESPN Staff WriterClose
- Joined ESPN in 2014
- Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008
NBC Sports Washington Plus will produce an alternate broadcast for the Bucks-Wizards game that will feature a free-to-play predictive contest with a $500 prize, along with real-time sports-betting data and statistics that will be displayed on-screen throughout the broadcast.
Friday’s game will be the first of eight that are scheduled to have the gaming-focused broadcasts, which were first reported by SportsBusiness Daily.
The predictive contest, “Predict the Game,” will ask approximately 30 questions throughout the game, such as: “Will Wizards forward Trevor Ariza score 10 or more points in the first half?”
In addition, odds, point spreads and over/unders will be shown on broadcast graphics.
“Combining the excitement of live Wizards games with engaging predictive gaming and data feeds will deliver a very entertaining experience for viewers, from first-time gaming players to savvy sports bettors,” NBC Sports Washington senior vice president and general manager Damon Phillips said in a news release. “The level of interest from fans, partners and sponsors in this area continues to increase, so we are pleased to offer this compelling product this season.”
“It’s the 1.0 version of where we’re ultimately going,” Zach Leonsis, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Wizards, told SportsBusiness Daily. “This will get more advanced. … The challenge for operators will be to make sure that the game play is supportive and not interruptive of the broadcast itself.”
Last May, the United States Supreme Court overturned a federal statute that had prohibited states outside of primarily Nevada from offering sports betting. Since the decision, legal sportsbooks have opened in Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.
The District of Columbia has passed legislation to allow sports betting, including at sports venues like Capital One Arena, home to the Wizards and Washington Capitals, but the law is awaiting final approval.
In recent months, NBC Sports has registered sports-betting-related web domains, including NBCSportsbook.com and NBCSportsSportsbook.com.
Additional alternate broadcasts are scheduled for Wizards games on Jan. 27 at the San Antonio Spurs, Jan. 30 against the Indiana Pacers, Feb. 2 against the Bucks, Feb. 22 at the Charlotte Hornets, March 3 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, March 19 against the Utah Jazz and April 5 against the Spurs.