Sports | April 13, 2021 11:45 am

ESPN Will Debut Betting-Focused NBA Game Broadcast This Week

The network’s new "Daily Wager Special" programming will start with a matchup of the Nets and 76ers

An ESPN microphone
An ESPN microphone before a NCAA Division I Women's Championship Elite Eight round game.
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In an attempt to appeal to the growing number of Americans who are able to bet on sports as more and more states legalize gambling, ESPN will begin airing betting-focused broadcasts of NBA games this week.

Available on both ESPN2 and ESPN+, the Daily Wager Special will start off with a pregame complete with predictions and follow that up with a halftime show featuring first-half betting results and second-half forecasts.

Debuting when the Brooklyn Nets visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, the Daily Wager Special will air alongside The Worldwide Leader’s traditional game broadcast on ESPN.

Sports betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum will offer their insights from ESPN’s Las Vegas studios during the special telecast, and NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins will also contribute to the coverage.

Internally referred to as the “BetCast” by ESPN executives, the Daily Wager Special will not really offer play-by-play analysis and will instead go with a more conversational approach to covering game action.

“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,” Mike Shiffman, VP of basketball production for ESPN, told Variety. “We hope by giving them more options that we serve them better and we grow our audience.”

If the Daily Wager Special is successful, it is very possible the format will be adapted to work for the NFL and other pro leagues moving forward. In addition to the NFL and the NBA, ESPN has a sizable rights deal with MLB and recently secured the lion’s share of NHL rights for the 2021-2022 season.

Most of the Daily Wager cast also contributed to an NFL-focused sports wagering program, Between the Lines, that aired on ESPN+ in January earlier this year.