NBC Sports is about to make US broadcast history by airing sports betting friendly broadcast of an NBA game to local viewers in the Washington DC area. It’s a bold move for the broadcasting giant and a major leap forward for the budding American sports betting market.
The televised broadcast of the Washington Wizards vs the Milwaukee Bucks is set to take place on January 11 and will be broadcast on NBC affiliates across the country. Viewers in the Washington DC market, those viewers who get NBC Sports Washington Plus anyways, will see that same broadcast but with a slight twist. NBC will be using an overlay of in-play sports betting statistics throughout the game – much like the statistic overlays used on financial networks such as CNBC.
For this early broadcasting experiment, NBC Sports plans on keeping things very basic. Stats overlays will focus on rudimentary predictions such as, <em>how many points will be scored that period</em> or <em>how many assists will a single player have</em>. The idea here is not to overwhelm the US sports fan, who likely isn’t as used to sports betting as his or her Australian or UK counterparts.
David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks spoke enthusiastically of the idea in an interview with SportsBusinessDaily.com saying, “We’re trying to figure out ways to appeal to casual sports bettors to make the games more interesting. … One of the real differentiators of the RSNs (regional sports networks) business is being able to try new things in different markets.”
NBC is right to ease in this idea. After all, Australian TV viewers were so overwhelmed with in-play sports betting ads and commentary, that they’ve all but banned the practice. It will be interesting to see how US viewers react.