Washington Wizards to trial gambling-focused TV broadcasts

The introduction of legalized sports betting is forever changing how we view games on TV

Tomorrow’s NBA game between the Washington Wizards and the Milwaukee Bucks is going to be one for the history books. NBC Sports Washington Plus is going to introduce an alternative broadcast that highlights sports gambling, providing an inside look to wagers taking place during the contest.

The television broadcast will also offer on-screen displays that provide analysis into sports betting and player stats, as well as a free-to-play contest that will give fans the opportunity to predict the outcome of the in-game action.

If all goes well, there will be an additional eight broadcasts similar to the Wizards-Bucks game this season. All will feature the same announcers, video feed and commercial breaks that are seen on the standard NBC Sports Washington broadcasts, with the exception of the inclusion of the on-screen data and in-game gambling experiences.

The broadcast tomorrow will be a trial run of an entirely new activity that is still in its infancy. As such, more enhancements and tweaks are sure to follow. As the senior VP of strategic initiatives for the Wizards ownership group, Zach Leonsis, stated, “It’s the 1.0 version of where we’re ultimately going. 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.”

The move should have a lot of appeal with seasoned gamblers but, more importantly, with those just getting started. The idea is to ultimately have more fans involved in the action and improve the viewing experience. According to Damon Phillips, the GM for NBC Sports Washington, “I’ve always been intrigued by how do you make the television viewing experience better. From our perspective, we’re not necessarily going after the sharks or the high-rollers. We’re looking at trying to introduce sports betting to the casual fan.”

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