The NBA used the bubble tournament in Orlando to showcase NBABet Stream, a new and experimental betting-focused broadcast option which is available via NBA League Pass and NBA TV Networks.
A Betting-Focused Broadcast Option
NBABet Stream features tailored commentary, different camera angles, and enhanced graphics. The stream also has real-time betting odds and stats provided by BetMGM. The league used nine seeding games for the first run of this betting-driven telecast. Said NBA head of Fantasy and Gaming SVP Scott Kaufman-Ross:
“The point of an alternate broadcast is for it to be different from the primary telecast. We didn’t feel we needed a perfect professional play-by-play person. We wanted to provide a group of people that would simulate you and your friends talking about the game from a betting perspective. It’s light. It’s fun. It’s supposed to be much more conversational and provide a different way of viewing the game — specifically, in this case, targeted at those thinking through betting concepts as they are watching NBA content.”
Aside from the alternative camera angles, betting odds, and stats, NBABet Stream also showcases betting analysts from the likes of Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports, and Action Network to provide commentary and analysis throughout the broadcast. The alternate broadcast also gives fans a more engaging option to watching the games, especially since they are not allowed to watch inside the venue due to health and safety protocols.
New Sports Betting Landscape
Teams in other sports have experimented with alternate broadcasts centered on betting. But as far as the NBA is concerned, NBC Sports affiliates, beginning in Washington D.C., started offering alternate telecasts while focusing on in-game betting. But other than that, this is the first step for the NBA at a league level. It’s the NBA’s latest step in its approach to the new sports gambling landscape in the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 in May 2018. The Act restricted and regulated sports betting primarily in the state of Nevada. Since the 2018 ruling, legal sportsbooks have opened in a total of 18 states plus the District of Columbia. There are several other states which are waiting to launch sports betting in their areas. Last month, William Hill USA opened inside the Capital One Arena, complete with betting windows and self-serving kiosks. It is the first ever physical sportsbook to open inside a U.S. sports arena venue.
As for NBABet Stream, it is an experiment for the league this season but according to Kauffman-Ross, the league thinks that this is where the nature of the game broadcasts are headed to. It may be a secondary screen option right now but they are looking at the possibility of integrating watching a game and betting in the near future.