Last night’s Thunder-Nuggets game marked the debut of NBABet Stream, a new league venture that will offer viewers an alternate stream focused on gambling for certain seeding games.
It’s a logical step for the NBA, which was an early adopter and advocate for legalized sports gambling in the United States, with Silver penning a New York Times op-ed way back in 2014 in favor of it. Now, the league is one of the first to offer a sanctioned, in-house alternate broadcast focusing on gambling and integrating live betting odds.
As ESPN’s David Purdum notes, the stream will be available via League Pass and the NBA app:
NBABet Stream will feature overlays displaying point spreads and odds, as well as betting analysis, beginning with the Oklahoma City Thunder–Denver Nuggets game Monday. The NBABet Stream broadcast is available on NBA League Pass, NBA TV via the NBA App and NBA.com through the league’s direct-to-consumer subscription product.
With no fans physically present during the completion of the NBA’s season, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league is attempting to create a new experience for viewers, including different camera angles that would not be accessible with fans in the arena, as well as some virtual reality elements. Through a partnership with Microsoft, more than 300 fans each game appear live on 17-foot-tall video boards surrounding the court.
The league is partnering with BetMGM Sportsbook for live odds, and the streams will feature commentary from analysts at The Action Network, Yahoo, and Bleacher Report. Tonight’s Pacers-Magic game, for example, will feature Action Network commentary:
Starting tonight, NBA League Pass & NBA TV are offering feeds to select seeding games from a betting perspective. @ActionNetworkHQ’s @jphanned, @HPbasketball & @ChrisRaybon on the fall for tomorrow night’s Magic-Pacers game! pic.twitter.com/pmUFhRVjAf
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 3, 2020
If you’re curious about how this looks in action, the other games scheduled for Bet Stream:
NBA TV DTC:
- Aug. 3 — Denver vs. Oklahoma City (4 p.m. ET)
- Aug. 6 — New Orleans vs. Sacramento (1:30 p.m. ET)
- Aug. 9 — Philadelphia vs. Portland (6:30 p.m. ET)
- Aug 10 — Dallas vs. Utah (3:00 p.m. ET)
- Aug. 12 — Indiana vs. Houston (4:00 p.m. ET)
NBABet Stream presented by BetMGM Schedule on NBA League Pass:
- Aug. 4 — Orlando vs. Indiana (6 p.m. ET)
- Aug. 5 — Denver vs. San Antonio (4 p.m. ET)
- Aug. 7 — Washington vs. New Orleans (8 p.m. ET)
- Aug. 11 — Phoenix vs. Philadelphia (4:30 p.m. ET)
Considering legalized gambling is likely on the way for more and more of the country, this could end up being a permanent feature for the NBA. It could also serve as a guide to other leagues (or even local networks on a team-by-team basis) looking to enhance their offering or just to attract a different audience.
At the very least, it’s another example of the NBA being ahead of the curve relative to other American leagues, though we’ve had plenty of those examples lately.