NBC Sports Washington is giving Wizards fans a sports betting focused second screen on Friday night. The network will air its traditional coverage of the Wizards and the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s alternate channel, NBC Sports Washington Plus will air a version that offers real time gambling information and a Predict the Game contest, that could pay viewers up to $500.
The “Predict the Game” contest, which was first reported by Sports Business Journal, will feature approximately 30 questions — such as, “Will Trevor Ariza score 10-plus points in the first half?” or “Will the Wizards score at least 20 points in the second quarter?” — that appear on the screen throughout the game. Fans will be invited to submit their predictions on NBC Sports Washington’s site. The winner, or winners, based on the number of correct answers, will be announced during the network’s postgame coverage.Scott Allen and Ben Strauss, The Washington Post
Zach Leonsis, Monumental Sports and Entertainment’s senior VP of strategic initiatives, says that the contest itself isn’t exactly gambling, but it is a first step in that direction. “It’s really meant to drive fan engagement, see how people react to it, and I think it’s a great first step toward a much larger and really exciting rollout of sports betting in the DMV.”
Damon Phillips, NBC Sports Washington’s general manager, said that the broadcast isn’t meant for big money gamblers. It is more of a chance for casual players to be introduced to sports betting.
Eight Wizards gams are scheduled to receive the sports gambling second screen treatment this season. Leonsis says that he could foresee this being something done for every Wizards and Capitals game in the future, but only as a second screen option. There are no plans to change the teams’ traditional broadcasts.