ESPN’s kicking it old school for Wednesday’s Knicks and Nets contest as a way to honor the NBA’s 75th anniversary.
ESPN announced that it will offer an alternate broadcast for the NBA75 Celebration Game between the Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks on Wednesday, April 6. ESPN will honor the NBA 75th Anniversary Season by producing a compelling broadcast that mirrors the NBA television styles and presentations of decades past, including the 1960s era ABC productions, the CBS broadcasts of the ’70s and ’80s, and the iconic NBA on NBC era from the ’90s (hopefully with “Roundball Rock”), as well as a representation from the present day. The NBA75 Celebration Game broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and the traditional game broadcast will air on ESPN.
The alternate broadcast will feature custom graphics per era, harkening back to the period they’re representing. Viewers will also be treated to popular music from the decade during highlights and when the broadcast goes in and out of commercial breaks. The NBA Finals team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson will call the alternate broadcast, and will be joined by Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown throughout the broadcast. Ryan Ruocco, Cassidy Hubbarth, and Brown will handle announcing duties on the main broadcast.
Alternate broadcasts have been all the rage for ESPN lately, thanks in part to the overwhelming success of their “Monday Night Football” ManningCast. The ManningCast, hosted by former NFL QBs Peyton and Eli Manning, was so successful it had ESPN and its competitors looking for other ways to draw in viewers with non-traditional approaches to games.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that ESPN would have alternate broadcasts for UFC, golf, and college football events, and is already confirmed to have a regular alternate broadcast for their “Sunday Night Baseball” games. Last weekend’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four featured the premiere of the “Bird & Taurasi Show” featuring legendary players Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi.
“Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod” is an alternate broadcast that will pair World Series Champion and analyst Alex Rodriguez and YES Network play-by-play voice and ESPN Radio host Michael Kay. “Kay-Rod” will join forces on eight broadcasts throughout the season, coinciding with high-profile rivalry games, Yankees/Red Sox among them.
“We’re taking fans on a journey through the evolution of this vibrant, culturally impactful league while also pairing the content with the iconic performers of today. We’re excited to pay homage to the networks that paved the way for what we have been doing for the past two decades at ESPN. Regardless of age or era, if you love basketball, there is something for you in this broadcast.”