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A ManningCast for the NBA? They’re Working On It.

Steve Anderson

Recently, we asked the question “What will save the Regional Sports Network?” We had a few possibilities to consider, including everything from ramping up what sports were aired therein to a greater focus on regional action. Perhaps the best concept came from the definition of “network,” and that seems to be the tack that the NBA is looking to try.

The NBA has seen how well the ManningCast—featuring football brothers Peyton and Eli—has done for the NFL, and is looking to build its own version of the popular telecast. The NBA’s version calls for Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson to run their own series coming up. It’s set to connect to NBA League Pass, which is the NBA’s subscription service for access to the latest games, both live and on-demand.

Crawford and Richardson’s commentary is expected to start today, and will run weekly for the next ten weeks.

This isn’t the NBA’s only attempt, though; reports note that the NBA is currently in talks with both Turner Sports and ESPN to establish more, similar telecast operations. The NBA wants to try and capture more of the market that might be missing games on either TNT or ESPN. However, there are other possibilities, including attempting to reach the youth market or adding new options for sports bettors.

Certainly, the NBA has plenty of options here. The interesting thing is that these are the same options the NFL has, that Major League Baseball has, that the National Hockey League has, and so on. If all of them start producing their own telecasts, then it’s entirely possible that the Regional Sports Network may have all the fodder it needs, and then some. This is especially true if the various leagues start branching out into demographic subsets, like pursuing the youth market. The connection to sports betting can hardly go amiss, either; we’ve already seen some of this in progress already with “Win Terry Bradshaw’s Money,” a big part of FOX Bet’s programming. Moreover, the sports betting market is projected to clear $6 billion a year in the next two years. That number will spike even further if all 50 states get in on the action.

And to think it all might start just from a couple of new telecasts. The various sports leagues have great programs to air with their games. But the games only run a few hours a night. What will they do with all the other hours in the day? Programs like the ManningCast might be exactly what all the leagues need to expand their reach, and just what the RSNs need to keep people’s interest when a game isn’t on.

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