The NBA on Thursday announced the launch of NBA Bet, a multimedia content initiative including a betting-centric show that will debut Friday on NBA TV.
"NBABet presented by BetMGM" will air weekly on the league's network and feature betting analysis as well updating odds from BetMGM's data feed.
In addition to the show, a new section for betting content will be added to NBA.com and the league's app. League media partners including Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports and Action Network will contribute personalities and content to NBA Bet. For example, Action Network, a sports betting-focused media outlet, will operate a new Twitter feed @NBABet, according to Thursday's announcement.
It's the NBA's latest move in the growing U.S. betting market and continues the trend of point spreads, odds and picks being integrated into the American sports landscape.
"We've said consistently that sports betting should be an opt-in experience," NBA senior vice president Scott Kaufman-Ross told ESPN. "The creation of the NBA Bet platform gives us the ability to serve the fan in this way. By creating NBA Bet, we're able to create an environment where we can serve betting content to the fans that want it, while not pushing it on the fans that aren't interested."
A 2018 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court opened a path for all states to get into the legal bookmaking business. Since the ruling, legal sportsbooks have launched in 21 states and the District of Columbia, and several more jurisdictions have passed legislation and are preparing to launch sports betting markets.
The NBA has been among the most aggressive leagues in the sports betting space. Over the past two seasons, the league has offered alternate, betting-focused streams of games. The league is now prepping to allow analysts to make betting picks on NBA games on its network and media platforms.
Kaufman-Ross acknowledged that sports leagues are in a "unique position in the [betting] ecosystem" and that the NBA was attempting to navigate any perceived conflicts of interest. No active players or coaches will be used with NBA Bet content, and the league will rely on its media partners to make picks on games, Kaufman-Ross said.
"We have regular dialogue with the [sportsbook] operators about what we feel is appropriate," Kaufman-Ross, who heads the league's fantasy and gaming initiatives, said. "Our partners have been great in respecting our wishes about the pace in which we think things should roll out. We're still being cognizant that we don't want to oversaturate our telecasts with sports betting advertising. We want to be cognizant about problem gaming and making sure we're educating our fans and being responsible with the way we roll this out."
"NBABet," which will be based out of WarnerMedia Studios in Atlanta, will debut at 6:30 p.m. ET, Friday on NBA TV, ahead of the playoffs, which tip off this weekend.