“We wanted to figure out a way to do something different and unique for the viewers in D.C.,” Damon Phillips, NBC Sports Washington’s general manager, said of the alternate broadcast, which was first reported by Sports Business Journal. “This is all about engagement. How do you get someone to enjoy the game even more, and how do we get them to stay longer?”
NBC Sports Washington, which has produced Redskins preseason games since 2011, approached the team in the spring about ways to enhance its broadcasts going forward. The Redskins were excited about the possibility of integrating a predictive gaming element, which NBC Sports Washington introduced for eight Wizards broadcasts last season, and worked with the NFL to get the idea approved. The league, which long opposed any association with sports gambling, announced Caesars Entertainment Corporation as its first official casino sponsor this year and will have a team in Las Vegas beginning in 2020.
The “Predict the Game” contest will be available for all four Redskins preseason games on NBC Sports Washington Plus, the network’s alternate local channel. The presentation will look and sound similar to the regular broadcasts airing simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington and WRC 4, featuring Kenny Albert and Joe Theismann on the call, but with additional graphics displaying statistics, betting odds and questions throughout the game. Fans will be prompted to create an account and submit their answers to these questions, most of which will be multiple choice, on NBC Sports Washington’s site. The winner or winners, based on the number of correct answers, will be announced at the end of each quarter.
“We’re thrilled to partner with NBC Sports Washington to bring the first predictive, free-to-play live game telecast to the NFL,” Redskins Senior Vice President Scott Shepherd said in a statement. “This partnership strategically aligns with our organization’s commitment to constant innovation for our fans."
Phillips said the Wizards’ predictive gaming alternate broadcasts were “a huge success,” leading to greater engagement across the network’s digital properties, and will return this season. Unlike the Wizards’ “Predict the Game” contest, which included roughly 30 questions and a single cash prize at the end of each game, the contest for Redskins games will feature more questions and a winner every quarter.
“We realized that viewers want instant gratification, and they also want a lower barrier to entry,” Phillips said. “There’s going to be a higher frequency of questions and we’re introducing a leader board on the screen and on the website, so fans know where they stand at all times.”
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