The ManningCast has been a revelation during this Monday Night Football season. While ESPN broadcasts its weekly NFL game on its main network, ESPN2 has played host to a version hosted by Peyton and Eli Manning in which the two hit the balance between having fun with guests and actually breaking down football in a way that has drawn plenty of praise.
According to a report by Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, the NBA has decided it wants to use League Pass as a way to try out something similar. The league has tabbed a pair of veteran hoopers, Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson, to do “weekly commentary for the next 10 weeks.” And apparently, this sort of concept appeals to the league’s two main broadcast partners, too.
Meanwhile, the NBA is ramping up “conversations” with national TV partners ESPN and Turner Sports about creating more alternate telecasts, sources told Front Office Sports. The goal: lure viewers who might not tune in for linear basketball telecasts on ABC/ESPN and TNT.
Now, while this concept very well could work, the ManningCast is pretty unique in that both brothers had wildly successful NFL careers, get the chance to show off their comedic chops and Xs-and-Os know-how, and are discussing a sport with natural, lengthy lulls in play where they can go in any direction they want. Crawford and Richardson certainly had good careers and are two really great personalities, but figuring out how to get this sort of broadcast to work for a game as fast-paced as basketball could be tricky.
At the very least, the League Pass version of this should be a really good test of how it’ll go, and who knows, maybe somewhere down the line, we’ll get Charles Barkley reacting live to basketball games instead of during halftime and on postgame shows.