May 18, 2022

Stephe Curry and Iron Man.

Getty Images

Disney-owned ESPN announced Friday that it would air the game Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans during a Marvel show entitled “Arena of Heroes” on May 3rd.

The game’s traditional broadcast will be broadcast on ESPN and the Marvel game will be available on the network’s ESPN2 channel and the network’s ESPN + streaming service. Characters such as Black Panther, Iron Man, and Capital Marvel will be included. The broadcasters will be calling the game in a Marvel studio.

It might help attract viewers. NBA games on ESPN averaged around 1.2 million viewers this season, a 15% decrease from 2020. The national ABC games on Saturday reached an average of 2.3 million viewers, a decrease of 2% compared to the previous year.

“We look forward to fans seeing this unique, innovative presentation that brings together Marvel’s and ESPN’s exceptional storytelling and producing,” said Matt Kenny, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions.

This is how the Marvel connection works according to ESPN:

“Recognizing the superior physical skills, agility and tenacity of the greatest athletes on earth, the Avengers will host a series of competitions where winners will have the right to train and fight alongside them as Marvel’s champions! The Avengers will be their recruitment Start with the NBA elite and watch the warriors and pelicans battle, focusing on three star players from each team. “

These players include Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins for the Warriors, as well as the pelicans Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. An alternate player will be selected if either of them cannot compete.

The NBA stars receive “Marvel Hero” points for each point, rebound, assist, steal and block. But they lose hero points for every missed field goal, free throw or turnover.

“”[The] The TV show will be the first of its kind to bring Marvel’s storytelling directly into the real-time experience of an NBA game, “said Mike Pasciullo, President of Marketing, Marvel Entertainment.

ViacomCBS property Nickelodeon aired a similar program of its kids game that aired during the National Football League season. Nickelodeon broadcast the postseason competition between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears on January 10th, which attracted 2 million viewers. It was the network’s most viewed program among total viewers for nearly four years.

Zion Williamson # 1 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives to the basket during their game against the Golden State Warriors on February 23, 2020 at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California.

Noah Graham | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Research firm Morning Consult found that more than 70% of parents asked about the children’s NFL game said they would watch a similar game with their children.

“It did very well with these alpha parents,” said Alex Silverman, who analyzes exercise studies for Morning Consult.

ESPN has experimented with themed television shows in the past. The network hosted a teenage Little League Baseball-themed game with teenage reporters and commentators in 2019. ESPN also hosted a 2019 NBA final game for Generation Z with concepts from the classic video game NBA Jam.