ESPN will air a very special event on Monday, May 3, when the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans clash at the Smoothie King Center. They will team up with Disney to bring the public a Marvel-themed game that will feature three players from the Dubs and three from the Pels.
Superheroes and superstars will meet to try to beat an enemy and win a big battle that won't take place only on the court. The multimedia company has seen its ratings drop in the past couple of seasons and this broadcast will try to change things for them.
Disney-owned ESPN announced Friday it will broadcast the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans game during a Marvel-themed telecast entitled “Arena of Heroes” on May 3.
The game’s traditional broadcast will air on ESPN, and the Marvel game will be available on the network’s ESPN2 channel and streaming service ESPN+. Characters including Black Panther, Iron Man and Capital Marvel will be incorporated. Broadcasters will call the game in a Marvel-themed studio.
It might help attract viewers. NBA games on ESPN are averaging roughly 1.2 million viewers this season, down 15% compared with 2020, the network said. Its Saturday national games on ABC are averaging 2.3 million viewers, down 2% year over year.
“We’re eager for fans to experience this unique, innovative presentation that will pair Marvel and ESPN’s exceptional storytelling and production,” said Matt Kenny, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions.
“Recognizing the superior physical abilities, agility, and tenacity of Earth’s greatest athletes, the Avengers will hold a series of contests where the winners earn the right to train and fight alongside them as Marvel’s Champions! The Avengers will begin their recruitment with the NBA elite and observe the battle between the Warriors and the Pelicans, focusing on three star players from each team.”
As stated before, three players from each team will compete in these contests and the three biggest figures on every team will go at it to trying to reach their goal.
Those players include Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins on the Warriors, and the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. An alternate player will be selected if any of them aren’t able to participate.
The NBA stars earn “Marvel Hero” points for every point, rebound, assist, steal and block. But they lose hero points for every missed field goal, free throw or turnover.
″[The] telecast will be the first of its kind to bring Marvel’s storytelling directly to the real-time experience of a NBA game,” said Mike Pasciullo, Marvel Entertainment president of marketing.
This is a very interesting idea and it's something that has been done before. Back in January, Nickelodeon and the NFL teamed up to broadcast a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears in the first round of the postseason. ESPN has the huge advantage of being a company owned by Disney, which also owns Marvel.
This will be the clash of two big worlds and fans know it can be really good or really bad but they will be ready to watch everything. For the better or worse, this will be a big event that Marvel and NBA fans won't like to miss.