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ESPN Plans Marvel-Inspired Alternative NBA Broadcast

ESPN Marvel's Arena of Heroes
(Image credit: ESPN)

BRISTOL, Conn.—Some of Marvel’s most popular heroes will be catching an upcoming ESPN broadcast of an NBA game as part of an alternative broadcast. This special broadcast will integrate a storyline and additional elements from Marvel into a broadcast of the May 3 game between the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans.

Dubbed “NBA Special Edition Presented by State Farm: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes,” the alternative broadcast will integrate an original Marvel story, iconic characters like Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow and more, along with 3D virtual characters, custom graphics and animation packages throughout the game.

The gist of the story is that the Avengers need some help as an imposing enemy is heading their way, and they head to the NBA to recruit a new ally. The broadcast will focus on three stars from each team—Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins on the Warriors, and Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball on the Pelicans. The players will amass “Marvel Hero” points throughout the game depending on stats, which fans can follow along with.

In addition, ESPN commentators Ryan Ruocco and Richard Jefferson will provide commentary in a customized Marvel-themed studio on ESPN’s Bristol campus. Marvel expert Angélique Roché will also be on hand to provide commentary and analysis during the broadcast.

The Marvel-themed alternative broadcast will air on ESPN 2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on May 3. The traditional broadcast of the game will be on ESPN.

“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, programming and acquisitions.

This alternative broadcast from ESPN is reminiscent of Nickelodeon’s alternative broadcast of an NFL Wild Card game in January that was geared specifically for kids. That production drew wide praise and even earned a Sports Emmy nomination.