Alternate broadcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years as broadcast networks have come to realize that they can reach more fans by presenting various viewpoints of big games. ESPN has seen success with their College Football Megacast for the national championship game, and brought that to the NFL this past season to great fanfare with the Manningcast that was an undeniable success for Monday Night Football.
The Manningcast in particular has seemingly led many to consider what kinds of opportunities exist for that kind of casual broadcast experience in other sports — with ESPN tabbing the Mannings to help them find talent to run similar alt broadcasts on their other sports. For the NBA, Charles Barkley is undoubtedly the name that most point to as the person they would be most interested in a Manningcast type role, and it seems TNT is ready to give that a try at the NBA All-Star Game by having Barkley and their Inside the NBA crew doing an alternate broadcast of Sunday night’s game in Cleveland on TBS.
This year’s All-Star experience will also include “Inside the All-Star Game,” innovative all-access coverage on TBS, including the Sports Emmy Award-winning studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith, as they engage and entertain fans throughout the evening. They will be joined by current NBA All-Star Draymond Green and other All-Stars throughout the telecast.
TBS’ all-access NBA All-Star Game presentation will also include NBA All-Stars Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell, and Ja Morant among the players, both coaches and referee crew chief wearing mics throughout the entire game, allowing an opportunity to listen in live at any moment during the telecast. Coverage will also include locker room access and other behind-the-scenes capabilities, bringing fans closer to the game than ever before.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how this works out, but it’s hard to imagine it not being highly entertaining, particularly given the laid back nature of the game allows them to talk to guys from the bench who are actually participating in the event. Adding the mic’d up elements will also offer them other ways to bring a unique sound to the game, and it figures to be a fun time (and a nice trial run to see if this may be a format to consider for big playoff games on TNT in the future).