The Avengers are headed to the NBA.
ESPN will run an alternate broadcast of the Golden State Warriors-New Orleans Pelicans game next month that is completely Marvel-themed, the two brands announced on Friday.
The game, slated for May 3, will air on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ while the regular stream runs on ESPN.
“We’re eager for fans to experience this unique, innovative presentation that will pair Marvel and ESPN’s exceptional storytelling and production,” ESPN vice president Matt Kenny said in a statement. “We are proud to showcase the ‘larger than life’ abilities of these NBA stars in a manner in which only Disney and Marvel can deliver.”
ESPN’s Ryan Ruocco and Richard Jefferson will call the game from a custom Marvel studio remotely from the network’s Connecticut campus alongside Marvel expert Angelique Roche. Players will earn “Marvel Hero points” throughout the game, too — one point will be awarded for every point, rebound, assist, steal and block while a point will be lost for every missed shot, free throw and turnover.
The broadcast is expected to feature Marvel stars like Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow and Doctor Strange.
The idea behind the alternate broadcast is similar to what Viacom and the NFL did earlier this year during the New Orleans Saints-Chicago Bears wild-card matchup. The league provided an alternate Nickelodeon-themed stream complete with slime, “Spongebob Sportspants” and more. The NFL brought it back briefly during the Super Bowl halftime recap, too.
“Marvel and ESPN have brought the worlds of sports and Super Heroes together for years through comics, documentaries, and other stories celebrating athletes and their extraordinary abilities,” Marvel Entertainment vice president Mike Pasciullo said in a statement. “The new ‘Marvel’s Arena of Heroes’ telecast will be the first of its kind to bring Marvel’s storytelling directly to the real-time experience of a NBA game, and we are excited for fans to be able to watch their favorite players through the lens of Marvel’s mightiest heroes.”
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