Warner Bros. Discovery Sports continues to build crypto-related offerings, and it’s incorporating one of its biggest brands for its next experiment. Starting Thursday, fans of TNT’s Inside the NBA will be able to answer trivia questions online and on Discord for tokens that in turn can be spent on prizes, both digital and real-world.
The program is dubbed B/R Watch to Earn (or W2E) in a nod to previous crypto trends like “play to earn games” that rewarded users with digital tokens as they progressed through various blockchain-based, well, games. But this project is more focused on engaging NBA fans rather than wooing crypto natives.
“I’m always kind of thinking of ways for our show to break the fourth wall,” NBA on TNT Tuesday host Adam Lefkoe said. “How do we speak with our audience and not to our audience?”
On-screen pop-ups during the show will guide viewers to the contests online and to a new Discord server Bleacher Report is launching. Questions could pertain to recent NBA action or Inside the NBA history. Right now, prizes on B/R’s rewards marketplace will include NFT clips as well as merchandise, and in the future, offerings could include access to TNT talent and events. The tokens can be traded themselves, though the company is not trying to promote them as a full blown cryptocurrency.
Yang Adija, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports’s SVP for Digital League Business Operations and Growth & Innovation, said conversations about the program started towards the end of last season, with Lefkoe being involved from early on. Immutable X, WBD Sports’ blockchain technology partner, provided back-end support for the project.
The network will also use its Discord server as an additional audience touchpoint, with plans to host interactive opportunities.
“How do we get some preferential treatment to a viewer that’s been with us for years and doesn’t miss a show?” Lefkoe said. “That’s that tech part that I think gets me excited.”
NFT interest collapsed over the second half of last year, though the industry has seen some signs of life more recently.
“It’s helped us in a way,” Adija said of the downturn. “We no longer have sort of that pressure of ‘the next you do needs to be a million dollars in value.’ It allows us to then focus on the actual utility of why a fan would want to engage with our properties.”