New York may still be some distance away from introducing real-money online sports betting. Until that day arrives, NY sports fans will have another way to make sports picks while trying to win money.
That’s because MSG Networks will soon launch a free-to-play app, MSG Networks Pick ‘Em. The app will enable users to make predictions and win cash as they watch New York teams compete on MSG.
As detailed in MSG’s announcement, the app is expected to go live in March. Versions will be available for both Apple (iOS) and Android devices. MSG is partnering with the sports-gaming technology provider Boom Sports, which will power the app. It’s the next best thing to legal NBA betting in NY.
Increasing viewer engagement with live sports broadcasts
Users will be able to make picks on the app while watching games on the MSG television network. The New York-based regional cable and satellite network broadcasts live games for the NBA’s New York Knicks and four NHL teams, including the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres.
In the announcement, Peter Tullouch, senior vice president of digital products and distribution for MSG Networks, noted how the company hopes the app will “further deepen our connection with viewers” by providing them with a “fun and, potentially, rewarding way to enjoy MSG Networks’ live coverage.”
Greg Viverito, vice president of partnerships at Boom Sports, emphasized the local connection while similarly expressing enthusiasm about the app.
“We’re also a New York City-based company. We embraced the opportunity to create a product that adds to the fun of being a fan of New York sports teams.”
Users of the MSG GO streaming app, first launched in 2018, have already been able to play trivia and pick’em games.
MSG Networks Pick ‘Em builds on a similar idea. Users will answer a series of questions about upcoming contests. Those who provide the most correct answers will win cash prizes. For the NHL broadcasts, the game will feature progressive jackpots, which could potentially create some large payouts.
MSG joins a burgeoning market of predictive free-to-play apps
MSG describes the app as the first of its kind for a regional sports network. That said, many sports fans are already likely familiar with the concept thanks to national free-to-play apps such as FOX Bet Super 6 and NBC Sports Predictor.
Professional sports franchises have gotten in on the free-to-play predictive games as well. The NFL’s Los Angeles Rams introduced the Rams Pick ‘Em app prior to the 2019 season. Other NFL teams with similar apps include the Minnesota Vikings with their Pass or Play app and the Houston Texans with Texans Pick ‘Em.
In the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the most recent to do so, launching their GameDay+ game in the Cavs App.
These games are generally available throughout the US. As such, sports fans located in states without legal sports betting have a chance to participate.
Often, the contests involve answering a series of prop bet-style questions about a game. Such questions might ask how many passing yards a quarterback will accumulate, how many total points will be scored, and the like. They can also include picking the game outcome or range of outcomes against a point spread.
With no cost to play, the contests do not run afoul of some states’ legal prohibitions against sports betting.