Even in the middle of a tight playoff battle, the Los Angeles Clippers understand how to embrace the fun and cater to their audience. Over the last few years, the franchise has stood at the forefront of the NBA’s movement toward embracing new technologies, as well as creating avenues for new fans – of all ages – to learn more about the league.
They are taking another huge step in the most competitive time of the year.
During Game 5 of their opening round playoff series versus the Dallas Mavericks, the Clippers will host the first-ever augmented broadcast of a live sporting event on a regional platform.
“Clippers Kids Cast” will provide fans with a unique viewing experience along with special guests, lively visual animations, and engaging commentary you won’t find anywhere else.
“Kids Cast” will air on Wednesday, June 2, at 7 p.m. Pacific on Bally Sports West and run simultaneously with the original game broadcast that airs on Bally Sports SoCal. It will also be available on the Bally Sports App.
Those familiar with the award-winning Clippers CourtVision platform, a viewing experience integrating real-time graphics and statistical player tracking, will have an idea of what to expect.
Powered by Second Spectrum, CourtVision has brought a more interactive feel to all Clippers games through the use of artificial intelligence, graphic overlays for each player, and even a “Mascot Mode” for a more enchanting way of viewing an otherwise intense game.
Courtesy of the Clippers, this preview of Wednesday’s “Kids Cast” event offers a sneak peek of how the broadcast will look and sound:
“Second Spectrum’s technology has already changed the way Clippers fans interact with our games through personalized viewing experiences that target different fan interests, but with only limited availability, until now,” said Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker in a press release.
Every component of this special broadcast will be geared toward the younger generation of basketball fans. From the animations to the in-game commentary, the overarching theme will be tailored to the youth.
“Clippers Kids Cast powered by Bally Sports broadens the reach of the customized live game experience by taking a regional sports network broadcast to the next level with real-time augmentations, plus the game story told by the best young voices out there,” Zucker added. “This is the future of broadcasting, and we’re excited that our partners at Bally Sports and Second Spectrum are as excited about it as we are.”
Hosting the special event will be Clippers’ radio voice Noah Eagle, former player and current Bally Sports analysts Corey Maggette, and 10-year-old sports journalist Pepper Persley.
That’s right – Persley, who has been covering basketball and interviewing high-profile athletes since she was six years old, will be in the booth living out her dream. Joining the team in Los Angeles, she will provide commentary while also being the crew’s “sideline reporter.”
Eagle, currently in his second season as the Clippers’ radio play-by-play voice for AM 570 L.A. Sports, is excited for another opportunity to entertain. Recently, he was one of the leading broadcasters of the NFL on Nickelodeon telecast. During a playoff game between the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, the NFL joined forces with Nickelodeon to bring a new element of production that had never truly existed before in football. Over 2 million viewers tuned in to see how much different of an experience sports could be when you combine the most physical and competitive game with something as cool as SpongeBob SquarePants and green slime.
While it was also tailored to a younger demographic and was very well-received by kids who are trying to learn more about football, Eagle believes it left an impact on viewers of all ages.
“I got texts from people who had never seen a game before, and it was easy to digest because of the way it was presented,” he said. “That’s really the hope here. It’s going to be easy to digest and it’s going to be bring back and unlock memories that people didn’t even realize they had.”
By meshing the entertainment factor supplied by the fun graphics and energetic personalities with the educational content the hosts will provide, “Clippers Kids Cast” will look to have a little something for everyone. Come for the lightning bolts and team logos that punctuate big plays, stay for the interesting facts about players and nuggets of information the commentary crew will provide.
“The goal for this broadcast is to just captivate kids, garner a new audience of basketball fans – maybe Clippers fans – and really have fun more than anything else,” Eagle said.
As for Persley, this will just be another stop on her journey through the sports media sphere. Already creating WNBA content on a consistent basis and hosting her own talk show, Dishing With Pepper, she is more than just a rising star. She has already arrived on the scene and continues to build the strongest résumé among anyone her age.
Currently working for The Next, Persley hosts a bi-weekly women’s basketball podcast, “She Got Next with Pepper Persley.” She has interviewed a wide range of inspiring athletes and sports figures, including Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stewart, Sarah Kustok, Renee Montgomery, and even Kyrie Irving, who now plays for the team she grew up rooting for.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Persley has enjoyed a lot of Nets basketball in her time around the game. Eagle found himself in the same boat. With his father, Ian Eagle, serving as the lead Nets announcer on the YES Network, Noah was always around the organization before jumpstarting his own career in sports broadcasting.
Now calling games for the Clippers, he can relate to Persley’s interest in providing coverage for the teams who are trying to win their first-ever championship.
“I think the two of us had an affinity for the Clippers, just because of the similarities between the two franchises,” Eagle said. “She’s already excited about doing stuff with the Clippers. She really loves this underdog mentality and the fact that there are two teams in (L.A. and New York) and both are looking to break out and show, ‘Hey we’re for real’. And this could be the year for each of them.”
Persley’s level of success and commitment to her craft at such a young age can also help inspire Wednesday’s audience to pursue what they are passionate about.
“She’s so far ahead,” Eagle said. “She’s already been getting content out – not just this year. This has been going on for a while now. She realized early, ‘I have a passion for this, and I want to attack it.’ And she’s gone at it the right way, where she’s not afraid to reach out to people and ask for advice. She’s certainly not afraid to just go and talk to anyone she can.”
Tune into the broadcast on Wednesday for Game 5 of the Clippers’ first-round matchup to hear Persley’s perspective of the team. For all ages, “Kids Cast” will be the ultimate combination of entertainment value and insightful analysis.