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Wiz Khalifa, Wale perform concerts at ESPN 'SportsCenter' studio

Wiz Khalifa takes the stage at the Nikon

Wiz Khalifa takes the stage at the Nikon Theater at Jones Beach in Wantagh, June 24, 2015. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Many viewers tuning in early to NBA draft coverage Thursday were a tad confused to see Wiz Khalifa in the middle of giving a concert in ESPN's "SportsCenter" studio in Bristol, Connecticut.

On Friday night, Wale is scheduled to turn up with a performance of his own on the show's Los Angeles set.

Um, why?

It was the first two episodes of the Worldwide Leader's "Center Stage" music series, one the network promises will include non-hip hop music genres as well.

"Sports and music have always had a cool connection, and we hope 'Center Stage' will further that relationship in a way that will resonate with our fans," ESPN senior VP Rob King said.

Spotify sponsored the mini-concerts, which featured acts with more than 25 million Twitter followers combined.

Strange as this is, it's mostly harmless, and sports media entities are allowed more latitude for time-filling oddities during the summer.

That being said, it does illustrate a gradual, years-long trend on "SportsCenter" away from news and highlights and toward, well, other stuff.

What's next, a Cirque du Soleil "SportsCenter halftime show?" Oh, wait . . . that actually happened in February.

New York Sports