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Streaming Services Still At Odds With Bally Sports, Leaving NBA Fans With Few TV Options

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For a second straight season, the NBA has made viewing its games about as easy as finding a Celtics broadcast in China. Numerous streaming services have not been able to agree on a contract with Bally Sports, forcing NBA fans to rely on national broadcasts, which rarely feature small market teams.

That means that a large share of Cleveland, Orlando, Oklahoma City and Sacramento fans will go the entire NBA season without watching their favorite team play, unless they advance to the postseason.

An ever-growing number of Americans have cut the cord and partnered with streaming services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, SlingTV and fuboTV, rather than pay the high costs associated with traditional cable. The problem for cord-cutting NBA fans is that Bally Sports, the regional broadcast provider for 16 NBA teams, is not offered on any of the above-listed streaming services. Bally Sports streams only through DirecTV Stream via a paid add-on.

And, those trying to zig when Bally zags by way of the NBA’s League Pass are out of luck. The NBA’s local blackout rules prevent fans from watching in-market games via League Pass.

The NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver, recognizes that Bally’s limited availability is an issue. “We’re very focused on reshaping the model in terms of the way our games are distributed now so that even if games are on cable or satellite in a local market, that fans who don’t choose to subscribe to a larger bundle aren’t disenfranchised from the league,” said Silver, per the Charlotte Observer.

Silver continued, “There’s no question about it. I think that we have to be mindful of not taking our fans for granted, and that at some point if our product becomes unavailable to them, they’re going to look for alternative ways to entertain themselves.”

Between controversies surrounding Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Enes Kanter and the Bally Sports news, #ThisLeague is off to an undesirable start to the season.

 

Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF

Written by Anthony Farris

Anthony is a former high school basketball intramural champion who played a leading role in creating two offspring. He spends his weekends hoping for an MTV Rock N' Jock revival.

Follow him on twitter @OhioAF

8 Comments

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  1. Fans shouldn’t need to purchase expensive TV bundles and sit through hours of commercials. It’s only because of the NBA’s greed that this an actual problem.

    With a 50/50 revenue split, the NBA’s $2.6B in TV revenue from 2019 amounts to roughly $2.8M per player. Given that the average NBA salary is $8.3M, the NBA could afford massive cuts in their television revenue and their players would still be multimillionaires.

  2. Yeah, not just a problem with the NBA and Bally Sports. I’m not a huge Washington sports fan, but until some number of months ago, I at least had access to NBCSports Washington, which is the broadcast partner for the Caps, and that was my go to when there weren’t any other good sports on.

  3. They are only noticing this now? I had to switch to DIrectTv Stream at the start of baseball because the Angels, Ducks, Kings, and Clippers are all on Bally Sports. I preferred Hulu + Live TV, but they lost the games, so I had to switch. I was really surprised Bally is not on Dish either. I can cast though when at family’s place.

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