A Cord Cutter’s Guide for the 2022–2023 NBA Season

October 24, 2022

This week I’m following up with notes on how all you cord cutters (or if you’re considering it) can catch all the NBA action without the cost of cable. It’s the third, specifically covering the major fall sports, outlining details for over-the-air and streaming services to watch your favorite fall pro teams and sports. Check these links for more details on the NFL and NHL to review how to catch those games. If you’re undecided about cutting the cord, you can catch up with one of my previous posts and see if it’s the right choice for you. Check out ‘Is it time to Cut the Cord?

Before I move on to the details on watching your favorite NBA team, I’ll cover a little on the valuations of the franchises and how media rights deals have increased their value (especially in these tough economic times). For the first time, there are three NBA franchises worth more than $5 billion: the New York Knicks ($5.8 billion), the Golden State Warriors ($5.6 billion) and the Los Angeles Lakers ($5.5 billion). These three teams play in the league’s biggest markets and under normal circumstances generate the most revenue because of their lucrative local television deals and arenas that generate a lot of cash from luxury seating and advertising. The average value of an NBA franchise has risen 13%, to $2.48 billion, since a year ago.

The teams and values of the rest of the top ten round out like this:

4. Chicago Bulls ($3.65 billion)

5. Boston Celtics ($3.55 billion)

6. Los Angeles Clippers ($3.3 billion)

7. Brooklyn Nets ($3.2 billion)

8. Houston Rockets ($2.75 billion)

9. Dallas Mavericks ($2.7 billion)

10. Toronto Raptors ($2.475 billion)

As many of us can’t make it to live games you can still catch all the NBA action even if you don’t want or have a cable subscription. Just like in the past, big matchups will be broadcast nationally on ABC, ESPN/ESPN2, Turner Sports (TNT), and NBA TV. And you can get most, if not all, of these covered with a single live TV streaming package.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the regional sports networks (RSNs) that air the bulk of the teams’ games. Fox Sports, NBC Sports, YES Network, Marquee Sports Network, and other RSNs have been dropped from YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and FuboTV over carriage-fee disputes. If you’re mainly interested in following your local team through the season, your best bet is to determine which streaming service has an agreement with your team’s regional network and go with that one. Chances are it will also stream some or all the cable networks mentioned above. A few teams can still be found on over-the-air channels — the Chicago Bulls on WGNas an example — but those are live action sources are dwindling.

Over the air

The good news is you can access ABC for free if you have an over-the-air TV antenna and are within the radius of your local ABC affiliate’s broadcast tower. The bad news is the network is scheduled to air only 18 of this year’s nationally televised games. These, however, include some of the league’s marquee matchups, including three Christmas Day games: Lakers vs. Mavericks, Bucks vs. Celtics, and Grizzlies vs. Warriors. You can get more insight on the best choices for over-the-air TV antennas at ‘Cutting the Cord Part 2 — TV Antennas.

You can watch the remaining games with some combination of the following services:

Sling TV

The easiest way to catch many of the cable telecasts is with the Sling TV streaming service, but you’ll need to pony up for a monthly subscription. For $35 per month (currently half off for the first month), Sling’s Orange package will get you ESPN/ESPN 2 and TNT. You can also get NBA TV with the Sports Extra add-on for an additional $11. With a TV antenna to catch the ABC broadcasts, you’ll have everything covered.

Sling TV typically includes device discounts with prepaid commitments. Currently, you can get an HD antenna a free AirTV Mini when you subscribe and prepay for two months of Sling TV. Prepay for three months, or you can get an AirTV 2 and HD antenna bundle or an AirTV Anywhere and HD antenna.

DirectTV Stream

You can also get ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and NBA TV with DirectTV Stream. All you need is the basic Entertainment package for $90 per month. You might also be able to get your local team’s games, as DirectTV Stream is the only service to offer a full complement of regional sports networks, including the NBC Sports regional networks, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, New England Sports Network, YES Network, and Spectrum SportsNet LA. To find out what’s available in your area, enter your ZIP code into the DirectTV Stream channel lookup. Note that you’ll still need an antenna to watch games on ABC.

Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV

Both Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV give you access to ABC, ESPN/ESPN2, and TNT, for a flat fee of $70 a month and $65 a month, respectively. But only YouTube TV offers NBA TV, giving it the edge for basketball fans. With just the one channel package, however, you don’t get the customizability of Sling TV or DirecTV Stream, so keep that in mind if you plan to use your subscription beyond basketball season.

FuboTV

FuboTV offers ABC and ESPN in its $70-per-month Pro package, but none of its packages include TNT. This package also includes regional networks NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California, which is great news if you’re a fan of the Kings, Warriors, Lakers or Clippers. You can add NBA TV by purchasing the Sports Lite add-on for $11 a month. Fubo has lots of appeal to sports fans, and it includes NBA TV. But your subscription won’t give you access to ABC, TNT, or ESPN.

NBA League Pass

If you want to catch every NBA game, you should consider a subscription to NBA League Pass, the league’s official streaming service. For $100 a year or $15 per month, you can watch every live out-of-market game that isn’t being broadcast nationally.

A League Pass subscription allows you to watch every feed (home, away, mobile view, plus additional languages and camera angles) of a game on your TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone. Games originally broadcast on ESPN, TNT, and ABC are available three hours after completion in the video archives. You also get anytime access to a curated selection of “classic” games.

For $130 a year or $20 per month, you can upgrade to NBA League Pass Premium, which enables you to stream a game on two devices at once and watch all games commercial free.

With an NBA League Pass subscription, you can stream live out-of-market games to your TV, computer, or mobile device.

NBA Team Pass

NBA Team Pass is a less-expensive alternative if you only want to follow your favorite team. For $90 a year, you get access to all your squad’s local broadcasts for both home and away games.

The drawback is that NBA blackout rules still apply. If you live in your team’s “home” market you still won’t be able to watch their games even with a Team Pass subscription (this goes for League Pass as well). Your team’s home market, however, isn’t necessarily defined by your town’s city limits.

In the NBA’s own words, the league determines blackout zones “using zip code (if watching via a satellite television provider), a combination of zip code and cable system distribution territory (if watching via a cable television provider), or by the IP address associated with your internet connection or your mobile device’s GPS coordinates.”

That means this isn’t a cord-cutting option for everyone. You can see which teams are not available in your area in the blackout section on this page when you choose your subscription.

NBA streaming is still a mixed bag for cord-cutters

The availability of national broadcasts through streaming services gives you a courtside seat for some of the biggest matchups of the season. But local fanbases who want to follow their team continue to be out of luck, for the most part, until streaming options for regional sports networks become more widely available.

Hopefully this has given all you NBA fans out there some (new) options to catch all the games you’re interested in. I’m curious if you’re already taking advantage of some of these ways to access the games. Have you found new ones after reading this? Are you using other ways to access NBA games I didn’t mention?

Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails as we really enjoy hearing from you. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’ Until next week …

SmartHomeOnTheRange.com

SmartHomeOnTheRange.com

In full disclosure, I’m not an affiliate marketer with links to any online retailer on my website. When people read what I’ve written about a particular product and then click on those links and buy something from the retailer, I earn nothing from the retailer. The links are strictly a convenience for my readers.

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Tod Caflisch

Smart Home technology visionary with passion for out of the box solutions for home technology integrations, focusing on efficiency, safety and sustainability.