NBA To Do Away With Bally Sports And Other Regional Broadcasts Of Playoff Games?

The NBA wants fans to be able to consume its product. Sometimes, when Bally Sports and other regional networks carry its playoff games, that’s not always possible for fans of the home team.Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves, Bally Sports, NBA

So perhaps the NBA is on the verge of potentially keeping regional sports networks for carrying playoff games altogether. Cavaliers fans, for instance, would welcome the change, as they have been among the loudest when two of their playoff games against the Orlando Magic were blacked out locally.

Those games were carried only by Bally Sports Cleveland and NBA TV. Had either been on ESPN or TNT, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Fans could’ve just watched on those networks.

Bally often carries games that are also not exclusive to the national outlets, but for multiple reasons, it appears that could change during the next broadcast deal, per John Ourand of Puck.

“One unanswered question is whether the NBA will continue to allow regional sports networks to carry first-round playoff games alongside the national broadcasters,” Ourand wrote. “If the NBA granted first-round playoff exclusivity to the national TV networks, those rights would become far more valuable to the league… even if it meant less local media revenue for the teams.”

In other words, the league is way more in tune with what the major outlets are willing to fork over for national media rights — both TV broadcast and streaming — than what the local networks do. That is likely especially true given all the financial issues suffered by Diamond Sports over the past two or three years. Diamond is the parent company of Bally Sports.

So while the playoffs are what has NBA fans talking, how those playoffs — and future regular-season games — are delivered to fans appears to be of equal importance to the league itself.

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