If you’re struggling to watch your favorite NBA team on your favorite streaming service, you are not alone.
That’s because the majority of TV streaming services again will not be carrying regional sports networks, specifically Bally Sports, formerly known as the Fox Sports regional networks.
Popular streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV and SlingTV will not be carrying Bally Sports for the second consecutive NBA season. That leaves DirecTV Stream, formerly AT&T NOW, as the only place to watch your favorite team’s local broadcast.
Other than that, you will need to hope your team shows up on ESPN, ABC, TNT or NBA TV — as the national networks that carry NBA games are generally available on all streaming services.
And even if you do have DirecTV Stream, you have to opt in to the Choice package to get Bally Sports added to the service.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently recognized that the lack of local availability of games in many markets will only hurt the product.
“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,” Silver said.
“And the numbers are particularly dramatic for our younger fans, who generally either are not subscribing to cable or satellite, or to the extent they are, are largely using it to watch other platforms. Using it as a broadband provider.”
Worse, recent talk suggests that Bally Sports is struggling and may not even be around much longer.
“You know, it’s a really tough period right now because this industry is going through a transition,” Silver said. “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.”
Nowhere is the situation worse than in Denver, where Nuggets games aren’t even available on Comcast, the city’s largest cable provider. You either have to watch the Nuggets on the DISH network, or not at all.
“I think that in some ways, Denver has been the canary in the mine,” Silver said, “because you’re seeing now that this issue is popping up in other markets in the country. Maybe not in such an extreme way, but you have other teams that are still continuing to be distributed through traditional means.
“But large segments of their fans aren’t able to get the games. Coming up with that in-market solution is at the top of our agenda right now.”