How to Get the NBA on TV
The 2020–2021 NBA season is here and you need to find out how to watch all of the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, or Chicago Bulls games.
If you don’t know where or how to watch LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo, we’ll tell you what service you should get so you never miss a basketball game.
But beware of the blackouts, as you may not be able to watch your local team’s game because it’s airing on a local channel.
Depending on where you live, you may need NBA LEAGUE PASS and a live TV streaming service, cable TV provider, or satellite TV provider to watch all of the games.
We’ll help you decide which one is best for you. Let’s start the clock.
|Monthly price||Available channels||Learn more|
Data effective 1/20/2021.
What’s NBA LEAGUE PASS and NBA TV?
|NBA TV||$39.99/yr.||Free Trial|
|NBA LEAGUE PASS||$149.99/yr.||Free Trial|
|NBA LEAGUE PASS PREMIUM||$179.99/yr.||Free Trial|
|TEAM PASS (One Team)||$89.99/yr.||Free Trial|
|Single game||$5.99 (one-time purchase)||Free Trial|
Data effective 1/20/2021.
NBA LEAGUE PASS is a standalone subscription and a subscription available from some TV providers that let you watch “select” NBA games. But “select” means you can only watch certain games in specific locations.
For example, when we go to the NBA LEAGUE PASS website, it tells us we won’t get access to Utah Jazz games while residing in Salt Lake City. If you are a Jazz fan but live in New York, you’ll be able to watch every Donovan Mitchell game.
This is what we mean by blackouts. So you’ll have to get your Utah Jazz games through your local cable TV channels, but you’ll get access to all of the other NBA games with NBA LEAGUE PASS.
But if you want to wait three days, NBA LEAGUE PASS will have an archive of the game by then. And if a game broadcasts on ESPN, ABC, TNT, or NBA TV, you’ll be able to watch the archive of the game three hours after it has aired.
NBA TV is the official channel of the NBA. It has live games (exhibition, regular, and playoff), live and post-game coverage, and exclusive NBA programming, such as NBA Gametime Live. NBA TV is available in many TV services, but it’s only included in select packages.
For this reason, we’ve found the cheapest TV packages that include NBA TV from every major TV service (see the next main section).
What does each NBA LEAGUE PASS plan include?
NBA LEAGUE PASS gives you four options for your wallet and your NBA fan level. It’s a one-time ticket to a full season of basketball right in your living room (minus the gourmet arena food)!
So, which plan should you get?
NBA TV will give you live games in HD, NBA TV shows, documentaries, and you can relive all the NBA Finals series from the 2000s. You can also watch all of this on most smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, streaming devices, and game consoles.
NBA TEAM PASS lets you watch all out-of-market games for one team of your choosing. You’ll have to sit through the commercials instead of watch the in-arena stream during timeouts and you’ll be able to stream on only one device at a time.
With NBA LEAGUE PASS, you can stream all out-of-market NBA games that aren’t blacked out and relive classic games (and Michael Jordan’s clutch shots). About 15 minutes after the game, you’ll get access to full length and condensed game replays.
And the PREMIUM upgrade will let you watch all games commercial-free during timeouts, and you’ll stay in the arena to watch the action. You can also stream on two devices at once.
With all plans, you get to choose which broadcasters you want to hear from. Choose from home, away, or Spanish-speaking broadcasters.
Which TV providers are best for the NBA season?
Live TV streaming services YouTube TV, fuboTV, and Sling TV all have NBA TV and NBA LEAGUE PASS.
If you’re looking for a cable or satellite TV company with NBA TV and NBA LEAGUE PASS, then Xfinity, DISH, Spectrum, and AT&T are the best choices.
|Monthly price||Available channels||Learn more|
We mention AT&T TV, Spectrum TV, and DIRECTV at the bottom here for a few reasons:
- We want to give you more choices.
- They all offer NBA LEAGUE PASS.
- AT&T TV is DIRECTV in live TV streaming form, so it’s on the pricier side.
- Cable TV company, Spectrum TV, isn’t as widely available as Xfinity TV.
- DIRECTV has second-year price hikes, making your monthly bill quite pricey during year two.
YouTube TV has everything you need for a reasonable price
YouTube TV has NBA TV, ESPN, ABC, TNT, and it offers NBA LEAGUE PASS.
And YouTube TV’s price tag for this perfect service for NBA fans is number one out of all of the TV services in the industry.
Enough said. But if you want a cable TV option or a cheaper service without this complete package, keep scrolling down.
Xfinity TV is the best pick if you’re looking for a cable TV option
Xfinity’s Digital Preferred package has ABC, NBA TV, and ESPN, but not TNT.
You can also get NBA LEAGUE PASS with Xfinity, so you won’t have to miss out on your Brooklyn Nets.
Xfinity is going to be the best cable TV option because of its wide availability, solid DVR for recording the games, and no price hikes.
fuboTV’s Elite plan has NBA TV and lots of other sports channels
fuboTV is known to be one of the best live TV streaming services for sports, and there’s no question about that because you get more than 50 sports channels with the Elite package.
That’s more sports channels than almost any other TV service in the industry offers!
The fuboTV Elite plan will give you NBA TV, ESPN, and ABC, but not TNT. And you can also order NBA LEAGUE PASS on fuboTV!
If you want to know which other sports channels you’ll get, check out our fuboTV review.
DISH gives you NBA TV and loads of more channels
The nice thing about DISH, the satellite TV service, is it’s available everywhere. So if you’re not ready to move away from traditional TV to live TV streaming or don’t have a decent cable TV company nearby, DISH is an excellent choice.
You can order NBA LEAGUE PASS with DISH, and you can expect NBA TV, ESPN, ABC, and TNT.
The America’s Top 200 package won’t disappoint even the biggest NBA fan.
Sling TV is for the budget-minded NBA fans
Sling TV will be your cheapest option, but it won’t be your most complete basketball package.
Sling TV has three plans: Orange, Blue, and Orange + Blue.
The Orange package will have your ESPN, both the Orange and Blue plans have TNT, and none of the plans have ABC. And the Orange + Blue package is essentially both Orange and Blue combined, so you get more than 50 channels.
But you can order NBA LEAGUE PASS on Sling TV!
And if you want NBA TV on your package, you’ll have to get the Sports Extras add-on. This add-on includes more than 20 sports channels. including the NFL RedZone Channel, MLB Network, SEC Network, and Longhorn Network.
If you want to know more about which channels you’ll get with each of the three packages, check out our Sling TV review.
Recap: How can I watch the NBA on TV?
We sorted through more than a dozen services to highlight some of the best for NBA games. Overall, we can say this about each:
- YouTube TV: We like YouTube TV the most because it offers everything an NBA fan needs to watch the NBA season from home for $65 per month. Just add-on NBA LEAGUE PASS each season.
- Xfinity TV: Xfinity is the best cable TV option for NBA fanatics, but keep in mind that their Preferred package doesn’t have TNT.
- fuboTV: If you’re an overall die-hard sports fan, fuboTV is the perfect service for you with more than 50 sports channels.
- DISH: DISH is an excellent option for the NBA fans who don’t want a live TV streaming service or don’t have a decent cable option in the area.
- Sling TV: If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, Sling TV is your choice. But you’ll have to miss out on the ABC channel.
What do you think?
Which service do you think is the best for NBA games? Tell us what you think in the comments.