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How to Get the NBA on TV
Need to find a way to watch your Jazz, Hawks, Nets, or Clippers? We got you covered.
The start of the 2021–2022 NBA season is approaching, and we know you need to find out how to watch all of the regular season and postseason games.
If you don’t know where or how to watch LeBron James, Joel Embiid, or Kawhi Leonard, we’ll tell you what you need to get so you never miss a basketball game.
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.
What’s the difference between NBA LEAGUE PASS and NBA TV?
Data effective 10/13/2021.
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 live NBA games with NBA LEAGUE PASS.
But if you want to wait three days, NBA LEAGUE PASS will have an archive of the event 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 and watch Michael Jordan’s greatness. 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 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.
We mention Spectrum TV and DIRECTV at the bottom here for a few reasons:
YouTube TV has everything you need for a reasonable price
YouTube TV has NBA TV, ESPN, ABC, TNT, and it offers NBA LEAGUE PASS (the whole sha-bang). And you can watch YouTube TV on your smart TV or streaming device.
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. Watch your favorite team in the comfort of your couch without breaking the bank.
And we know you gotta see if the Phoenix Suns will win the Western Conference again against a stacked Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers team (or was last year a fluke?).
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 Popular TV package has ABC, ESPN, and TNT, but you’ll have to get NBA TV as an individual subscription.
But for $10 more, you can get the Ultimate TV package which has the NBA TV channel in its lineup, along with ABC, ESPN, and TNT for the blacked-out games (your local team’s games NBA TV doesn’t show).
Or you can also get NBA LEAGUE PASS with Xfinity, so you won’t have to miss out on what the Brooklyn Nets can do this year with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.
Xfinity will be the best cable TV subscription 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 any other TV service in the industry offers (seriously)!
You can order NBA LEAGUE PASS on fuboTV, and you have two options for your NBA entertainment:
- The fuboTV Elite plan ($80/month) will give you NBA TV, ESPN, and ABC, but not TNT. This plan gives you more than 50 sports channels.
- fuboTV’s Starter plan ($65/month) has the ABC and ESPN channels, and you can get the Sports Plus add-on ($11/month), which will give you 26 extra sports channels, including NBA TV, NFL RedZone Channel, and regional PAC-12 Networks.
Check out our review below to see the full channel lineups, cloud DVR storage, and other add-ons.
DISH gives you NBA TV and loads of more channels
TV channel count
|America's Top 120||$69.99/mo.‡‡||190||View Plan|
|America's Top 120+||$84.99/mo.^^||190+||View Plan|
|America's Top 200||$94.99/mo.°°||240+||View Plan|
|America's Top 250||$104.99/mo.***||290+||View Plan|
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 (for $200 for the whole season), and you can expect NBA TV, ESPN, ABC, and TNT with the America’s Top 200 package. Get this whole package if you're an avid Fantasy player (we see you).
America’s Top 120 and 120+ won’t include NBA TV, and you can choose to upgrade to America’s Top 250 if you’d like more movie and premium channels to watch after the games.
DISH won’t disappoint any NBA fan.
Sling TV is for the budget-minded NBA fans
TV channel count
|Sling Orange||$35††||30+||View Plan|
|Sling Blue||$35††||45+||View Plan|
|Sling Orange + Sling Blue Services||$50††||50+||View Plan|
Sling TV will be your cheapest option for live streaming, 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 ($15/month). 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.
If you need a new, faster internet provider, check out our top internet providers for seamless streaming by our internet expert, Catherine McNally. No one wants the basketball game to freeze during the last minute of the game.
Recap: How can I watch the NBA on TV?
We sorted through more than a dozen services to help you discover how to watch NBA games live wherever you may be. Get your front-row couch tickets to every single game. 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. You can also record every game because YouTube TV comes with an unlimited DVR storage.
- Xfinity TV: Xfinity is the best cable TV option for NBA fanatics because you can get ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, and TNT for $60 per month.
- fuboTV: If you’re an overall die-hard sports fan, fuboTV is the perfect service for you with more than 50 sports channels. You can get these sports channels, including NBA TV, ESPN, and ABC with the Elite plan ($80/month), or you can get the Starter plan ($65/month) with the Sports Plus add-on ($11/month) to get NBA TV.
- DISH: DISH is an excellent option for NBA fans who don’t want a live TV streaming service or don’t have a decent cable option in the area. You’ll get all four essential channels along with 240 others, but keep in mind that this is the priciest option at $90 per month.
- Sling TV: If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, Sling TV is your choice. You could get ESPN and TNT with the Orange package ($35/month) and get your NBA TV with the Sports Extra add-on ($15/month).
And if you want to know more about NBA LEAGUE PASS, check out our full review.
Where can I watch free NBA basketball games?
There isn’t a legal way of streaming NBA games for free, but our advice is to take advantage of the free trials some live TV streaming services offer.
How can I watch NBA games without cable?
The best way to watch NBA games without cable is to subscribe to a live TV streaming service.
YouTube TV will have the complete NBA package with all of the channels you need and the option to add NBA LEAGUE PASS to your service.
Sling TV will be your most inexpensive option ($50/month) with two of the four channels you’ll need, and fuboTV will have three of the four channels. Both of these services also offer NBA LEAGUE PASS as an add-on.
Does YouTube TV have NBA TV?
YouTube TV does have the NBA TV channel in its lineup. Take it a step further and order NBA LEAGUE PASS so you can watch every single NBA game with YouTube TV.