How to Stream NBA Games Live

vivint smarthome arena

Listen, we get it: you live for basketball. Your favorite weekend plans involve your couch, your TV, and a game. But if you want to stream every NBA game in your market (and maybe some others) then you need to get your game plan straight.

We recommend putting multiple streaming players in your lineup: a live TV streaming service, a VPN, an HD antenna, and NBA League Pass. If you’re ready to spend a little more, you could also opt for a traditional cable (or satellite) TV provider.

Game on.

Live TV streaming service

It feels like a new live TV streaming service comes out every day, and they’re catching up with traditional cable providers pretty fast. Plus, most of the major streaming providers offer just what you need to watch NBA games: ESPN and TNT. Every Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll catch double-headers on TNT. Every Wednesday and Friday, you can get double-headers on ESPN.

We recommend DIRECTV NOW for its huge channel selection and decent pricing. You’ll have the channels you need for basketball plus a ton more if one day you feel like watching something other than NBA games. But… if you want something that has NBA TV included without having to upgrade your package, YouTubeTV could suit you well.

Recommended Live TV streaming options for NBA content

Plan namePriceChannelsLearn more
DIRECTV NOW Go Big$65/mo.105+see plan
YouTubeTV$40/mo.73+see plan

Data effective 11/1/18. Offers subject to change.

DIRECTV NOW’s Go Big plan gives you ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. You also get a smattering of other sports channels, like NFL Network and NHL Network, if you’re into drop-kicks as well as three-pointers.

YouTube TV only has one plan, and it also gives you ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. But you will be missing out on about 30 other channels compared to the Go Big plan from DIRECTV.

Hulu with Live TV is another solid streaming option that includes ESPN and TNT.

Plan namePriceChannelsLearn more
Hulu with Live TV$39.99/mo.60see plan

Data effective 11/1/18. Offers subject to change.

HD antenna

The downside to streaming services is they don’t always stream your local in-market games. If your streaming service doesn’t have local channels in your area, then you might be out of luck.

Enter the HD antenna. Antennas don’t cost that much (you can find one for around $30), and with that one-time cost, you have instant access to every local station in your area, which means you also have access to games broadcast on local channels.

This may not work for every market, but will for some. In Salt Lake City, for example, Utah Jazz are broadcast on a regional sports channel only available via cable or satellite TV, so the HD antenna won’t solve that problem.

Not sure which antenna to get? Don’t worry, we’ve already done the scouting report for you and found some good ones.

NBA League Pass (with a VPN)

NBA League Pass works best for individual teams that don’t get that much attention around the country. If you love the Milwaukee Bucks but live in California, or you live in Seattle and don’t totally resent the Oklahoma City Thunder, then NBA League Pass is a great way to watch their games.

NBA League Pass options

PackagePriceLive game in HDLearn more
NBA League Pass Premium$39.99/mo. or $249.99/yr.Yessee plan
NBA League Pass$28.99/mo. or $199.99/yr.Yessee plan
NBA Team Pass$17.99/mo. or $119.99/yr.Yes (for one team)see plan
NBA Single Game$6.99Yes (just for one game)see plan
NBA League Pass Audio$9.99Nosee plan

Data effective 11/1/18. Offers subject to change.

Keep in mind, with NBA League Pass, you’ll face in-market and nationally televised blackouts. You won’t be able to watch games that your local broadcast stations or national networks like TNT have the rights to. That’s why we also recommend getting an HD antenna if you want to catch local games. Keep NBA League Pass for your underrated favorites.

Want to avoid blackouts? Get a VPN.

If you want to skip the pesky in-market blackouts entirely, just get a personal VPN service. VPNs let you connect to the internet through proxy servers. That basically means the internet can’t tell where you really live or where you’re coming from.

For NBA League Pass, that means the service won’t black out games in your market because it thinks you’re in a totally different market than you really are. Most VPNs even let you choose a location to connect from, so you can choose one that will make NBA League Pass let you watch the game you want. Sneaky.

Traditional cable/satellite TV provider

direcTV logo

If you’re not a total cord-cutter and you’re okay spending a little more on TV every month, then a traditional cable or satellite TV provider can definitely get you your sports fix.

Every cable and satellite TV provider will have a package that offers ESPN and TNT. Plus, you get access to your local channels even without buying an HD antenna.

For tricky ones, like our Utah Jazz example, you may need to ask for a regional sports add-on depending on your package. One Salt Lake City user told us they had the DIRECTV Entertainment package (which includes ESPN and TNT) but had to add the regional sports package for $13.99/mo. extra to get AT&T SportsNet, the channel the Utah Jazz play on.

Even with cable or satellite, you won’t be able to see a lot of out of market teams play, so that’s when NBA League Pass is really your best option.

If NBA isn’t your only love, then cable or satellite TV can also give you some great options for football, hockey, soccer, or whatever your other favorite sports are.

Recap

At a minimum, we recommend you get a live TV streaming service, an antenna, and NBA League Pass. Then, if you want to skip blackouts, you can also add in a VPN. That combo is the best way to watch all the NBA games you want to see.

If all of that sounds like too much work and you’d rather have a single catchall solution, then a traditional cable or satellite TV provider will do the trick—you just won’t catch every game.

How do you watch NBA games live? Would you rather just get cable TV or do you like the combo method? Let us know in the comments!