NBA unbundles: League Pass to offer single games and teams in 2016

NBA League Pass is going to get a lot more flexible next season, letting basketball fans subscribe to single teams and purchase individual games.

The league made its announcement on Wednesday, just before the last game of the 2015 NBA Finals. Pricing won't be revealed until next month, though it'll presumably be cheaper than the $200 per season that the NBA currently charges for all out-of-market games.

For now, subscribers who want a single team or game will have to opt for the streaming version of NBA League Pass, rather than the version that's bundled with traditional pay TV packages. The NBA told Bloomberg that it's working with TV distributors on single-team packages, but doesn't know which ones will get on board.

And of course, regional blackouts will still apply, so cord cutters won't be able to watch their local teams, at least not without VPN- or Smart DNS-based workarounds. This remains an issue for all the major sports streaming services, and the NBA is no exception. (Major League Baseball has talked about allowing in-market streaming , but only for pay TV subscribers at first.)

Why this matters: The NBA won't be the first major sports league to unbundle individual teams from its streaming service, though it'll be the first to do so voluntarily. A recent proposed settlement between the NHL, various TV providers, and fans will also bring individual team plans in 2015-2016 at a 20 percent discount. Between these developments and the suspension of NFL blackouts on broadcast TV, it's getting easier to watch sports on your own terms.


Jared Newman

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