Updated · May 31, 2023
Live sports are no longer restricted to TV or cable. Around 57.5 million US viewers even watched digital live sports more than once per month in 2021. With the number of people using the internet, it's no surprise that even sports channels are accessible in almost all web browsers.
With the help of technology and a VPN, NBA fans can now stream their favorite games from anywhere. Here’s a guide on how to watch NBA games online.
Read on to learn more.
78% of US households subscribe to at least one streaming service. Streaming on the go has become today’s norm – even for sports.
In a study by Nielsen and LaLiga Tech, the younger demographic is more engaged in sports due to the variety of streaming platforms that the current generation has. Games for NFL, FIFA, and everyone’s favorite – NBA are now more accessible than ever.
Below are four ways to watch the NBA online:
All NBA broadcast rights are split among these four networks. Fortunately, you don’t have to sign up for cable service to get some of them, as they also offer standalone subscriptions.
Let’s take a look at each one.
NBA TV is the most reliable option to watch NBA games online since it owns most rights to broadcast live games. It is available through NBA.com and the NBA mobile app.
Its primary streaming offer is NBA League Pass. You got three options for premium plans — Team Pass ($89.99/season), League Pass ($99.99/season), and League Pass Premium ($129.99/season).
ESPN+ offers a variety of sports broadcasts, including NHL, MLB, NFL, and NCAA events. Its app supports several devices such as smart TVs, Roku sticks, FireSticks, set-top boxes, and mobile.
A standalone ESPN+ subscription costs $6.99 per month. You can also use the app if you have an existing cable provider with ESPN in the channel lineup.
TNT produces a lot of content aside from sports. But unlike NBA TV and ESPN, you need to be in a partner cable provider to access the TNT app.
You can also get it through other streaming channels such as Hulu — its ad-supported plan is $7.99 a month and $14.99 with no ads.
ABC is important for NBA fans since it shows regular season games and the much-awaited NBA finals. The ABC app is also compatible with most streaming devices.
Like TNT, you must have an account with a partner cable provider to access its app.
If you want something that offers all four networks – ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, and TNT, you can subscribe to one of these streaming services:
Starting at $20 for the first month, you’ll get access to ESPN, TNT, and ABC. You can add $11 for the Sports Extra to get NBA TV and more. You can also purchase NBA League Pass as an add-on through Sling TV.
Youtube TV offers a great selection of sports channels on top of ESPN and NBA TV. It costs $62.99 per month for the first three months. You’ll have access to 100+ live channels, including ABC, CBS, TNT, AMC, etc.
They also offer sports add-ons like NBA League Pass, Fox Soccer Plus, and Sports Plus.
DirecTV and DirecTV Stream are top regional sports networks (RSN) that show some in-market games. They both have streaming options that rely on the user’s zip code.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Directv Stream works like a traditional cable service but is internet-based. You can opt for a streaming box (the Gemini) or stream through the DirecTV app.
DirecTV Stream’s CHOICE ($99.99/mo.) package includes NBA TV, ESPN, TNT, and ABC. CHOICE has 105+ live channels, including the RSNs depending on your zip code.
The CHOICE package is just $84.99, with the same channel line-up as DirecTV Stream. The difference is DirecTV works with a satellite dish.
It’s more expensive than DirecTV Stream because of the extra fees for satellite equipment. But you can also stream with the DirecTV app to enjoy all channels in your TV package.
If you also do not want to spend on subscription fees, we listed free websites that you can use to watch NBA games live.
Here are some options for free NBA live-streaming:
You will need a VPN to watch NBA. Official and popular streaming sources are exclusive for US viewers only. The same goes for regional sports networks. People outside the US will require a VPN for that.
Internet service providers (ISP) are actively blocking free live-streaming sites. They can also potentially come with malware, so you have to protect your privacy and security.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will help you avoid earning a copyright infringement notice from your ISP when you access free live streams. A VPN also solves your problems with geo-restrictions when using official streaming sites. Some web browsers have built-in VPNs, while it's also possible to install one on your browser.
Now the question is, which VPN should you pick? Let’s discuss that in the next section!
Broadcast limitations can result in game blackouts in certain areas. In these cases, connecting to a VPN with a different server helps you circumvent those geo-restrictions. VPNs also hide your browser activity from your ISP by changing your IP address.
However, switching IP addresses and rerouting traffic can reduce speed. It is important to read the terms and conditions before installing the VPN.
Here are the best VPN providers for bandwidth retention:
ExpressVPN costs $6.67 monthly if you get a one-year plan. Known to provide high-speed connection, it can retain up to 85% of bandwidth. ExpressVPN also lets you experience simultaneous connections.
NordVPN has the highest number of servers. It can retain up to 80-85% of bandwidth. For as low as $3.99 per month, you can enjoy the security a VPN can offer plus an ad-blocking feature. It even offers a free trial with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s how you can watch free NBA games and work around blackouts:
1. Download and install the VPN. We recommend NordVPN for a more stable connection.
2. Sign up for an account and choose a subscription plan.
3. Launch the NordVPN app, then connect to a server.
4. Open your browser and go to your preferred NBA streaming website.
Technology has come a long way. From traditional cable and TV services to mobile and online streaming, innovations are never-ending — especially for entertainment.
With how popular and culturally influential the NBA is, nothing can stop people from discovering new ways to access it. Now, anyone can watch their favorite NBA game online from anywhere in the world.
No. NBA TV doesn’t block VPNs. However, an IP address from a VPN server can be stopped if it becomes too suspicious or has multiple users. Just switch to a different server to continue streaming.
NBA game highlights and news are being uploaded on Youtube for free. If you want the full experience, you can subscribe to Youtube TV.
Streaming sites can all be taken down anytime, so it’s hard to pick which one’s the best. The first thing to do is choose a site with fewer ads and without additional plug-ins.
Munni is also an ardent student of human-computer interfaces and user experience design. He makes the vital connections between technology and the end user. He always finds the ultimate way to tell the story of software, to highlight its strengths and weaknesses in an accessible way. He often contemplates the dynamic relationship between humanity and technology over a pint of lager, while enjoying some classy classical rock.
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