While it may seem like the NBA season just ended, its already time for the new season to start. So how do DIRECTV and other cable customers get their fill of the NBA? With the NBA League Pass on DIRECTV of course.
This year, the NBA League Pass gets even better, with more games in HD. That is of course if your pay TV provider has the capacity to deliver the HD. While the NBA League Pass is pretty much available on all of the major cable providers like Comcast, Time Warner cable, and DISH Network, you may see more games in HD than on one provider versus another. Satellite TV is your best option for receiving more games in HD through League Pass.
This year’s NBA League Pass is priced at $189, but many providers are offering an early bird special on the package. DIRECTVis giving a $20 early bird discount if you commit now to the NBA League Pass for the 2008-2009 season. There are generally no refunds give, so make sure you can get full value out of the package before you commit.
The NBA League Pass TV subscription includes about 40 games per week. Averaging that, it comes to about six games a night, surely enough basketball to make any fan happy. The NBA League pass package gives you much more value for your dollar than a package like the NFL Sunday Ticket, though the argument can surely be made that the NBA regular season is not as entertaining as the NFL regular season. DIRECTV is promising up to 12 HD games per week by the end of the year, with the possibility of that number increasing in 2009 when more regional sports networks in HD are added to the DIRECTV lineup.
Cable TV providers will probably not be offering as much HD when it comes to the NBA League Pass package. While exact numbers have not been released by Comcast, Cox cable or Time Warner, cable companies are focusing on adding regular HD channels currently in order to catch up to DISH Network and DIRECTV.
NBA League Pass also includes access to the NBA League Pass Stats Central channel. This channel gives the viewer the most NBA news, including live updates of scores, league news, and stats. Also included is NBA TV which includes games, special NBA programs, and shows for new season.
The 2008-09 NBA League Pass also includes a nice feature for those who travel a lot, or are away from their DIRECTV for some reason. The NBA League Pass Broadband is a free addition to subscribers to the NBA package. This feature gives you online access to the NBA League Pass. Not only can you watch the game, but you also get multiple enhancements. For example, NBA League Pass broadband allows the viewer to see multiple games in mosaic mode. Other features include access to live game stats, check scoring totals and other stats for both the players in the game and for the bench players. Of course you can keep up on scores of the games in progress. The League Pass Broadband is compatible with PC and Macs.
The Broadband add-on is only available to active NBA LEAGUE PASS subscribers; unfortunately you can’t buy it on a stand alone basis. If you do decide to subscribe to the NBA League Pass, it is fairly simple to get set up with NBA League Pass Broadband. Simply login with an NBA.com member name in order to access the game feeds. If it’s your first time, you will have to provide some additional information on your NBA League Pass provide, such as your account number. Once the system verifies your subscription, your selected game will start up.
NBA League Pass Broadband is does have a few technical requirements, the most important being a high-speed internet connection. Either cable modem or DSL should do the trick; dial-up won’t, as this is a streaming video feature.
So what kinds of games are included in the NBA League Pass?
Basically all of the games that are not on one of the major broadcast or cable networks are included.The NBA games included in NBA LEAGUE PASS are all of the out-of-region games, those not on the networks like TNT, NBA TV, ESPN & ESPN2.If you are looking for a game and it’s not on the League Pass channels, check the cable TV channels listed above, it should be there.One additional place to look is your regional sports network.For example, Altitude Sports and Entertainment carries the Denver Nuggets games, so folks in that part of the country will have to watch on Altitude, rather than on the NBA League Pass channels.There are very few games over the course of the season that you will not have viewing access.
Where can you find the NBA League Pass games?
On DIRECTV, the games will be on channels 751-763.The HD games will be on the channel number followed by a -1.For example, if a game in on in both SD and HD on channel 755, the SD version will be on 755 while the HD will be on 755-1.DISH Network will carry the games on channels 560-572. Check with your local provider for channel lineups on Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and Cox cable.
The NBA League Pass covers regular season games only.This isn’t a big deal, as all of the NBA playoff games are broadcast on free or basic TV channels like ABC, TNT, ESPN & ESPN2 and/or your regional sports network. NBA League Pass is also good for a fan that isn’t in their home market.A Chicago Bulls fan who now lives in Dallas, Texas can keep up on his team with this package.If you are mainly interested in your home team, and you live in the home market, this package isn’t really for you, unless you want to watch a bunch of additional games from around the country.
NBA League Pass kicks off this year on October 28, 2008 and will run through the end of the regular season, which will be April 15, 2009.If you are not quite sure if the package is right for you, DIRECTV will be offering a free preview of the package from October 28th through November 4th.DISH Network will also be offering a free preview during these dates.Usually there is another free preview or two during the season, check with your provider for exact dates.Often you can get a discounted or reduced rate on the NBA League Pass mid-season.It usually drops to about $99, which is good if you don’t want to watch a ton of games early in the year, but you want to see the stretch run as teams battle for playoff position.
NBA League Pass does have blackout provisions, but they shouldn’t affect the typical fan much.They are less restrictive than the NHL Center Ice blackout rules. Blackouts are basically when a game on TV cannot be shown in certain areas. These restrictions exist to protect the local TV broadcast of each NBA game in the local market where the team plays. They are not based on arena sell-outs. If a local over-the-air network has broadcast rights for an NBA game in particular area, NBA League Pass subscribers in that area will not receive that game on League Pass.But they should find that game on a local channel or a regional sports network if they have the games.
As mentioned earlier, there are special early bird offer on NBA League Pass running right now.DIRECTV is also offering free installation, and discounted rates during your first year of service, so it’s a great time to subscribe to satellite TV if that is something you have been considering. DISH Network also has promotional offers available to new customers, including a $50 credit on your first bill. Generally, NBA League Pass providers offer a four month billing option, which would be $42.25, or a single payment of $169 for the whole season.
The following teams can be seen on the NBA League Pass
- Boston Celtics
- New Jersey Nets
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Miami Heat
- Orlando Magic
- Washington Wizards
- Dallas Mavericks
- Houston Rockets
- Memphis Grizzlies
- New Orleans Hornets
- San Antonio Spurs
- Golden State Warriors
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings
- Denver Nuggets
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Utah Jazz