The National Basketball Association plans on introducing a program allowing local cable subscribers to stream local NBA games for free. The NBA would be the first major sports league in the United States offering this option to their fans. The league reportedly has deals with Fox Sports Media Group and NBC Sports Group — the two leading owners of regional sports networks in the US — already in place, with agreements with smaller providers expected later this season.

This new free streaming option is separate from the NBA League Pass, which offers access to out-of-market games to subscribers. Users will have to authenticate their cable accounts before gaining access to the game streams.


Free Streaming of Kyrie Irving, Kobe Bryant, and More

With free NBA streaming coming soon, NBA fans need to ensure their Internet bandwidth speeds are top-notch. Cable subscribers will now be able to watch the leading NBA stars, including Kyrie Irving, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and more, using their desktop or laptop computer or a mobile device such a smartphone or tablet computer using a WiFi connection. NBA League Pass subscribers who prefer mobile streaming get the added benefit of being able to stream local NBA games for free on the same device in addition to their regular out-of-market content.

The Payoff

While the league isn’t gaining any extra revenue directly from this new agreement, the added goodwill should pay off over time, especially considering the labor problems which caused the cancellation of a significant number of games in the 2011-2012 season. Cable providers also hope to garner additional subscribers from NBA fans looking for the added convenience of live game streaming.

With the NBA taking the lead, expect other major sports leagues, including the NHL, MLB, MLS, and the NFL, to take notice and potentially implement similar free streaming plans with local cable companies.

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