If you’re visiting this page, it means that the NBA season is in session, or starting soon. And yes, you’re in the right place to learn how to watch the NBA online.
There’s so much to be excited about for the 2020–2021 NBA season. Will LeBron James bring a title to LA? The Minnesota Timberwolves are actually good now? We all want answers, and that’s why we’re talking about how to livestream the NBA, so you don’t have to miss out on a single one.
Your options for watching the NBA without cable can be a bit overwhelming at first, but we’ve got your back. Below, we’ll be ranking the best streaming services that let you enjoy a quality NBA live stream on both national TV and local channels.
Watch NBA Online: National TV Coverage
First things first—there are four channels you’ll need to get NBA national coverage: ESPN, TNT, NBATV, and ABC. Now, let’s look at which of your streaming options carry the channels we need.
|DIRECTV NOW||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free trial|
|Hulu Live TV||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Free trial|
|PlayStation Vue||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free trial|
|Sling TV||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free trial|
Watch NBA Online: Local Coverage
Now that we know what services give us the best of NBA national games, let’s talk about local coverage. Things get a bit trickier in this section, but stick with us.
Here’s a look at the local coverage for every team. Keep in mind that you have to live within the respective regions to stream these channels.
|DIRECTV NOW||fuboTV||Hulu Live TV||PlayStation Vue (Core)||Sling TV (Blue)|
|Watch now||Watch now||Watch now||Watch now||Watch now|
|Atlanta Hawks (Fox Sports South)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Boston Celtics (CSN New England)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Brooklyn Nets (YES Network)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Charlotte Hornets (FOX Sports Carolinas)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Chicago Bulls (CSN Chicago)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cleveland Cavaliers (FOX Sports Ohio)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dallas Mavericks (FOX Sports Southwest)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Detroit Pistons (FOX Sports Detroit)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Golden State Warriors (CSN Bay Area)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes ($10 extra /mo.)||Yes|
|Houston Rockets (Root Sports)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Indiana Pacers (FOX Sports Indiana)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Los Angeles Clippers (Fox Sports West)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Los Angeles Lakers (Spectrum Sportsnet) ***||No||No||No||No||No|
|Memphis Grizzlies (Fox Sports Tennessee)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Miami Heat (Fox Sports Sun)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Milwaukee Bucks (Fox Sports Wisconsin)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Minnesota Timberwolves (Fox Sports North)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|New Orleans Pelicans (Fox Sports Louisiana)||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|New York Knicks (MSG Network) ***||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Oklahoma City Thunder (Fox Sports Oklahoma)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Orlando Magic (Fox Sports Florida)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Philadelphia 76ers (CSN Philly)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Phoenix Suns (Fox Sports Arizona||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Portland Trailblazers (CSN Northwest) *||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Sacramento Kings (CSN California)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|San Antonio Spurs (Fox Sports Southwest) **||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Toronto Raptors (TSN and SportsNet)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Utah Jazz (Root Sports) ***||No||No||No||No||No|
|Washington Wizards (CSN Mid-Atlantic)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
*Portland Trailblazers split their games between CSN Northwest and NBC affiliate KGW, which you can stream for free here and should be available in your streaming package
** San Antonio Spurs will stream 10 games over the CBS affiliated KENS, which you can stream for free here and should be available in your streaming package
*** Don’t panic! We’ve got pages that explain how to livestream the NBA teams that aren’t carried by the major streaming services. Just click the name of your team above to learn more.
We get it—that’s a big table. So how should it influence which streaming service you ultimately pick to watch the NBA online? We recommend following these steps:
Find your team on the regional coverage table and see which streaming services carry the local channels you need.
After that, check out the national coverage table above and make sure you’re getting all the national channels needed too.
If you find a good match, scroll down to see some of the pros and cons for each streaming service.
Best Services to Livestream the NBA
Without further ado, let’s get into our rankings for best streaming services to watch the NBA online. The main factors that go into our rankings are price, channel coverage, and bonus features like cloud DVRs.
#1 PlayStation Vue: The most reliable way to livestream the NBA
What we like about it: Can stream on PlayStation consoles
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the best package
Drawbacks: Not the cheapest option
PlayStation Vue is our top recommendation for watching the NBA online without cable. It may not be the cheapest option available, but it’s the best for our money.
PlayStation Vue Pricing and Plans
With PlayStation Vue, you’re just getting so much value for that $44.99 a month. We’re talking tons of channels, strong national and local coverage, and cloud DVR automatically included in your subscription.
In terms of plans, you’ll probably want to opt for the Core package. You’ll get the ESPN suite, TNT, NBATV, and tons of local coverage. That being said, double check the table above to make sure PlayStation Vue carries the local coverage you need to livestream the NBA.
You can always upgrade to two higher priced packages, but as a sports fan, there’s really no need–you’re getting the essential channels with the Core package.
Watching the NBA on PlayStation Vue
One of the things PlayStation Vue has going for it is an incredible user interface–which you can read about in detail via our review. Long story short, it’s an easy-to-use service that looks great and works well. As any sports fan knows, it’s nearly impossible to watch every game, which is why cloud DVR is a big deal for the modern NBA fan.
PlayStation Vue Device Compatibility
One of the best parts about PlayStation Vue is that it has some of the most compatible devices out there. PlayStation Vue has exclusive rights to stream on PlayStation consoles. So, if you’re a PlayStation owner, Vue is for you. However, if you’re an Xbox owner, and you’re dedicated to streaming on it alone, you’re out of luck.
Here’s a list of devices that are compatible with PlayStation Vue:
TV & Video Players:
Amazon Fire TV
Phones & Tablets:
Amazon Fire tablets
Laptops & Computers:
#2 DIRECTV NOW: The streaming package with the most variety
What we like about it: Tons of channels to choose from
Who it’s perfect for: NBA fans and general TV fans
Drawbacks: Most expensive option
Coming in second place for how to livestream the NBA is DIRECTV NOW. Altogether, it has an insane number of channels for not all that much money.
DIRECTV NOW Pricing and Plans
At first glance, $50 a month may sound like a lot, but if we do a little math and breakdown the price, it’s about 62 cents a month per channel.
Granted, some of those channels you’ll probably never watch, but paying roughly 62 cents each for TNT, ABC, ESPN, and NBATV doesn’t sound too bad.
We recommend going with the “Just Right” package, which is the service’s best price for livestreaming the NBA. Along with getting your national channels covered, DIRECTV NOW supports the majority of local sports networks.
Of course, double check the tables above to make sure that DIRECTV NOW provides local sports coverage for your team. While you’re double checking things, take another look at the DIRECTV NOW channel list.
If the “Just Right” package is missing some of your favorite channels, you can always opt to upgrade your package.
Watching the NBA on DIRECTV NOW
Unfortunately, when it comes to features, DIRECTV NOW doesn’t boast much. The lack of cloud DVR is the biggest reason why it fell behind PlayStation Vue.
If you’re going to watch the NBA on DIRECTV NOW, you’ll need to be watching it live, friend.
That may not be a problem for many of you who enjoy live-tweeting the game, but for those of you on a tight schedule, lack of cloud DVR may be a deal breaker.
#3 Sling TV: Decent overall package to watch the NBA online
What we like about it: Upgrade variety
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who love variety
Drawbacks: Missing some local coverage
Sling TV offers a similar price to PlayStation Vue, but it doesn’t offer nearly as much. Yes, you’ll get TNT, NBATV, and ESPN, but the local channel coverage won’t be as strong. That doesn’t mean Sling TV is all bad.
You can check out our review of Sling TV to learn that the user experience is awesome and the quality of the stream is excellent.
Sling TV Pricing and Plans
Let’s explain the best package for watching the NBA online with Sling TV. Sling TV splits their channels into two separate packages: Blue and Orange–which is a problem for live streaming the NBA.
For instance, ESPN channels are in the Orange package, except TNT is in the Blue package. You’ll need to pay for both packages for $40 a month to cover the national games.
And it doesn’t stop there. NBATV is not included in either Blue or Orange packages, so we’ll need to tack on another $10 a month for the Sports Extra package. All in all, it costs $50 a month to livestream the NBA using Sling TV.
Watching the NBA on Sling TV
The nice thing about paying for all those separate packages is that you’re getting a ton of interesting channels.
Yes, you’ll get the essentials for watching the NBA, but you’ll also get great channels like the NFL Redzone, NHL network, and the Golf channel.
The downside is that local sports coverage can be a bit spotty. Check out the table above to make sure Sling TV covers your local team.
We do like that Sling TV offers a ton of upgrade variety. You can add news channels, international channels, or movie channels for a few extra bucks every month. Take a look at the options and see what you think.
Speaking of upgrades, you’ll notice that ABC (part of the Broadcast Extra package) costs you another $5 a month, which you’ll need to watch big marquee games like the ones on Christmas day.
Sling TV Device Compatibility
You’ll be able to stream the NBA using major devices except for PlayStation consoles. Here’s a list of what streaming devices are compatible with Sling TV:
TV & Video Players:
Amazon Fire TV
Phones & Tablets:
Amazon Fire tablets
Laptops & Computers:
Macs running Lion 10.7 or higher
#4 fuboTV: The cheapest way to watch the NBA online
What we like about it: Super cheap for the first two months
Perfect for: Fans of all sports
Drawbacks: No ESPN or TNT
Coming in at fourth for how to livestream the NBA is fuboTV. At heart, we wanted to rank fuboTV higher on the list because of its great price, but the brain reminds us that not carrying ESPN and TNT is a big deal.
If it weren’t for the lack of ESPN and TNT, fuboTV would easily outrank Sling TV, and perhaps even outrank PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW. For our money, $19.99 (even for two months), for local team coverage and access to NBA TV, beats out what Hulu Live TV is offering.
fuboTV Pricing and Plans
For new users, the first two months of fuboTV only cost $20 a month. That means you’ll be getting NBATV and lots of local coverage for just $20 a month.
That’s pretty amazing. You’ll just need to live without watching games that air on ESPN. After those first two months, fuboTV costs $39.99 a month going forward.
Watching the NBA on fuboTV
When it comes to watching sports, fuboTV is a great choice—except when it comes to ESPN and TNT content. Check out their channel list to see what we’re talking about. The service does its best to make up for it with tons of soccer channels, the NFL network for football fans, and of course NBATV.
The best part about fuboTV is the price and local sports coverage. As you can see from the table above, fuboTV has a pretty strong local sports representation. If you’re a fan of a team that doesn’t get much NBA national coverage, then fuboTV might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Also worth noting, fuboTV comes with cloud DVR built into its price. With cloud DVR, you can watch games at your convenience instead of arranging your schedule around the NBA.
fuboTV Device Compatibility
fuboTV mostly covers its bases with device compatibility, with the biggest exception being video game consoles. Besides that, pretty much every other major streaming device works with fuboTV. Here’s a complete list:
TV & Video Players:
Amazon Fire TV
Phones & Tablets:
Laptops & Computers:
#5 Hulu Live TV: Watch the NBA online and binge-watch
What we like about it: Access to Hulu’s stream library
Perfect for: Fans who love the NBA and binge-watching
Drawbacks: No NBATV
Hulu Live TV may be last on our list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice for you. The reason why it’s at the bottom of our list is because it doesn’t carry NBATV. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a huge NBA fan, and you’ll want NBATV.
Hulu Live TV Pricing and Plans
Hulu Live TV costs $39.99 a month, but ABC, ESPN, and TNT and plenty of other great channels are included in that package.
You’ll just need to live with missing the games and programs that air on NBATV. Which, for an NBA junkie, can be a pretty hard ask.
Currently, Hulu Live TV only has one package, and there isn’t much in the way of upgrades. Meaning, there’s little to no channel customization. But keep in mind that a subscription to Hulu Live TV includes access to Hulu’s entire streaming library, which means you can watch the Los Angeles Lakers play the Washington Wizards and then binge-watch Brooklyn 99 or Seinfeld.
Watching the NBA on Hulu Live TV
Despite the notable exception of not carrying NBATV (yet), Hulu Live TV does everything else really well. It carries tons of local sports coverage, includes cloud DVR, and covers most of the national NBA games. But until Hulu Live TV adds NBATV to their channel lineup, we can’t, in good conscience, recommend it for livestreaming the NBA. Once they do, they’ll shoot up our list.
Hulu Live TV Device Compatibility
You can stream the NBA on Hulu Live TV using pretty much any device that isn’t a PlayStation console or Samsung device. Here’s a complete list of compatible devices:
TV & Video Players:
Amazon Fire TV
Phones & Tablets:
Laptops & Computers:
Wild Card: NBA League Pass
What we like about it: So much NBA to watch
Who it’s perfect for: NBA junkies
Drawbacks: Can’t watch your local team, or national games
NBA League Pass is basically designed for NBA fans who want to watch teams that don’t pertain to your area.
For example, if you’re a Golden State Warriors fan in Chicago, NBA League Pass is exactly what you’re looking for.
Likewise, if you’re a fan of the Golden State Warriors, and you live in the Bay Area, you won’t be able to watch the Warriors, but you will be able to watch the rest of the teams in the NBA.
NBA League Pass Pricing and Plans
NBA League Pass is broken down into three different packages.
The cheapest of the three—the NBA Team Pass—gives you access to only one team, and it’ll cost you $119.99 for the season, or $17.99 a month. This is perfect for the NBA fan who lives in a different city than the one team they really root for. You’ll be able to catch every game except those that air nationally on ESPN, TNT, or NBATV.
The second and most popular package is the NBA League Pass subscription that costs $199.99 for the whole season, or $28.99 a month. With this package, you can stream the local games for literally every team in the NBA (except the team that lives in your area).
The third and most expensive package, NBA League Pass Premium, gives you access to the local coverage of every team and even provides in-arena streaming. Instead of watching commercials, the stream stays in the arena so you can watch the huddles and fan events. You’ll need to decide if the in-arena stream is worth the $249.99 for the season, or $39.99 a month.
Watching the NBA Online on NBA League Pass
When it comes to watching the NBA with League Pass, it’s important to understand blackouts. We briefly mentioned it in the previous section, but just to reiterate, you can’t watch your local NBA team using any NBA League Pass package. It’s kind of ironic, but that’s the truth of the matter
When you’re not blacked out, watching the NBA on League Pass is pretty amazing. You can pause, rewind, and watch replays of games. There’s tons of supplementary content like highlights and game breakdowns. It’s really an NBA junkie’s dream.
Wild Card: Cable
The irony of this recommendation is not lost on us, so we won’t spend long here.
Our focus is to help you cut the cord and find the best deals to watch your favorite shows, but in this case, we’re going to cheat a tiny bit. The fact of the matter is, for some of you, cable might be your only option.
For example, consider the Lakers fans out there. If you’re a Lakers fan, and you live in the Los Angeles area, cable is your only choice for local games. You’ll be blacked out with NBA League Pass, and none of the streaming services pick up Spectrum Sports Net. Thankfully, this won’t be the case for most of you.
But if you’re one of the unlucky ones who have no choice but to opt for cable, check out our top recommendations so you can watch the NBA with the least amount of hassle.
International NBA Live Stream Information
Watch NBA Online without Blackouts with NBA League Pass International
If you live outside of the United States, you can subscribe to NBA League Pass International for the best NBA live stream experience. The international version of this service is very similar to the standard domestic version described above, with one big difference: the international version does not have blackouts. So, unlike the domestic version, subscribers to League Pass International will be able to watch live games from every single NBA team, all season long.
The exact price and content available can vary depending on which country you live in. Typically, the prices are about the same as the domestic version, but International does offer a better value since there aren’t blackouts. Here are some links to a few popular International League Pass pages:
Use a VPN to Watch NBA Games Live from Outside the US
If you live outside the US and are unable to access some of the best NBA streaming services, there is an alternative. You can use a VPN to access NBA live stream from your computer.
Who’s Your Pick Going to Be?
Whether you’re a diehard fan of a certain team or a general NBA fan, there’s tons of options out there. Make sure to double check the tables above and confirm that your streaming service of choice covers your local channels as well as national ones.
Most importantly, enjoy the NBA season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
NBA Team Guide
- Boston Celtics
- Dallas Mavericks
- Brooklyn Nets
- Houston Rockets
- New York Knicks
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Philadelphia 76ers
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Toronto Raptors
- San Antonio Spurs
- Chicago Bulls
- Denver Nuggets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Detroit Pistons
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Indiana Pacers
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Utah Jazz
- Atlanta Hawks
- Golden State Warriors
- Charlotte Hornets
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Miami Heat
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Orlando Magic
- Phoenix Suns
- Washington Wizards
- Sacramento Kings
More Tips On How NBA Fans Can Stream Games Live Without Cable
By most metrics the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the #3 sports league in North America behind the NFL and Major League Baseball.
The league has had a fair share of ‘ups and downs’ since beginning play in the 1940’s. Since the late 1970’s, however, the league has been very popular and financially successful.
The NBA brought professional sports to smaller markets like Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon creating wildly enthusiastic fan bases. From an international perspective, the NBA is without question the highest level of basketball play in the world.
NBA teams play an 82 game schedule beginning in October and running through April. The top sixteen teams make the playoffs and vie for the NBA Championship. With 30 teams playing this many games, there’s no shortage of action available for even the most rabid basketball fan. In contrast to the tight control of television broadcasts exerted by the NFL, the NBA’s broadcasting is a chaotic mix of stations at the local and national level. Fans in NBA cities can watch all of their team’s games spread across one or more local TV stations, a regional sports channel, and national cable and broadcast appearances on one of three network affiliates.
STREAMING LIVE NBA GAMES:
While the NBA’s television broadcasting is chaotic the league exerts tight control over the online streaming of games. NBA games on national networks ESPN, TNT and ABC usually offer live streaming of the games they broadcast. The regional and local channels, on the other hand, are not allowed to offer live games online.
Like the other North American professional sports leagues, the NBA has a premium subscription package available on cable and satellite TV as well as online. The ‘NBA League Pass‘ provides access to every televised game with online streaming to PC, smartphones and tablets available. The service is costly–$125 for digital access and $170 for combined TV/streaming.
WATCH NBA BASKETBALL ONLINE FREE:
Despite the abundance of NBA basketball on television, it’s a pain to keep track of where you can watch your favorite team play. Even if you live in an NBA team city you’ve got to figure out which of more than half-dozen networks will televise each game. If you’re trying to follow an NBA team outside their market, you’ll get to see them a few times a year when they play on national TV.
The best plan for fans looking to watch games is to watch NBA basketball online free. There are live streams available online for virtually every sport from every country in the world. Since NBA basketball is popular worldwide, you won’t have any problem finding live streams. You can also watch games from other pro basketball leagues in Europe and Australia. You can choose to watch either the home team’s broadcast or that of the visiting team. You can even locate streams with play by play in any number of foreign languages.
The options available to provide the best possible NBA viewing experience are mind boggling. Not only can you choose from every NBA team and teams from around the world, you can also control where and how you want to watch the action. You have the option to watch on your computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. You can also watch live NBA action on your television with a Roku or Chromecast streaming device. With a variety of streaming speeds you can choose the one that works best with your Internet connection, or that offers the best picture–you can even get a stream in HD quality!
HOW TO WATCH NBA LIVE STREAMS:
So how do you find NBA basketball live streams? The good news is that it couldn’t be easier and requires no special technical expertise. If you can search on Google, you’ve got the skills necessary for online viewing. For beginners, the best place to start is Wiziwig. This site has a good directory of live game streams but also offers a wealth of information for those new to the process. If you have questions about how to find a game or set up a stream, you’ll find a discussion forum with a friendly and knowledgeable community of users.
Once you have the basics down pat, you can start using the other live sports stream directories like FirstRowSports, Stream2Me, and SportsStreamTV. New sites come online often, and existing sites change their web address, so a Google search is the best place to start. You’ll quickly learn that there is no better way to watch NBA basketball live game broadcasts–and it won’t cost you a cent!