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The NBA League Pass is sports television service that features all National Basketball Association games. It is available to viewers in the United States and as an international package exists for all other countries. The pricing structure and services on offer are different, depending on where the viewer is located. The 2013-14 season was the 20th year of League Pass. Full League Pass access for the 2014-15 season was priced at $199 for US customers, for comparison the premium service was £169.99 for UK viewers (these prices are for access to the full season prior to the first game and before any discounts, in previous seasons prices have dropped as the season moves closer towards the play-offs).
NBA League Pass is an out-of-market sports package that allows its subscribers to watch up to 40 out-of-market National Basketball Association games a week. The service is operated by Turner Broadcasting System on behalf of the NBA. Videos of the games come from local stations and regional sports networks.
League Pass comes in three varieties in the United States: NBA League Pass TV, which plays the games through a cable or satellite TV provider; NBA League Pass Broadband, which uses highspeed Internet connection to stream videos to a computer; and NBA League Pass Mobile, which is for mobile devices.
Customers outside of the United States can sign up for NBA International League Pass.
If a local team is playing and the game is televised in the home market, the associated feed on League Pass is blacked out and unavailable for viewing.
Per the NBA.com website: “Games will also be blacked out when they are appearing on national television. This applies to games being televised on ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT and NBA TV. You may view these games simply by switching to the designated channel.”
NBA League Pass TV is available with these cable and satellite providers in the United States:
Most providers who offer subscriptions to League Pass TV also include NBA TV and a companion League Pass Broadband subscription. It is also included in some cable subscriptions.
The price for international viewers depends on the location they access the NBA site from (known countries and prices can be found below). There are currently two packages on offer for the 2014-2015 season (with a third; "choice package" expected to be added before the start of the season). The premium package includes NBA archived footage and NBA TV) (as well as all features from the standard package). The standard League Pass package includes every game played by every team during the regular season, coverage of the All-Star weekend, all of the playoff games and the finals, as well as all games from the last (2013-14) season.
In the 2010-2011 season NeuLion took over NBA International League Pass Broadband. Many features have been added to the service, including access to individual plays of the game via icons/markers.
During live games halts such as timeouts were originally filled with NBA spots/advertisements. The NBA spots were removed for the 2011 Finals, and game halts filled with real-time images from the arena, including performances of dance teams. Some advertisements were restored again in the 2011-2012 season in the form of a silent "NBA.TV Never miss a shot." screen presented during game halts. Through the 2012-2013 season timeouts and breaks were filled with a mixture of quiz questions, classic replays (often of last minute, important, game or title winning shots) and some occasional NBA presentations such as the NBA Cares campaign. There number of questions and replays were fairly limited and quickly became repetitive to regular viewers. During the 2013 play-offs and finals these were again replaced with inside arena views (dancers, crowd shots and occasionally presenters).
Condensed games and shorter highlight packages are offered to subscribers after a game has finished. Condensed games show most of the major plays in each quarter where as the highlight packages show very brief highlights of the entire game. Some glitches have been reported (for example; the condensed version of the 2011 second round playoff game 5 featuring BOS @ MIA 'started' after the fourth quarter. This has led to heavy criticism among fans looking for a spoiler-free recap). In response the application(s) has improved year on year, with more platforms supported (see below), bug fixes and features added in new app' releases, with version 5.0 appearing prior to the 2013-14 season.
Options include the Premium plan, which allows users to watch all games not subject to blackout, and a reduced-price Choice plan, for which users choose 5 teams whose games they can watch. Customers can watch the games live or in an archive available at any point till the end of the regular season. For at least the past two years, the service has offered a free trial for the first games of the regular season. In the 2010-2011 season, trial customers could watch all non-blackout games from October 26 (the start of the regular season) through November 2. For the 2009-2010 season, a half-year package was offered at a reduced price beginning around the middle of the season. In 2012-2013, the Playoffs and Finals were offered free to subscribers for replay, meaning the games were not available for at least three hours after the game completed.
Note: Subscriptions can be bought in most regions via the Internet to be streamed to applications on various devices or to a browser (see above for list). Some of the following services include League Pass, either fully or partially, but they are not required to view League Pass.
Apps are currently available for:
Live feeds, highlights and condensed games can also be viewed through a browser, at watch.nba.com (subscription required).
On October 2, 2013 the new League Pass service for the 2013/14 season was officially announced, with a revised app released on October 4 to include the new features. According to the official NBA press release League Pass provides fans "with new features including direct access to a national game archive featuring all televised games on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV throughout the regular season, and live feeds of both home and away team broadcasts for all games".
A new feature is the ability to select which audio feed you want from the game, so fans may choose to listen to their "hometown" commentary instead of being forced to listen to the audio broadcast by the local broadcast station. The Game Time app now has Twitter integration and feeds for each game can be displayed without leaving the client.
From 1999 to 2001, NBA League Pass had a companion service called WNBA Season Pass which showed out-of-market games of the Women's National Basketball Association. The WNBA has discontinued this service; today, all national broadcasts are on ABC, ESPN2, or NBA TV. However, they now offer the WNBA Broadband Season Pass, a web program that allows subscribers to watch every game live for each season.
The 2013 NBA Summer League was available as a streaming subscription service with an app' for IOS and Android devices in the 2013 off-season. Priced at $14.99, all 61 games in both the Orlando Pro Summer League and the Las Vegas League were included in the price.