The NBA will become the first major sports league to allow games to be streamed live for free in local markets. Viewers will have to authenticate their cable subscriptions, as is the case with many other programs that are live-streamed, but the NBA’s move is a signal that the league realizes the changing viewing habits of its consumers.
According to Sports Business Journal:
The league is finalizing TV Everywhere deals with Fox Sports Media Group and NBC Sports Group, the country’s two biggest owners of regional sports networks. Other RSNs, such as Root Sports, MSG, Time Warner Cable Sports, and Altitude Sports and Entertainment, are expected to offer live in-market streaming later this season.
The agreements break a six-year logjam that prevented viewers from watching their hometown teams on their computers or handsets locally. The frustrating negotiations also caused industry executives to question the viability of such a service, even as national TV channels were profiting from their own streaming services.