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NBA 2019: How to watch basketball games without cable

A streaming guide for cord-cutting hoop heads for the 2019-2020 NBA season.

Zion Williamson

Look out, NBA, Zion is on his way.

Getty Images

The NBA season tips off on Oct. 22 when the Toronto Raptors raise the franchise's first championship banner before taking on the New Orleans Pelicans, who will be without the services of top overall draft pick Zion Williams for the first few weeks of the season. 

While we await the rookie debut of Zion, there are plenty of early-season storylines to follow with familiar faces in new places. Will pairing Anthony Davis with LeBron James lead the Lakers back to glory? Or will the tandem of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George make the Clippers the talk of LA? Are there enough shots to go around in Houston with James Harden and Russell Westbrook sharing the same backcourt? Can Stephen Curry keep the Golden State Warriors rolling without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson? In the East, can Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks or Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers get to the Finals?

We'll find out the answers to these questions over the course of the season. Here's what you need to know to watch all of the NBA action this year.

Now playing: Watch this: Top 5 streaming services for live TV

NBA live on TV

You can watch nationally televised games on ESPN, TNT, ABC and NBA TV. Your local team's game are broadcast on a regional sports network (RSN), either a Fox Sports or NBC Sports RSN in most cases (there are a handful of independent RSNs). You'll need a pay TV subscription to tune into your regional Fox Sports or NBC Sports network.

NBA live online

You've got two options for streaming NBA games live online: buy an NBA League Pass subscription or subscribe to a live TV streaming service that carries the channels for the national broadcasts and your team's RSN. The former only works if you follow an out-of-market team, and the latter is better if you are a fan of the local team.

NBA League Pass

With NBA League Pass, your local team's games are blacked out along with nationally televised games. You can watch all out-of-market games (unless they are on ESPN, TNT or another national broadcast) for $250 for the season (or $40 a month) with no commercials or $200 for the season (or $29 a month) with commercial breaks. You can sign up to watch only your favorite out-of-market team's games for $120 for the season (or $18 a month). Or you can get just NBA TV for the channel's coverage of the league and the live games it shows for $60 a year or $7 a month. NBA League Pass is supported on a number of devices.

Depending on where you live, one of the major live TV streaming services could carry the local RSN that broadcasts your local team's games. Not every service carries every RSN or local network such as ABC, however, and some teams aren't available on any live TV streaming service, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries the network you want in your area.

Other stuff to know about live TV streaming services:

  • You'll need a solid internet connection.
  • You can watch any of them on TV as long as your smart TV has the service's app. You can also watch on your TV using a media streamer, such as a RokuFire TVApple TV or Chromecast.
  • You can also watch on iPhones, Android phonestablets and computer browsers.
  • You can sign up and cancel anytime, no contract required.
  • All of them offer free trial periods, so you can sign up to watch and then cancel.

If you live in your favorite team's TV market, see below for your streaming options. I've also included information for ESPN, TNT, ABC and NBA TV for live national broadcasts.

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.

YouTube TV costs $50 a month and includes everything an NBA fan needs: ESPN, TNT, ABC and NBA TV along with local Fox Sports or NBC Sports RSNs. 

PlayStation Vue's basic $50-a-month Access plan includes ESPN, TNT and ABC. The $55-a-month Core plan adds NBA TV and local Fox Sports or NBC Sports RSNs.

Sling TV's $25-a-month Sling Orange package includes ESPN and TNT but not any RSN. Sling TV's $25-a-month Sling Blue package includes regional NBC Sports RSNs but only for the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards. Sling TV does not carry any Fox Sports RSNs. Neither of Sling TV's plans includes ABC. Sling TV's Orange and Blue package costs $40 a month. The $10-a-month Sports Extra add-on includes NBA TV.

Hulu with Live TV costs $45 a month and includes ESPN, TNT and ABC along with regional Fox or NBC Sports RSNs. It does not offer NBA TV.

AT&T TV Now's $50-a-month Plus package includes ESPN, TNT and ABC, but you'll need to spring for the $70-a-month Max package to also receive a regional Fox or NBC Sports RSN. Neither plan features NBA TV.

FuboTV costs $55 a month and includes TNT, NBA TV and Fox Sports and NBC Sports RSNs, but it features neither ESPN nor ABC.