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How to Watch the NBA 2022–2023

It’s time to get your head in the game because we’re breaking down which TV providers set you up with the best NBA coverage during the 2022–2023 season.

Editor's choice

DIRECTV STREAM

Price: $49.99–$129.99/mo.*

NBA channels: ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and NBA League Pass

DVR storage: 20 hrs. included

Free trial: 5 days

Best value

Sling TV

Price: $40.00–$55.00/mo.

NBA channels: ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and NBA League Pass

DVR storage: 50 hrs. included

Free trial: N/A

Best for NBA and WNBA fans

YouTube TV

Price: $64.99/mo.

NBA channels: ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and NBA League Pass

DVR storage: Unlimited

Free trial: 21 days

Best for out-of-market games

NBA League Pass

Price: $14.99–$19.99/mo.

NBA content: Every out-of-market NBA game live and on-demand

Free trial: 7 days

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Professional men’s basketball triumphantly returns to the court on October 18, 2022. And we’ve got your complete viewing guide for watching NBA games this season.

DIRECTV STREAM guarantees the most NBA coverage. The provider’s CHOICE™ package includes regional sports networks (RSNs) and every primary NBA channel. Plus, you can subscribe to NBA League Pass through DIRECTV STREAM for full out-of-market coverage.

There’s also Sling TV and YouTube TV for those who don’t need the most extravagant TV plan. But keep reading for more details on each provider—including pricing and service features.

CableTV.com Sports logo featuring animated athlete with raised hands.

The channels you’ll need to watch NBA games

During the 2022–2023 NBA regular season, you’ll need the following four channels to watch over 250 nationally televised games.

  • ABC
  • ESPN
  • TNT
  • NBA TV

ESPN2 and TBS also air some national NBA broadcasts—acting as overflow channels for ESPN and TNT. But you’ll want to add your regional sports network and an NBA League Pass subscription to your TV plan for complete NBA coverage. After all, national NBA games make up only about 20% of regular season matchups.

With the correct RSN in your channel lineup, you’ll get every NBA game featuring your local team that doesn’t air nationally. But fans of non-local teams will want NBA League Pass to get complete out-of-market access.

Pro tip: DIRECTV has a neat RSN lookup tool where you can enter your zip code to see which RSNs are available in your area. It’ll also tell you what teams those RSNs cover, so you’ll know if you need NBA League Pass or not.

NBA schedule: key events and channels

Apart from the regular season, there are several other NBA events you’ll want to keep an eye on. The NBA All-Star Game on TNT headlines a weekend of festivities in mid-February, while the NBA Playoffs begins in mid-April. It all leads up to the 2023 NBA Finals—tipping off on June 1.

Event Start date Channels
NBA All-Star Game February 19, 2023 TNT, TBS
NBA Play-In Tournament April 11, 2023 ESPN, TNT
NBA Playoffs April 15, 2023 ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV
NBA Finals June 1, 2023 ABC
NBA Draft June 22, 2023 ESPN, ABC

Best TV providers for NBA games

  • Editor’s choice: DIRECTV STREAM—CHOICE plan ($69.99/mo. + taxes for 2 mos.*)
  • Best value: Sling TV—Sling Orange plan ($40.00/mo.)
  • Best for NBA and WNBA fans: YouTube TV ($64.99/mo.)
  • Best for out-of-market games: NBA League Pass ($14.99/mo.)

Because NBA games air on both local and national channels, you’ll want a TV plan that caters to the number of games you plan on watching. DIRECTV STREAM with the NBA League Pass add-on is our favorite plan for hardcore NBA fans because it features the most league coverage. But Sling TV and YouTube TV are also solid options if you don’t need every game.

Don’t get left behind this NBA season

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Editor’s choice: DIRECTV STREAM

Price:
$49.99–$129.99/mo.*
NBA channels:
ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and NBA League Pass
Features:
20 hr. DVR included; wide RSN availability

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Limited Time Offer. $20 discount each month for first 2 months. Regular monthly price thereafter. New customers only. Available in select sales channels only. Restrictions apply.

Pros

  • Large channel counts
  • Wide selection of regional sports networks
  • No contract

Cons

  • Expensive plans
  • Limited included Cloud DVR (20 hrs.)

DIRECTV STREAM’s CHOICE plan and above comes with ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. You’ll also get your local ABC channel and regional sports networks based on your billing location, giving you complete local and primetime NBA coverage.

We don’t recommend going beyond the CHOICE plan because its regular $89.99-a-month price is expensive—even compared to fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV. But no other live TV streaming service offers the same RSN coverage. Plus, DIRECTV STREAM currently offers a $20.00-a-month discount for the first two months.

The DIRECTV STREAM My Teams Carousel displays a row of sports team logos.
This season, DIRECTV STREAM introduces many new navigational features for sports fans, like Team Pages and the My Teams Carousel. (Image credit: directv.com)

You’ll still run into blackouts with DIRECTV STREAM when it comes to out-of-market games. But you can add NBA League Pass to your subscription for as low as $14.99 a month to avoid those blackouts. Therefore, you can watch every NBA game with League Pass and the channels offered through DIRECTV STREAM.

Watching all that basketball live might be impossible, and DIRECTV STREAM includes only 20 hours of DVR storage, which isn’t enough to store a week’s worth of games for later viewing. But new DIRECTV STREAM customers who sign up for any package online will get unlimited Cloud DVR storage**. That’s a winning deal—giving you more freedom to watch games on your own time.

View DIRECTV STREAM plans

Best value: Sling TV

Price:
$40.00–$55.00/mo.
NBA channels:
ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and NBA League Pass
Features:
50 hr. DVR included; 30+ add-on channels and packages

Data effective as of post date. Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Customizable packages
  • No contract

Cons

  • Poor local channel coverage
  • Weak DVR storage options

Sling TV is one of the most affordable streaming services on the market and one of the cheapest ways to watch primetime NBA games. With rotating Sling TV special deals and packages starting at just $40.00 a month, this service is quite a steal. But navigating those packages can be difficult when devising the best way to get the channels you want.

Fortunately, the basic Sling Orange package has TNT and ESPN for $40.00 a month. You’ll then want to consider tacking on the Sports Extra add-on for $11.00 a month to get NBA TV. And finally, you can also subscribe to NBA League Pass within Sling TV for $14.99 a month to get out-of-market coverage.

The Sling TV channel guide displays six channels selected as favorites.
Sling TV subscribers can add channels to a list of Favorites for quick access. We obviously have all the main NBA channels in our Favorites.

One major downside of Sling TV is that it doesn’t have ABC. Usually, that would be a dealbreaker because ABC shows the NBA Finals. But the Sling Orange plan comes equipped with ESPN3—a streaming-only channel that shows simulcasts from ABC. Sling TV subscribers can also use their provider login on the ESPN app for additional ESPN content.

When it comes to extra features, Sling TV is pretty bare-bones. The Sling Orange package allows just one stream, and its best DVR package offers only 200 hours of recording space. So don’t expect the most well-rounded streaming experience when saving money with Sling TV.

View Sling TV plans

Best for NBA and WNBA fans: YouTube TV

Price:
$64.99/mo.
NBA channels:
ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and NBA League Pass
Features:
Unlimited DVR storage

Data effective as of post date. Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pros

  • Every national NBA and WNBA channel
  • Unlimited cloud DVR
  • Recognizable interface

Cons

  • Limited regional sports networks
  • One English-language base plan

YouTube TV is our top-rated live TV streaming service, and for NBA and WNBA fans alike, the provider has a lot to offer.

YouTube TV’s base package includes every channel you’ll need for national NBA and WNBA broadcasts and offers NBA League Pass as an optional add-on for $14.99 a month. Unlike Sling TV, YouTube TV also comes with in-app local channel support—so there’s no need for an antenna or third-party provider.

The YouTube TV Game Page for a Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers matchup displays both teams’ season records and DVR options.
YouTube TV allows you to follow your favorite sports teams and automatically record every game, as seen here with the NBA League Pass add-on via a Google Chrome web browser.

You can record any games you miss on YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR, which saves recordings for up to nine months. The service also has a spoiler feature that can hide final scores or live previews before you start watching saved games.

When it comes to price, YouTube TV sits between Sling TV and DIRECTV STREAM at $64.99 per month. It doesn’t have the RSN coverage that makes DIRECTV STREAM our top choice for watching the NBA. But YouTube TV’s quality channel lineup and unlimited DVR make it a slam dunk for year-round streaming.

View YouTube TV plans

Best for out-of-market games: NBA League Pass

Price:
$14.99–$19.99/mo.
NBA content:
Every out-of-market NBA game live and on-demand
Free trial:
7 days

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Blackout restrictions apply.

Pros

  • Home and away team broadcast feeds
  • Access to every NBA game replay
  • Live in-game stats on select devices

Cons

  • No live local or primetime games
  • Delayed replay access for blacked-out games

We’ve already mentioned NBA League Pass several times because it’s available as an add-on through our other recommended services. But you can also subscribe to the out-of-market package on its own.

The greatest benefit of NBA League Pass is its live access to all games outside your local area. However, the service won’t get you live access to your local team or nationally broadcasted games like the NBA Playoffs or NBA Finals. You can watch these games on demand three hours after they air, but that sure seems like a long wait to us.

A screenshot of the NBA League Pass media player on NBA.com, showing a Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns full-game replay.
NBA League Pass comes with live, in-game stats on some devices, as seen here on a Google Chrome web browser.

For the 2022–2023 NBA season, the league dropped NBA League Pass to $14.99 per month. That’s a significant year-over-year price cut—making NBA League Pass much cheaper than the comparable MLB.TV ($24.99 a month) and NFL SUNDAY TICKET ($293.94 a season) out-of-market packages.

If you want to upgrade to no commercials, you can jump up to the $19.99-a-month NBA League Pass Premium plan. Otherwise, there’s NBA Team Pass for $13.99 a month, which gets you every non-blackout game for one team of your choice. The NBA also offers League Pass Audio for a one-time fee of $9.99 if you want audio-only radio streams.

Beyond live and on-demand games, NBA League Pass comes with live NBA TV access, and hosts archived NBA TV series like NBA Hardwood Classics. You can relive great basketball moments like Michael Jordan’s 63-point game vs. the Boston Celtics or Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game vs. the Toronto Raptors anytime, even during the off-season.

View NBA League Pass plans

How to watch NBA games for free

Recommended antenna:
Mohu Leaf 50 ($47.20 one-time purchase)
NBA channels:
ABC
Features:
All local broadcast channels

CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links. Amazon.com Price; $47.20 (as of 10/4/22 1:45 p.m. CT). Read full disclaimer.

There are a few ways to get free access to NBA basketball, like taking advantage of free trial periods through streaming services like YouTube TV. But the most reliable free way to watch NBA games is by using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna.

With some NBA matches airing on ABC—including the entire NBA Finals—an antenna will get you live access as long as you’re within the range of an ABC network affiliate. Sure, antennas aren’t free. But a simple one-time purchase will set you up with live sports for many years—including a lot of college basketball if CBS is in your area.

Pro tip: You can verify the local channels you’ll have access to with an antenna by entering your zip code on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Reception Map Tool.

One of our favorite antennas is the Mohu Leaf 50 ($47.20 on Amazon). It can receive TV signals from 60 miles away and has 4K capabilities. But if you want something cheaper or more robust, you can check out our complete Best Antennas for Cord-Cutters guide.

Final take

All the services we mentioned will get you plenty of live NBA game access—it just depends on your focus.

DIRECTV STREAM is a championship-caliber service because it carries many regional sports networks. That’s important for watching in-market games for those who support a local team. You can also get out-of-market NBA games through DIRECTV STREAM when you combine it with NBA League Pass—enabling you to access every NBA game all in one place.

Sling TV offers cheaper plans with basic national NBA coverage, but you still have the option to add NBA League Pass. The same goes for YouTube TV, which provides more features and popular channels that benefit WNBA and college basketball fans.

Ultimately, the ball is in your court. But no matter which service you choose, we know it’ll have you ready for tip-off.

How to watch NBA games FAQ

Can I watch NBA games without cable?

Yes, you can watch NBA games without cable by subscribing to streaming services like DIRECTV STREAM, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. NBA League Pass is also available as a standalone NBA streaming service for out-of-market coverage in the NBA app. Or you can watch some games with the help of an HD antenna.

How much is NBA TV?

NBA TV is a channel included in most TV providers’ higher-tiered plans. But you can also purchase NBA TV as a standalone subscription for $6.99 a month through the same site that offers NBA League Pass.

Can I watch NBA on Amazon Prime?

Yes, you can watch live out-of-market NBA games on Amazon Prime Video if you purchase NBA League Pass through your Prime Video account. You can also watch select WNBA games on Prime Video during the summer.

How can I watch NBA Summer League?

The NBA Summer League usually takes place in July with games airing on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and NBA TV. Sling TV offers the cheapest way to get all four channels through its Sling Orange plan ($40 monthly) with the Sports Extra add-on ($11 monthly).

Methodology

Our sports-minded experts conducted approximately 40 hours of research and hands-on testing to determine the best ways to watch the latest NBA season. We compared TV plans and prices by examining channel lineups, hidden fees, and extra features.

To learn more about our methods, check out our How We Rank page.

Disclaimer

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Limited Time Offer. $20 discount each month for first 2 months. Regular monthly price thereafter. New customers only. Available in select sales channels only. Restrictions apply.

**Data connection req’d. Recordings expire after 9 months. In a series recording, max 30 episodes stored with unlimited hours of cloud DVR and max 10 episodes stored with 20 hours of cloud DVR (oldest deleted first which may be in less than 9 months). Restrictions apply.

Amazon.com price as of 10/4/22 1:45 p.m. CT. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

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