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NBA League Pass Review 2021

NBA League Pass features live games and replays from the world’s premier basketball league. We break down whether or not the service is a slam dunk for NBA fans.

Price: $28.99–$39.99/mo.

Features: Up to 40 live NBA regular season games per week and replays

In what will be the league’s 76th term, the NBA returns to a full 82-game regular season for the 2021/22 campaign that begins on October 19. If you want access to more NBA games than what your local station and/or cable network can provide you, then NBA League Pass should definitely be on your radar.

NBA League Pass pros and cons

Pros

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

Cons

  • High price
  • No live locally or nationally televised games
  • Delayed replay access for blacked out games

What is NBA League Pass?

NBA League Pass  is an out-of-market sports package available as an online streaming subscription and as an add-on through cable and satellite TV providers. With on-demand access to around 40 live games per week and full-game replays, the service is the prime destination for NBA coverage.

The service offers two primary subscription plans: NBA League Pass ($28.99/mo.) and NBA League Pass Premium ($39.99/mo.). Plus, the NBA offers its NBA TV channel ($3.99/mo.) as an add-on to any League Pass subscription purchased online. We’ll go more in-depth on prices later.

What separates the premium plan from the basic plan is the ability to watch games without commercials. For instance, the premium stream will remain in-arena while timeouts occur instead of jumping to a commercial break. The premium plan also allows you to watch on two devices at the same time.

What is NBA Team Pass?

The NBA also offers an abbreviated version of NBA League Pass called NBA Team Pass. With this subscription, you will choose one of the NBA’s 30 teams that you want out-of-market access to.

If you were to sign up for Team Pass and choose the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, you’d have access to only League Pass games featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo and company. This also applies to the archived games that League Pass has to offer. Be aware, all of the same features and restrictions that come with the basic League Pass also come with Team Pass.

NBA Team Pass is $17.99 per month or $119.99 annually. It’s a steep price for getting only one team’s content, but if you don’t care to watch any team but your own, it might be worth it to you. For everyone else, we suggest sticking with NBA League Pass.

Is NBA League Pass worth it?

NBA League Pass  is only worth it if you want to watch out-of-market games. Navigating broadcast blackouts can be annoying, but NBA League Pass is a great complimentary service to anyone who already has access to their national and local NBA channels. Having out-of-market access gives you around 40 more live games each week that you’d otherwise be missing out on.

Beyond that, the service also gives you the ability to listen to every live NBA game regardless of blackouts, and it’s home to on-demand classic games if you’re feeling particularly nostalgic.

Above all, what makes NBA League Pass a dynamic service is the ability to select between home and away team feeds. This feature is especially beneficial if you prefer listening to certain play-by-play announcers.

You can also view live in-game stats and watch up to four games at once in a mosaic view available only in web browsers. Spanish and social influencer broadcasts are also available for select weekly games.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to NBA League Pass too. Nationally blacked out games aren’t available until three hours after the game ends, and locally blacked out games aren’t available until three days after the broadcast. It’s also important to note that League Pass doesn’t include the NBA Playoffs live, since those are nationally televised. WNBA games and the NBA Summer League are also not included.

Flaws aside, if you’re a die-hard fan, then NBA League Pass is exactly the kind of service you can’t pass up.

Pro tip: Viewing the NBA schedule online is the best way to determine if NBA League Pass is worth it to you. The schedule displays every game’s broadcasters, highlighting which local and/or national channel each game will air on. You’ll see the League Pass logo when a national channel is not airing a game. From there, you’ll want to double check that the local channels listed are not available in your area, meaning it won’t be blacked out for you.

How much does NBA League Pass cost?

NBA League Pass gives you the option to pay monthly or annually for its plans.

Monthly price Annual price Simultaneous streams Details
$3.99/mo. $29.99 0

$17.99/mo. $119.99 0

$28.99/mo. $199.99 0

$39.99/mo. $249.99 2

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

We recommend the League Pass ($28.99/mo.) plan to get the most value for your money.

To include NBA TV with your subscription, it’s now only an additional $3.99 per month. That’s a good deal for an additional 100 games—a separate subscription to NBA TV costs $6.99 per month or $59.99 annually.

How does NBA League Pass work?

First, of course, you’ve got to sign up for NBA League Pass, and fortunately, you have lots of options. You can sign up with the service directly online, through live TV streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Sling TV, or through your traditional TV provider like DIRECTV and Xfinity. The prices and plan options may vary slightly depending on what route you go. Unless you prefer a certain TV service or provider’s interface, we recommend purchasing directly online for the most straightforward sign-up process.

After signing up, you’ll need to download the NBA app or log on to NBA.com to access your League Pass content.

How to stream NBA League Pass on the NBA app

  1. Search “NBA” in your device’s app store.
  2. Select and download the NBA app.
  3. Open the app and navigate to Settings.
  4. Sign in with either your NBA.com account or your TV provider’s credentials.
  5. Start streaming.

Within the NBA app, you can select the Games tab to find past, current, and upcoming matches. There’s also a dedicated NBA TV tab where you can watch the add-on channel live or choose to watch its on-demand programming.

NBA app compatible devices

  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 5
  • Roku
  • Xbox One

Can I access NBA League Pass content with a VPN?

You can use a VPN (virtual private network) to access local blackout games on NBA League Pass . For instance, if you’re a Detroit Pistons fan living in Michigan, all you need to do is connect to a VPN server outside of the Greater Michigan area in order to watch Pistons games on League Pass.

Nationally blacked-out games are little different. You must connect to a VPN server in another country to get around these. That can lead to internet speed issues, which is why you’ll want to connect to a foreign server that is located as close to you as possible. Canada and Mexico are good places to start.

Unfortunately, VPNs are not always foolproof. Internet connectivity and server issues can sometimes plague VPN usage. Yet, a reliable VPN and a solid understanding of blackout zones can be very beneficial to any super fan looking to absorb as much NBA content as possible.

NBA League Pass vs. NBA TV

NBA TV is an actual TV channel that airs up to 100 live NBA games per season that are blacked out on League Pass. On the other hand, NBA League Pass  is a full-fledged audio and video subscription service. Like many other TV services, NBA League Pass offers NBA TV as an add-on to give you a more complete NBA experience. Basically, NBA TV is the Scottie Pippen to NBA League Pass’s Michael Jordan.

Screenshot of NBC TV on mobile
Screenshot of NBA League Pass on mobile

You can access both your NBA TV and NBA League Pass subscriptions through the official NBA app.

NBA TV is easier to understand if you think of it like TNT or any typical TV channel. It’ll provide you with a few matches each game week, though many of the marquee match-ups are saved for the likes of TNT and ESPN. When matches aren’t taking place on NBA TV, the channel typically airs classic matches, studio shows, and other original programming.

NBA League Pass, meanwhile, shouldn’t be thought of as a cable channel. Instead, it’s a service that’s accessible on a variety of different platforms. You can sign up through satellite and cable providers such as DIRECTV and Xfinity, where NBA League Pass’s live games will appear on dedicated channels. But, you can also sign up for League Pass online and stream its live games and on-demand content on web, mobile, and TV-connected devices.

Ultimately, if you’re going to buy NBA League Pass, you might as well buy NBA TV too. The channel only costs $3.99 per month or $29.99 annually as an add-on, and it has a lot of its own original content to keep you happy even during the off-season. Plus, you don’t wanna miss out on those 100 exclusive games.

Final take

At first glance, NBA League Pass comes with a hefty price. The cost is especially unflattering given the fact that not all NBA games are available to watch live through the service due to blackouts.

But we still think NBA League Pass is worth it if basketball is on your mind day and night because it gives you the most games possible. It’ll be hard to get all 30 NBA teams and their 82 regular season games without it. Having access to on-demand classic and archived games is also a big plus.

NBA League Pass FAQ

What does NBA League Pass get you?

NBA League Pass gives you access to live, out-of-market NBA games unaffected by local and national blackouts. All league games are available to watch on replay. The service also provides access to on-demand classic and archived games.

What is the difference between NBA TV and League Pass?

NBA TV is an individual TV channel like ESPN or ABC. It provides 24/7 NBA coverage, including up to 100 live NBA games throughout the season and its own studio shows. By comparison, NBA League Pass is a service that provides you with out-of-market games not already televised on channels like ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV.

Does NBA League Pass give you every game?

NBA League Pass gives you access to every live NBA game that is not subject to a local or national broadcasting blackout. Locally blacked out games become available three days after their initial broadcast. Games that are nationally televised become available to watch three hours after their initial broadcast concludes. So if you’re the patient type, you can definitely get every game with NBA League Pass.

Is NBA League Pass free with Amazon Prime?

NBA League Pass isn’t free on Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime Video subscribers sometimes get free previews of games, but getting complete access to NBA League Pass will cost you $28.99 per month.

How do you get NBA League Pass for free?

There are currently no free trials for NBA League Pass. But the NBA will occasionally offer trial periods during various parts of the season.

How much is NBA League Pass right now?

NBA League Pass costs $28.99 per month for a standard subscription and $39.99 per month for NBA League Pass Premium. You also have the option to sign up for either plan on an annual basis. Annual subscriptions are cheaper in the long run and automatically renew at the start of the next season.

Methodology

Our TV experts went hard in the paint for two weeks, watching and researching NBA League Pass so we can tell you whether or not it’s worth your money. While it costs more than Major League Baseball’s out-of-market equivalent (MLB.TV is $24.99/mo.), it has several comparable features such as viewing in-game stats and the option to choose between home and away broadcasts.

For more information on how we work, check out our How We Rank page.