How to Watch NBA Without Cable: The Ultimate Guide to Streaming Options

How to Watch NBA Without Cable: The Ultimate Guide to Streaming Options

The NBA season offers a thrilling spectacle for basketball fans, but for those without a cable subscription, it can be challenging to catch all the action. Thankfully, there are various streaming options available that allow you to watch your favorite teams and games without a cable subscription. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the best ways to watch NBA games without cable, including over-the-air broadcasts, streaming services, and league-specific subscriptions.

Over-the-Air Broadcasts ABC

One of the simplest ways to watch NBA games without cable is through over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts. ABC, a major network, airs a selected number of high-profile games throughout the season, including marquee matchups and Christmas Day games. To access ABC for free, all you need is an OTA TV antenna and a location within the broadcast radius of your local ABC affiliate's tower.

Antenna Selection for your OTA TV

Choosing the right antenna is essential for optimal reception of OTA broadcasts. There are numerous options available, but some of the best TV antennas for cord-cutters include the Winegard FlatWave Amped, Mohu Leaf 50, and ClearStream Eclipse.

Streaming Services

If OTA options are not sufficient for your NBA viewing needs, there are several streaming services that provide access to national broadcasts and regional sports networks (RSNs).

Sling TV

Sling TV is an affordable streaming service that offers access to ESPN/ESPN2 and TNT through its Orange package for $40 per month. Adding the Sports Extra add-on for an additional $11 per month will grant you access to NBA TV as well.

DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream offers a comprehensive lineup of channels for NBA fans, including ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and NBA TV through its basic Entertainment package for $84.99 per month. It also offers a wide range of RSNs, making it an excellent choice for viewers looking to follow their local team.

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu with Live TV provides access to ABC, ESPN/ESPN2, and TNT for a flat fee of $69.99 per month. However, it does not offer NBA TV, which may be a dealbreaker for some basketball enthusiasts.

YouTube TV

Similar to Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV offers access to ABC, ESPN/ESPN2, and TNT for $72.99 per month. The addition of NBA TV gives YouTube TV an edge over Hulu for NBA fans.


FuboTV offers ABC and ESPN in its $74.99-per-month Pro package, but it does not include TNT. Regional networks NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are available, making it an attractive option for fans of the Kings, Warriors, Lakers, or Clippers. NBA TV can be added with the Sports Lite add-on for $9.99 per month.

NBA League Pass

For diehard basketball fans, an NBA League Pass subscription may be the ultimate solution. For $100 per year or $15 per month, you can watch every live out-of-market game that isn't being broadcast nationally on one of the four major networks. League Pass also offers multiple viewing options, including home, away, mobile view, and additional languages and camera angles.

NBA League Pass Premium

For $130 per year or $20 per month, you can upgrade to NBA League Pass Premium, which allows you to stream games on two devices simultaneously and watch all games commercial-free.

NBA Team Pass

If you're only interested in following your favorite team, NBA Team Pass offers a more affordable alternative at $90 per year. This subscription grants access to all your team's local broadcasts for both home and away games.

Blackout Restrictions

It's important to note that NBA blackout rules still apply to both NBA Team Pass and NBA League Pass. If you live in your team's home market, you may not be able to watch their games with these subscriptions. To determine blackout zones, the NBA uses a combination of zip code, cable system distribution territory, IP address, or mobile device GPS coordinates.

VPN Services

If you're facing blackout restrictions, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service can help bypass these restrictions by masking your location. Some reliable VPN options include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost.

International Streaming Options

For international NBA fans, there are several streaming options available outside the United States. NBA League Pass is available worldwide, providing access to live games and on-demand content. Additionally, some countries have specific streaming services that offer access to NBA games, such as Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and DAZN in Canada.

Radio Broadcasts

If you're unable to find a suitable streaming option, consider tuning in to your team's games via radio broadcasts. Many local radio stations and the NBA's official app offer live audio commentary for all games.

Social Media and Highlights

For fans who can't catch live games, following your favorite team and players on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can help you stay updated on the latest news, scores, and highlights. Additionally, the official NBA YouTube channel offers game recaps and highlight reels.

Bars and Restaurants

If all else fails, heading to a local sports bar or restaurant that airs NBA games can be a fun way to catch the action with fellow fans.

In conclusion, there are plenty of options available for watching NBA games without a cable subscription. Whether you opt for over-the-air broadcasts, streaming services, or league-specific subscriptions, you can enjoy all the excitement and drama of the NBA season without being tied down to a cable provider.

Author: Dan Anderson