I was reading this article in Time and the following resonated with me from a Raptors context:

More importantly, these networks, and the powers than be in general in sports and TV, are well aware that live sports is the largest reason many Americans continue to cut a check for a monthly pay TV bill. Time Warner, which owns TBS, TNT, TruTV, CNN, and many other cable networks (and, for a little while longer, Time Inc. and Time.com), obviously has great interest in keeping levels of cable-paying households high. They want cord cutting to hurt, or at least be difficult and impractical for sports fans to circumvent, and moving the Final Four to cable does just that.

This is totally true. The Raptors are the only reason I have cable and I’m sure I’m not alone here. With Netflix, Hulu and “other sources” of getting your entertainment plentiful, the primary motivation for someone like me to even think about cable is live sports. The bad news for cable companies is that that won’t last either, because with increasing bandwith caps, the existence of offerings such as NBA League Pass combined with easy ways of circumventing location blackouts, fans will find a way to get to the content they want.

The issue here is ease. It’s not very easy for the “normal Joe” to get a VPN service or proxy service, configure and fire it up, startup league pass, and somehow project it onto your TV.  Things like Chromecast might help but that technology is a little ways away from being perfect. Certainly, it’s not a one-click solution like your TV, but give it time and someone from Silicon Valley will see to it that I don’t have to have the third-level Rogers package just so I can enjoy the local basketball team.

  • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

    I would pay a hefty fee to League Pass every year if only I could watch Raptors games on it live, but not as high as cable with every channel that covers the Raptors included. We did LP last year and enjoyed games for other teams, but it was a no-brainer that it wasn’t worth it again without being able to watch the Raptors or the Playoffs. Lift those blackouts, get out an Xbox One app (there is one for 360), and it would be a no-brainer the other way, even if they cranked up the price some more. I get why the NBA doesn’t want to alienate their traditional partners but eventually they’re going to have to say “screw them” and provide those of us in the cord-cutter generation other ways to watch the games.

  • Ian Reynolds

    One issue with the cord cutting is that League Pass Broadband for the PC has been so brutally unreliable (I’ve been told dozens of times, at least) that it has to be losing the league revenue – I have a bunch of friends with cable for sports only, and none of them have heard a good enough reason to move to LPBB – the NBA’s customer service is apparently garbage in this situation. That’s 0 dollars coming from my group of friends, plus whatever pittance comes from cable packages, when the league could have 100 bucks a pop from us no problem if they fixed their inconsistent offering online.

  • llaen

    I actually find NBA league pass fairly pricey, especially given the fact they expect you to not be able to watch your local team at all (regardless of whether you manage to circumvent that or not). If they did allow that, the price would be even higher.

    Add to that a subscription to something like sportsnet world if you want to watch soccer (for example) and you end up paying a price similar to cable for only two sports.

    Aren’t monopolies/oligopolies the best?

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Big Business loves Big Government.


      Comcast, which employs more than 100 lobbyists, spent almost $19 million last year on lobbying activities. Its president and CEO, Brian L. Roberts, is a golf buddy of President Obama’s, and a Democratic donor who has contributed thousands of dollars not only to the president’s campaigns, but also to the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the DNC Services Corporation, and to Steny Hoyer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bob Casey. Roberts’ executive vice president, David Cohen, is a former aide to Democratic bigwig Ed Rendell. Cohen skirts lobbying regulations through loopholes, has raised more than $2 million for Obama since 2007, and in 2011 hosted a DNC fundraiser at which the president called him “friend.” Cohen has visited the White House 14 times since 2010, including two visits to the Oval Office. He attended the recent dinner for President Hollande of France.

  • BigDickKamen

    league pass is a rip off, ballstreams.com you’ll thank me later its cheap amazing quality live chat works on iPhone too

  • The Red Fury

    Too true. Live sports is the only reason I still have cable.