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Turn Off the TV, Turn on Your Phone or Tablet and Watch Sports

Over the past five years, many sports leagues, television networks, and college athletic conferences have realized that the best way to showcase their product may not be on over-the-air television anymore. Streaming sports have made games more accessible to fans and bettors alike. 

On a standard winter weekday, there are over 100 NCAA college basketball games. For those making college basketball picks, having even one-quarter of those on over-the-air television would be a pipe dream. Now, with the advent of streaming and its rising popularity and availability, even the most obscure games from the northern tip of Maine to the mountains of Colorado are available live.

While there are a number of options on the market to stream live sports, today, we will take a look at products sponsored by sports leagues. While there are many services such as Fubo, Sling, and Hulu, let’s focus on those streams directly from the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB.

Of course, with the proliferation of Smart TV technology, if fans are at home, they can easily stream games onto a big-screen TV of their choice and not even know the difference.

Following the Bouncing Ball

Like all the major U.S. sports, the NBA has its own television network. It also offers its own streaming service, NBA League Pass. This service is $99.99 per season with an option to upgrade to the premium package for $129.99. The premium service allows fans to watch games commercial-free on two devices. When the regular broadcast cuts to commercials, fans with the premium package will switch over to the in-arena camera. 

While games in your local market are blacked out with this and many of the other services, this is a good option to watch as many games as possible. One of the advantages of this particular platform is that fans have the option of selecting the home or visiting team feed. So, if someone follows a certain team all season long and prefers to get the analysis from their team’s point of view, this comes in handy.

Newest Kid on the Streaming Block

Probably the sport that has fallen victim to piracy and illegality more than any other, the NFL launched its own streaming service. By far, America’s most popular television sport, fans have an insatiable appetite for the gridiron game as NFL preseason contests often draw better ratings than baseball playoff games. 

As such, NFL+ was launched this year. The sticker price for the basic version is $39.99, while the upgraded version goes for $79.99 per season. The upgraded version provides commercial-free replays along with coaches’ “All 22” film shot from the end zone and giving fans a full view of the entire field.

Now, there is a catch. Subscribers to NFL + can ONLY view local games in their market (for example: if you live in Boston or Providence, you’ll be able to stream the Patriots) and every national primetime game, including the Thursday Night Amazon TV package. While this service is far more restrictive than the others, it is a step forward in the NFL making its sacred product available on phones and tablets.

Getting to Center Ice

 

NHL Center Ice is a product of the National Hockey League that allows users to stream up to 40 games per week. The way this service, and all others, works is that NHL Center Ice pulls local broadcasts and presents them to fans on their devices. Whether the game is in the U.S. or North of the Border, fans can see their favorite teams play.

 

The upside to Center Ice is the cost of just $69.99 per season. The downside is now that ESPN+ (another streaming service) has gotten into hockey, for just $30 more, fans can get everything that’s available on ESPN + as well as more games produced by the ESPN family of networks.

 

Every Pitch, Every Swing

 

MLB Extra Innings is somewhat of a pioneer in the streaming game, having been around since 1996, well before the other leagues saw the need to go digital through MLB.TV. While the yearly price is somewhat steep, $183 dollars per season, fans must consider that MLB plays nearly twice as many regular season games (162) as the other leagues.

 

This service does black out local games but does give viewers the version of selecting the home team or road team feed. In addition, technology has improved, so fans wishing to listen to a radio feed can sync the feed with the television broadcast.

 

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