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Editor's note: due to the COVID-19 crisis, many sports leagues and special events have been canceled or postponed. Portions of this article may not apply during the crisis. If you're looking for something else to watch, check our favorite streaming services!

The 2019-20 NBA season is here, which means that it's time once again to take a look at all the ways that you can watch NBA games without cable. You can catch every thrilling moment all season long without ever having to pay a cable bill — provided that you have the right combination of online streaming services, skinny bundles, and over-the-air solutions. As for getting that combination, well, just read on: this is our guide to watching NBA basketball online and over the air without a cable contract.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream NBA games:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$39.99 – $44.99 85 – 100+ 7 days

See Offer

$25 – $40 32 – 52 7 days

See Offer

(Not a basketball person? Check out our guides on how to watch NHL games online, how to watch the NFL online, and how to stream the baseball playoffs.)

What channels are NBA Games on?

There are two basic ways to watch NBA basketball without cable. One it to turn to the NBA's own app, NBA League Pass, which we'll talk about in a bit. The other is to track down the TV channels that show NBA basketball and find ways to access them without paying for cable. To pull off that latter move, we first need to know what channels NBA basketball is shown on. Here's your handy list!

  • ABC – ABC is the home of some of the NBA's biggest games, including every game of the NBA finals.
  • ESPN – ESPN, which shares a parent company with ABC, also has a boatload of big-time games. ESPN's broadcasts include the popular Christmas Day games.
  • TNT – TNT shows nationally televised NBA games.
  • NBA TV – Naturally, the NBA's own TV channel is a pretty good source for basketball games. It also has lots of news and other NBA-focused programming.
  • Regional sports networks (RSNs) – Your local team isn't on national TV every time they hit the court. Other times, they're going to be on a regional sports network, or “RSN.”

How to watch NBA basketball online and over the air

To watch the channels that have NBA basketball without cable, we can use live TV streaming services, or “skinny bundles.” These bundles are sort of like cable for the streaming set: You pay every month and can watch a bunch of TV channels live. The deals are much better than they were with legacy pay TV (like satellite and cable), though! There are no long-term contracts, and these “skinnier” bundles of channels tend to be cheaper than their cable and satellite counterparts.

We'll kick off our list with skinny bundles, but we won't stop there. We'll also show you how to catch some NBA games free using over-the-air TV. And we'll be sure to talk about NBA League Pass, too. Let's get to the list!

Stream NBA basketball for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu's entry into the skinny bundle market works a lot like the services that were already available. It offers access to ABC, ESPN, and TNT, among other channels, though NBA TV is not available through the service. Many viewers will find their RSNs included in Hulu + Live TV. The channel selection varies slightly from market to market based on the availability of local major-network and RSN broadcasts (a typical thing with skinny bundles), but Hulu + Live TV keeps things simple by offering just one package and limiting add-ons. That makes it less customizable, but also really easy to figure out. You can read our review of Hulu + Live TV to learn more, or you can just check out the service for yourself by taking advantage of the week-long free trial.

Stream NBA basketball for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV is a skinny bundle that once focused entirely on soccer. Now re-branded as a general interest skinny bundle with a particularly pro-sports stance, fuboTV has become an option for fans of sports that let players use their hands. The good news is that fuboTV has NBA TV in its basic channel package, but the bad news is that it lacks some channels that are really important to NBA fans (like ESPN). fuboTV has a free trial that is worth checking out for action on NBA TV, but it lags a bit behind the competition when it comes to catching the biggest regular-season games. You can read our review of fuboTV here.

Stream NBA basketball with Sling TV

Try It

Sling TV is a skinny bundle, so we're talking about paying a low price and a selection of channels that includes basketball fan essentials like ESPN. Sling TV has a free trial as well, so you can try it out for free on the night of a big game that you just can't miss. The unique thing about Sling TV is its a la carte setup, which allows you to select small, genre-specific add-on packages of channels to your base package in order to create a custom setup. It's easy to create a bundle that includes ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. Many RSNs are included, too. The bad news? No ABC, we're afraid. You can read our review of Sling TV to learn more, or you can try it for yourself by signing up via the link in this section.

AT&T TV Now

AT&T TV Now is AT&T's take on the live TV streaming service. Its robust channel selection includes ABC, ESPN, and TNT. AT&T TV Now also has a pretty great selection of RSNs. Read our review of AT&T TV Now to learn more. To test out the service for yourself, just check out the free trial offer.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is the live TV streaming service from Google, and it's a great choice for fans of the NBA. YouTube TV's channel selection includes ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. It also includes some RSNs. That's a great lineup of channels for anyone who wants to watch NBA basketball online!

Over-the-air TV

While the NBA doesn't air as many games on major networks as, say, the NFL, it still shows some big-time games on ABC. That makes it worth investing in an antenna, which may allow you to receive ABC broadcasts for free. You won't be able to pick up games on network channels like ESPN, though — as far as free and over-the-air goes, your best option for those games will be radio.

NBA League Pass

Like most major sports leagues, the NBA has its own exclusive streaming service. The NBA's version is called NBA League Pass, and it works pretty much like MLB.TV, NHL.TV (formerly NHL GameCenter Live), and the rest: You'll get all of the regular season games except for the ones that air in your local market on local or national broadcasts. While we can't vouch for it personally like we can with MLB.TV, it offers a lot of basketball on a lot of devices. NBA League Pass offers a single-team option, too.

Can I watch the NBA on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

We've given you some great ways to watch the NBA online or over-the-air, no cable required. But what about your favorite smart TV or streaming device — can you use it with the options that we suggested? Generally, yes! Here's what you need to know about platform support for the options above.

Roku users, you guys can enjoy the NBA on Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV all work on Fire TV, too.

Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV support Apple TV.

Chromecast plays nice with Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Android TV users can choose between Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

Mobile devices are covered, too! Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV each have apps for both iOS and Android devices.

Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV all work on desktop and laptop computers, too.

Even video game systems are covered. Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV work on Xbox One video game consoles. Hulu + Live TV works on PlayStation 4 consoles.

If you're going the OTA route, you can connect your antenna to a smart TV that uses a platform like Roku or Fire TV. You could also attach your antenna to an OTA DVR, then use an app on a platform like Roku to access your live and recorded TV on your favorite screen.

NBA League Pass offers great platform support, too. NBA League Pass has apps for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, iOS, Android, PC/Mac, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

2 thoughts on “How to Watch NBA Basketball Online in 2019-2020

  1. Tyler Miranda says:

    I’d like to point out Ballstreams. I’ve used it for a few years now and it works really well. There is even Kodi and Emby plugins. I believe registration is not always open though.

  2. Wade Gutt says:

    League Pass is worse than last year. No way anyone should pay $200 for the freezing, glitches, non loading videos.

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