The NBA League Pass package for next season will include two new features: a single-team package for $119.99 and the ability to purchase single non-national TV games for $6.99. It's not clear which cable providers will participate, but the option will be available on broadband, tablet and mobile.
The full League Pass package will still be available for $199.99, but these changes are designed to help consumers better personalize their league experience. The NBA used to offer a five-team package for a similar price to the single-team one, but appear to be discontinuing it. That makes sense because many NBA consumers follow individual teams.
NBA League Pass is certainly more flexible than other sport options. NFL Sunday Ticket is only available on DirectTV, and while one can purchase an online streaming replay service for around $70 and individual games on iTunes for $1.99, those are only available after the fact. The NHL is beginning a team-specific service this year that's expected to cost around $105, but that's only available online. MLB offers monthly and yearly price points for MLB.tv, and Extra Innings, but no team-specific packages. MLS also does not offer a single-team package for Direct Kick.
Still, the $6.99 price for a single game isn't cheap. It's far below the cost of a big UFC or boxing event, but it's also at least twice the price of many movies on demand. The immediacy of a sporting event compared to a movie likely accounts for that jump -- you can watch a movie anytime, but most people only want to watch games live.
However, how many of these games will non-League Pass subscribers want to purchase before they happen? I can think of two obvious ones from last year: the Feb. 6 showdown between the league-leading Hawks and Warriors and the must-win Pelicans season finale against the Spurs. There are surely a few others, but at a certain point, what's the real value for customers as compared to buying the full package or just missing those games? This is especially true if the NBA, as promised, grows more flexible with switching out undesirable national TV games.
Nevertheless, the NBA has always been willing to try new things with their TV package. These measures are just the latest example.
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