The Portland Trail Blazers are live-streaming NBA games inside its TV territory. But this isn’t a TV Everywhere play.
Rather, it’s a continuation of the pay-per-view gambit the club has been using to bridge the distribution gaps in its coverage area.
Tipping off Nov. 8 with the Blazers-Sacramento Kings, the 58-game package is available for $99.99 to fans that live in areas where Comcast SportsNet Northwest is not available.
The Trail Blazers became the first NBA franchise to begin streaming its games dating back to the 2009-2010 season. Since then, the club, which is teaming with NeuLion, has provided a streaming option every campaign. The package is available to non-CSN Northwest subscribers at trailblazerslive.neulion.com.
In September, Charter began offering CSN Northwest on its expanded basic digital level of service to150 communities in coastal, southern, central and eastern Oregon and parts of Washington. The MSO joins Comcast and a host of smaller providers in offering the RSN: Ashland TV, Beaver Creek Telcom, Bend Broadband, Canby Telcom, Frontier Communications, MiNet Fiber, Monroe Telephone, Oregon Cable/Reliance Connects, Scio Cablevision and Wave Broadband.
CSN Northwest, which launched in 2007, has been unable to secure carriage with DirecTV and Dish.
“As an organization, we want to ensure that Trail Blazers fans throughout the region have the ability to access our game broadcasts,” said Chris McGowan, president and CEO of the Trail Blazers and Moda Center in a statement. “One step toward accomplishing that is through live streaming in areas that have no other viewing option.”
A number of RSNs are expected to begin offering TV Everywhere-streaming of NBA games to authenticated viewers this season, perhaps as early as next month. To facilitate this push, the NBA will drop a $3,500 rights fee it had charged per game in each market, a fee the RSNs believe should have been waived considering the considerable outlays they make in securing linear rights. Moreover, the league will enable the RSNs to house video players on their sites.
But programmers say the league has not yet finalized the deal authorizing TVE.
When the deal is done, a number of RSNs are expected to join Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, both of which streamed Los Angeles Lakers' contests during the 2012-13 season and are again making the team's games available to its affiliates' authenticated subcribers.