NBA Cuts ‘League Pass’ Price 56% Amid Streaming Battles

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The NBA will offer its out-of-market streaming service at a dramatically lower price this season as leagues continue to grow their direct-to-consumer businesses.

The League Pass standard package (which now includes NBA TV access too) will cost $100 for the 2022-23 season, according to renewal notices recently sent to subscribers, down from $230. Fans can also opt to pay $15/month. The premium package, which allows for multiple streams and doesn’t include commercials, will see its price lowered from $280 to $130, according to a league source.

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The price changes bring the NBA’s streaming product in line with other digital services. Netflix’s standard plan, for instance, currently costs $15.49 per month. ESPN+, meanwhile, recently announced plans to raise its annual fee to $100.

Competition for streaming eyeballs—and dollars—has gotten serious this year. Stock prices of Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney have all suffered in 2022, amid concerns about the overall size of the streaming market as well as any one company’s ability to command a significant share of that market for an extended period.

Out-of-market NHL games are now part of ESPN+’s offering, while MLB.TV starts at $140 and the NFL’s digital Sunday Ticket product costs close to $300—for this season at least. The NFL also launched NFL+—a cheaper, mobile-focused product—ahead of this season. It starts at $5/month, featuring access to local and primetime broadcasts.

The NBA, which jointly manages League Pass with Turner Sports, has found creative ways to increase the platform’s user base. This year, League Pass access is being bundled with a special $150 version of the NBA 2K video game. League Pass is also being offered to certain NBA Top Shot users in collaboration with Dapper Labs, though details of that opportunity have not been announced.

Given its young-skewing audience, the NBA has faced the challenge of reaching cord-cutters for years, including offering parts of games for as little as $1.99.

“There’s more interest in our product than ratings reflect,” Silver said in 2019. “The problem is there is a large pool of audience out there who don’t pay for basic cable, so they can’t get it. That’s a problem we can figure out over time.” Last year, Silver called cable’s bundle structure “clearly broken.”

The league has also used NBA League Pass as a place to experiment with presentation innovations, including having former pros, analytics experts and online creators offer alternative broadcasts of games.

This latest change comes ahead of the league’s much-discussed upcoming rights negotiation period. Its nine-year, $24-billion deal with ESPN and Turner is set to expire after the 2024-25 campaign. The NBA is reportedly seeking a $75 billion haul this time around.

Additional reporting by Daniel Libit

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