Attention basketball fanatics: The 2018-19 NBA season kicks off on October 16! Fans in Australia will be able to catch the action live in a variety of ways. We break down the best NBA streaming options - from 100% official, to the dubious-yet-free.
When Does The NBA Season Start?
The 73rd NBA season kicks off on October 16, 2018, and ends on April 10, 2019. There are a few notable rule changes this year, including shortening the game clock to 14 seconds during offensive rebounds and allowing instant replays to determine hostile acts. Here's how to watch the full season in Australia.
How Can I Watch The NBA In Australia?
Foxtel / ESPN
NBA games are not broadcast on free-to-air TV in Australia. However, ESPN, part of Foxtel’s Sports package, airs five live games every week. In all, more than 1200 games will be broadcast between now and the end of the season next April.
Despite a recent price hike, signing up to a Foxtel Now streaming package remains the cheapest way to watch the NBA on Foxtel. For starters, you don't need to fork out a $100 installation fee and you also get two weeks free.
Foxtel Now allows you to stream ESPN via a tablet, smartphone, PC, Chromecast, Telstra TV, PlayStation 4 or compatible smart TV. You can have up to three registered devices at a time. On the downside, it only streams games at 720p.
NBA League Pass
If you're keen to watch every NBA game possible, your best bet is an NBA League Pass. This will give you access to every single game of the season live, including the playoffs.
However, it's not cheap - a League Pass will set you back an eye=watering $299.99 per year. Alternatively, a Game Pass nets you eight games per month for $109.99. This option includes games from the regular season, NBA Playoffs / Finals, and select summer games. If you’re only interested in one team, you can watch all their games - by no others - for $19.99 per month or $169.99 for the year. Annoyingly, you don't get access to the NBA Playoffs with this plan if your team fails to advance.
NBA League Pass via VPN
There is one way to get the entire season, every team, every game for ultra-cheap though.
Spotted by a clever OzBargain user, it's possible to sign up to a League Pass via the Argentina version of the website. This brings the total to under $90!
To get the deal, you will need to sign up to a VPN with Argentina servers, but you don't have to actually pay anything - simply sign up to a free trial and follow these steps:
- Sign up for a free 3 day trial with NordVPN
- Once you click on the activation email, download and install the nordvpn software
- In nordvpn, select to connect to Argentina server
- Go to https://watch.nba.com/packages and sign up for annual package which should be 2499.99 ARS. (If it is still quoting AUD price, then try loading the page in incognito mode.)
- Enter your credit card details - you can select Australia in the country.
You might know what a virtual private network (VPN) is, but the odds of you actually using one are low. You really should be using a VPN — ultimately, you may end up seeing it as just as vital as your internet connection. We'll tell you why, explain how to choose a VPN provider and list five that are worth considering.
Another way to stream games is through online betting agencies, subject to some terms and conditions that make accessing them a little restrictive. This is still pay-to-watch, it’s just that in this case, you have a chance of getting your money back. For instance, William Hill suggests that you can stream and bet on every NBA Game Live. However, in the fine print there are some eligibility criteria that must be met:
- You must have a positive balance in your betting account
- You must have placed a wager in the preceding 24 hours
Bet365 offer live streaming too, with similar terms and conditions: You must have a funded Sports account or have placed a bet within the last 24 hours.
Ladbrokes also offers some matches but, having spoken to a representative of the company, they don't advertise this routinely due to 'feed instability'
How to watch NBA games in Australia for free
The Reddit community r/nbastreams routinely shares links to free NBA streams on game day. Naturally, these links can be legally dubious so we advise using at your own risk.
Alternatively, there's nothing stopping you from wandering down to your local sports bar whenever your favourite team is playing - just go easy on the overpriced drinks or you'll end up worse off than paying for a stream!
Additional reporting by Jackson Ryan.