Cutting the cord on Cable TV is often a difficult choice to make when you still want to watch pro sports live. Despite the cost savings, adding sports packages or local coverage can quickly add up, and then there are those pesky sports blackout rules that can defeat the best-laid plans.
There are plenty of options for streaming your favorite sports online, allowing you to watch games on nearly any device you own. As a Lakers fan, the most difficult part is figuring out the minimal number of sports streaming services to subscribe to and how to watch live sports and sports programming for free. That begins with understanding what Lakers and general sports content are available and by what service.
You can catch almost every Lakers game as they are broadcast locally on Spectrum SportsNet. Hosted by Mike Trudell, Bill Macdonald, and Stu Lantz, the local television network will be broadcasting all Lakers games, except those events that require national broadcasts.
Spectrum also will be broadcasting top-notch Lakers content including, BackStage Lakers, Access SportsNet, Timeless Lakers, Encore+ re-telecasts, Lakers Top-10, and the award-winning Lakers Compacto, which consists of condensed, one-hour format shows featuring added sights, sounds, reactions, and commentary that weren’t part of the original game telecast), and
Nationally televised games are broadcast by partners of the NBA including NBA TV, ESPN, TNT, and ABC. According to the schedule, the Lakers 2021-22 season schedule will feature more National TV games than any other team.
Los Angeles will be on national television 42 times in the coming season, with 30 games on ABC, ESPN and TNT combined, and 12 exclusively on NBA TV. The New Jersey Nets will have 27 and the crosstown Los Angeles Clippers will have 26 to round out the top three. According to the team’s press release regarding the schedule:
The Lakers will play on Christmas Day for the 23rd consecutive season, hosting the Nets at STAPLES Center. Other marquee home games include the Miami HEAT November 10, the Boston Celtics December 7, the Utah Jazz January 17 and the Milwaukee Bucks February 8. Los Angeles will take a six-game road trip, the team’s longest of the season, from January 21-30. Additionally, the Lakers have two five-game home stands from November 8-15 and from December 31 to January 9. Los Angeles will play 12 sets of back-to-back games in 2021-22, including two with no travel.
NBA League Pass is a subscription service that makes watching your favorite NBA teams play easy; so long as you’re not blacked out. There are several new options available to viewers, including League Pass which features games from the entire league, NBA Team Pass (available on Apple TV), a single subscription to all streamed games of a select team, and ala cart single-game purchases.
There are also a number of free options for live streaming sports on the internet, which allow you to watch games, tournaments, or matches from wherever you are, but as often is the case, sports broadcasting rights restrict live streaming to specific locations. This means depending on where you’re located, you may be blocked from watching your favorite sports teams or event.
To avoid blackouts on paid subscription services including local TV packages such as Hulu, YouTube TV, DirecTV, or ATT TV, it’s often best to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN’s come in two forms, expensive hardware like Firewalla and SonicWall, and software which is often subscription-based and much less expensive.
Using a VPN
It’s important to remember to use a reliable VPN for streaming and watching your games online to avoid any connection and privacy issues. Hardware is quickly becoming dated, but a VPN App that allows for on-the-fly updates will allow you to stream your favorite sports online from wherever you are, to any device safely and securely without any problems.
When your sports video stream starts buffering out of nowhere or refuses to load and play, a VPN is often necessary. Not only does a VPN protect your online communications from unwanted intrusion, but it will also often lead to a better experience when streaming or downloading media content.
That is because a VPN can stop ISP throttling.
When accessing online content, the quicker the internet connection, the smoother your streams and downloads would be. Repeated buffering and sudden speed drops are the main signs of bandwidth throttling. Bandwidth throttling is what ISPs (Internet Service Providers) do to slow down the connections of their users.
When and why does throttling happen?
- Peak Hours: If your internet speed is excellent during the day but slows to a crawl in the evening, it is likely your ISP is throttling usage during peak times.
- Prioritization: ISP’s by law can prioritize connections to streaming websites’ it prefers. In this case, ISP’s may be trying to encourage the adoption of alternative paid services that benefit them or their affiliate partners.
- Bandwidth Caps: A snail-speed connection may be a sign that you have exceeded your monthly bandwidth limit.
The good news is that a good VPN will stop ISP throttling. VPN’s hide the content you are viewing from your ISP, and what your ISP can’t see, your ISP can’t throttle.