I'm a big fan of NBA League Pass, the NBA's subscription package that allows you to watch virtually ALL of the NBA games being played on any given night. I'm a Lakers fan, and I don't live in southern California; without League Pass, I would be limited to only those games played on national television. Granted, it's the Lakers, so I'd get more games than fans of some other teams, but it would nonetheless be a fraction of what I get with League Pass.
I'm an even bigger fan of League Pass Broadband, the internet-based version of League Pass. It fits my needs perfectly, and if you ask me, it's an awesome product.
Of course, there's a catch: Any game that is either (a) nationally televised, or (b) locally televised in your area (as determined by your IP address) will be blacked out on League Pass. This is completely understandable. The NBA would destroy its partnerships with TNT, ESPN, ABC, etc., if it undercut them. They'd have to be idiots to do that. So I understand the blackouts. Besides, it's not like it's that hard to find a TV with TNT or ESPN.
But then there's NBATV.
That's right, games shown on NBATV are blacked out on League Pass. It's asinine, it makes no sense, and it's a huge disservice to League Pass customers. So I propose a boycott, of sorts.
Details after the jump.
The asinine thing about this ridiculous practice is that the NBA is, apparently, competing against itself. Remember, blacking out games shown on TNT, ESPN, ABC, etc., makes sense, because showing those games would undercut their partners. Who are they undercutting if they show NBATV games on League Pass? Themselves?
Think of it this way: If they show nationally televised games on League Pass, then TNT, ESPN, or ABC would lose viewers to League Pass, and they can't do that. But how does that apply to NBATV? If they show NBATV games on League Pass, then the NBA loses viewers to... the NBA.
See what I mean? It's ridiculous.
But the really absurd part is that by doing this, they're forcing us to buy both products. They're saying, "Hey, check this out: We're offering a product that lets you watch NBA games! ... Oh hey, check this out: We're offering ANOTHER product that does exactly the same thing as the first! You should buy them both!!"
I'm not getting NBATV, because it's substantially more expensive than League Pass. I can afford League Pass Broadband; I cannot afford NBATV.
So this is my petition:
Please stop trying to sell us two products that do the same thing. Please stop trying to pretend that you lose anything by "competing against" or "undercutting" yourself. Please stop trying to pretend that there is any good reason to black out games also showing on NBATV.
In short: Please let us watch on League Pass and League Pass Broadband those games which are also showing on NBATV.
NBA Fans Who Think League Pass Is Awesome
Now on to other issues.
The Problem for Lakers Fans
The problem with NBATV goes a step further for Lakers fans, and it's all about these "Fan Night" Tuesdays. See, every week, fans can get online and vote for which of the games showing on the upcoming Tuesday night (excluding those already scheduled for other national networks) they want to see on NBATV.
If the Lakers aren't playing, that often means the best game on the schedule will be selected (and by "best game" I mean the one viewers think will be most competitive). However, if the Lakers are playing, it doesn't matter if they're playing the Celtics or the Nets — that's the game that will be voted in that Tuesday night.
Which means that when the Lakers play on Tuesday nights, myself and millions of Lakers fans like me don't get to see the game.
Last year, I complained about this problem to Matt Moore, who is decidedly not a Lakers fan. His response was classic: That's what you get for having a huge, bandwagon fan base. He was right, of course.
The Solution for Lakers Fans
However, it has occurred to me that that swings both ways. Currently, our huge fan base is the reason the Lakers get voted into "Fan Night" Tuesdays whenever they play on Tuesday. But what if we could leverage our huge fan base to keep the Lakers off of "Fan Night" Tuesdays?
Simple enough, right? All we have to do is get as many Lakers fans as we can to vote for another game — as in, any game except the Lakers.
There is one catch: We must all vote for the same other game, to ensure that that game will be the one that shows, rather than the Lakers game.
To this end, Silver Screen & Roll will be taking point. Whenever the Lakers play on a Tuesday night, we will organize the movement to boycott the Lakers on NBATV Tuesdays. We will determine which game is likely to be the most enticing after the Lakers game, and we will announce that game as the one to vote for.
Then it is up to you! Once we announce the game, you must go vote for it. Hopefully, this will keep the Lakers off of NBATV "Fan Night" Tuesdays as much as possible.
For the non-Lakers fans out there, don't see this as unfair. We're really not gaining any advantage by organizing ourselves; we're simply balancing out what was previously a disadvantage. This simply means that on nights where the only reason the Lakers would be selected is because of our overwhelming fan base, we counteract that. On nights where they're truly the best game not already nationally televised, and where they'd be selected not only by our fans, but by the majority of all NBA fans, I'm certain that "you" will outnumber "us". So it will be that the Lakers, like every other team, will only get voted into NBATV "Fan Night" Tuesdays when the majority of the entire NBA fan base, and not just the Lakers' fan base, want to see them on NBATV.
And hopefully, one day, the NBA will stop pretending that "competing against itself" matters, and will show NBATV games on League Pass as well.
In the meantime, look for our announcements! If we organize ourselves, we can make this NBATV "Fan Night" Tuesday thing work the way it was intended to, for everybody.