Saturday, October 9, 2010

NBA League Pass Choice, Part 1

For unrepentant NBA junkies, NBA League Pass is like Christmas every day for half a year. For those of us who like to at least pretend we have a day job and/or a life, there is League Pass Choice, which lets you watch seven different teams with the disclaimer that the games are subject to blackouts in the case of nationally and locally televised games. That disclaimer is important. It means that I, for example, will be unable to watch Knicks games, Nets games, ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV games. Obviously, this affects the amount of each team's games that I am able to watch.

Let me use the Boston Celtics as an example. The Celtics have 33 nationally televised games, and play 6 non nationally televised games against the Nets and Knicks. That means that I would be paying for 43 games minus the games against my other six teams that were not blacked out (since I would be getting those games anyway). That's likely another half dozen games or more that I would miss, leaving me with less than half of the Celtics schedule-most of which are the games against the league's bottom feeders. Unless I'm a Celtics fan, or really enjoy watching them play, that's not very enticing.

To give some other examples, the Miami SuperFriends have 29 nationally televised games, and 4 against my locally blacked out teams-33 total. What's more, all of their games against the Lakers, Magic, Celtics, Spurs, Thunder, and Bulls are on national TV. The Houston Rockets only have 11 nationally televised games, and 14 blacked out altogether. The Milwaukee Bucks have 15 blacked out games, while the San Antonio Spurs have 26. Looking at League Pass this way won't tell you who you should pick-the Thunder have 28 blackouts, while the Pistons only have 9 blackouts, but I'd much rather watch 50 Thunder games than 70 Pistons games-but it's helpful.

The other part of this calculation is the games your seven teams will play against each other. If I choose several teams from the same division, then there are a lot of redundant games. For instance, I could choose the Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets, and Blazers or the Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets, and Bulls. If I choose the second option, I still get to see a lot of the Blazers and I get to see more total games because there are less redundancies in the schedule.

Next time: factoring in team quality and the entertainment factor.

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