New streaming service will offer Lakers games to cable cord-cutters

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James controls the ball in the second half against the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix on March 2.
Lakers star LeBron James controls the ball in a game against the Phoenix Suns. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

For the record:
4:09 p.m. Oct. 28, 2023: A previous version of this article said the Lakers play the Sacramento Kings on Friday. The Lakers and Kings play Sunday.

As the number of homes with pay-TV subscriptions continues to shrink, the Los Angeles Lakers and cable partner Spectrum are teaming to make games available on a new streaming service.

The NBA franchise and Spectrum Networks announced Friday that they are launching SportsNet+, which will stream local Lakers game telecasts for a monthly fee of $19.99 or $179.99 for the season. The service will be available for Sunday's game against the Sacramento Kings.

Read more: Why sports are returning to free over-the-air TV

SportsNet+ can be viewed on most streaming devices for fans living in Southern California, Hawaii and southern Nevada.

The service will be available at no extra cost to cable and satellite subscribers who already have access to SportsNet, the team's regional sports network since 2012, through DirecTV, Cox and Spectrum.

"This new service gives Lakers fans another way to watch their favorite team in action on the court," Tim Harris, president of business operations for the team, said in a statement. "The launch of Spectrum SportsNet+ brings the premium, in-depth coverage, analysis and behind the scenes content to more fans across the region, allows us to reach more people every day and grow the next generation of Lakers fans."

Sports teams have long depended on regional cable networks to reach local fans. But viewers have migrated to streaming services for video content, leading them to forgo pay-TV subscriptions and cutting into the number of homes that can watch Lakers games, which are not available locally on free TV.

While the dual revenue of advertising and subscriber fees that the cable networks provide remains lucrative for teams, there is concern among owners that they are losing exposure to a broader audience, which is needed to stimulate sales of tickets and merchandise.

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As a result, more teams are launching streaming services to reach broadband-only customers. Some teams have also made deals to put more games on free over-the-air television that only requires an antenna.

The Los Angeles Clippers launched a subscription streaming service called ClipperVision for local telecasts last year and have placed 11 games on Nexstar Media Group's KTLA.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.