Jazz games to be available via online streaming in Utah for 2017-18 season

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SALT LAKE CITY — Jazz fans in Utah trying to watch their team's games next year will have another option: streaming them online.

ROOT Sports, the television station that currently broadcasts Jazz games over cable and satellite TV, will begin an affiliation with a streaming service in the 2017-18 season, KSL.com has learned.

Right now, teams outside of the Jazz's local TV area can watch Jazz games via NBA League Pass, the $200 yearly service that the NBA annually offers. But fans inside of Utah and areas bordering the state are blacked out from watching Jazz games on League Pass, instead instructed to buy a cable or satellite TV package that includes ROOT Sports.

Beginning in the 2017-18 season, locals who want to watch Jazz games from Utah will have the ability to watch the games on a streaming service, even if they haven't purchased a traditional TV subscription. The services that ROOT will be available on have yet to be decided, though initial indications say that DirectTV Now and Playstation Vue are the most likely possibilities.

DirectTV Now is a standalone service offered by DirectTV, but does not require DirectTV service. Fans in other locations have paid $50 per month for the service package, which includes their regional sports network along with 80 other TV channels. DirectTV Now has apps on Amazon, Android, Apple and Roku devices, along with availability through standard web browsers.

Playstation Vue is another TV alternative option in the booming TV streaming industry, which charges $35 per month for 60 channels, plus the regional sports networks. Playstation Vue is available on Amazon, Android, Apple, Playstation and Roku devices, as well as standard web browsers.

For those fans who have purchased a standard TV service package that includes ROOT, there are positive signs about being able to stream Jazz games as well without purchasing an additional subscription. MLB fans on ROOT Sports this season can stream their team's games online by authenticating their pay TV subscriptions. That setup relies on MLB Advanced Media's technology to stream the games, though Forbes reports that ROOT is working on their own streaming portal. Comcast, it is worth noting, is not part of the MLB arrangement.

The Jazz were one of three teams in the NBA's 2016-17 season without the ability to watch their team's games over the internet locally. That's despite a report from the NBA last summer that indicated all 30 NBA teams would have a streaming option. But no option ever surfaced, allegedly due to delays caused by AT&T's acquisition of DirectTV, which controlled ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain and other regional sports networks. That frustrated Jazz executives, who had hoped — for themselves and for fans alike — that they'd have a way for fans to watch their games without a traditional TV subscription.

ROOT's ownership of all rights to Jazz games lasts through the 2020-21 season, after a 12-year deal signed in 2008 worth $240 million.

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Andy Larsen


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