More and more options are arising for sports fans when it comes to consuming their sports content of choice, and that includes the national and the local level. Last year NBC Sports announced a deal for Blazers fans in the Pacific Northwest through their over-the-top subscription service NBC Sports Gold.
That service offered Blazers fans 15 pre-selected games throughout the season for $34.99. Blazers Pass is back once again this year, but this time with a twist that should prove beneficial to fans, and perhaps even a sign of what is continuing to happen across the industry. This year, subscribers will be able to select the games that will be aired on the service through a fan survey.
Via NBC Sports:
NBC Sports Regional Networks today announced the return of its direct-to-consumer product, NBC Sports Gold’s “Blazers Pass.” The streaming product allows fans residing in Blazers territory to purchase a subscription to 15 Portland Trail Blazers games during the 2018-19 NBA season. New this year, before the pass goes on sale, fans will have the opportunity to vote on which games are included in the pass.
Fans can visit the survey site to share their input now through Friday, Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. PT. The first game available on NBC Sports Gold’s “Blazers Pass” is set for Friday, Nov. 23, on the road against the Golden State Warriors. Fans will be able to vote for which specific games make up the remaining 14 on the pass. The games with the most votes will be added to “Blazers Pass.” In response to previous fan feedback, all Blazers road games on NBC Sports Northwest are eligible for consideration.
NBC Sports Gold’s “Blazers Pass” complete schedule will be announced this fall. NBC Sports Northwest will continue to present 76 Blazers games on the RSN and streaming via “TV Everywhere.”
This strategy falls in line with what we’ve seen in subscription sports offerings over the last few years – more customization and more options for sports fans. The Blazers Pass fan-vote option at least encourages that involvement and let the fans who are dedicated enough to pay for the service choose their own games.
The next step is probably an a la carte offering where each fan could get to pick their own games throughout the season. We already see the NBA doing that through their League Pass service where fans can pay $6.99 to watch an individual game of their choice. (That may carry more value for some games more than others.)
And from the local point of view, that strategy probably makes sense too. It’s probably a pretty narrow lane for in-market streaming for fans who want to watch that amount of games without just subscribing to the local cable channel. Giving those fans more and more choice over the games they are paying for just seems like a sensible direction to go.