A ClipperVision graphic. The Los Angeles Clippers’ “ClipperVision” service. (NBA.com/clippers.)

More and more sports games are being broadcast in ways accessible to those outside cable/satellite/vMVPD bundles. A small sampling of national OTT options carrying at least some live sports include ESPN+, Paramount+, Peacock, Amazon’s Prime Video, and AppleTV+. And in-market content on regional sports networks, long requiring a bundle, is now available on Bally Sports+ (at least for their NHL and NBA teams; many MLB teams still haven’t signed on). An interesting new spin on this comes from the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers have now launched their own in-market streaming package. This “ClipperVision” package includes the standard local broadcasts seen on Bally Sports SoCal (the team re-upped with that RSN earlier this month after their previous deal expired this summer, and will put 63 games there this season) and LA CW affiliate KTLA (that broadcast network will air 11 Clippers’ regular-season games this season), but also their own alternate “BallerVision” broadcast with former players (including Jamal Crawford, Baron Davis, Paul Pierce, Quentin Richardson and Matt Barnes ),  a separate augmented reality feed, commentary feeds in Korean and Spanish, and more. The package is currently only being sold for a season-long subscription for $199. Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times has more on this, and why owner Steve Ballmer wanted to go this way:

“This is our channel,” Ballmer said. “Starting in the year 2022, would somebody really say, ‘Hey, I want to do a new cable channel’? No. They’d say, ‘I want to do a new streaming service.’”

Ballmer said he could envision a future in which a team could take all of its local broadcast rights and put them on its own streaming service, bypassing the need for a cable-based regional sports network partner, but that wasn’t an option this time because ClipperVision is so new and the team didn’t want to shrink its audience.

…“We do have a bunch of young people who are cord-cutters or cord-nevers and they can’t be Clippers fans today; at least they can’t experience the Clippers,” Ballmer said. “I mean if they’re lucky enough, they may go to a game a year but they can’t watch our games. I mean frankly when I talk to our players and say, I talk about the streaming idea they say, ‘Yeah, most of our friends don’t have cable. This will work pretty well.’”

This package is only available in the Clippers’ broadcast territory, but that covers Bakersfield to San Diego and Hawaii to Las Vegas. Those outside that territory are limited to NBA out-of-market service NBA League Pass, which is cheaper (and newly reduced to a price of $100 (or $15 a month) for the standard package or $130 for the premium package, both of which include all out-of-market teams). But that won’t have these ClipperVision alternate broadcasts, merely the local (KTLA or Bally Sports SoCal) feed.

Similarly, those in-market can also buy the Bally Sports+ package for $10 a month or $190 for a year, but that will only include access to the Bally Sports+ games and the standard feed (although it will feature other Bally Sports SoCal content, including Anaheim Ducks games). So there’s definitely some appeal for in-market customers to at least consider ClipperVision. And it may be particularly appealing for those looking for the alternate-language feeds, or those looking for the Ballervision alternate broadcast. We’ll see how this goes for the Clippers this year, if they expand it down the road, and if other teams wind up trying similar efforts in the future.

[The Los Angeles Times]


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.