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Basketball, Unbundled: How Much Would You Pay to Watch One NBA Game?

The first big-league sport is going to start selling live broadcasts of single games
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, center, is guarded by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mike Miller (18) and guard J.R. Smith during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., on June 7, 2015.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, center, is guarded by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mike Miller (18) and guard J.R. Smith during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., on June 7, 2015.

Photographer: Ben Margot/AP Photo

The National Basketball Association once took a one-size-fits-all approach to fans who want to watch out-of-market games: Pay a single price, get access to almost everything. Your favorite team, struggling franchises you wouldn't dream of watching, boring match-ups. As long as it were not being broadcast by your local cable-TV provider, it would be available to subscribers of NBA League Pass for a flat fee. In 2009, after 15 years of this one-price policy, the league began offering broadband customers the option of choosing a handful of teams to watch for a lower price.

Now the NBA is going all in on à la carte. Starting next season, basketball fans can purchase out-of-market access on a per-team and even a per-game basis. The announcement, which came on the day that the Golden State Warriors won the league championship, came as something of a tease. The NBA showed a glimpse of à la carte paradise without revealing any information about prices. Last year, the full-size pass cost $200, or $190 for customers who signed up early. The five-team option was $140, or $130 for early birds. The league says next season's prices will be announced later this month and declined to discuss its process for setting them.