NBA basketball is rapidly approaching. The New Orleans Pelicans will open training camp this week. The first of their two pre-season games is on Monday, December 14, at 6PM central on the road against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram won’t catch a break in the second preseason game as they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, December 18, with the regular season schedule tipping off just before Christmas Day.
For the new Pelicans fans joining the fanbase in New Zealand (thank you Steven Adams), Australia (welcome to the NBA William Magnay), and Alabama (Kira Lewis Jr.), the local coverage station is Fox Sports New Orleans. It features a dynamite broadcast team led by play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers, color analyst Antonio Daniels, and sideline reporter Jennifer Hale. They are far removed from the current trend of local broadcasts being completely one-sided in their analysis. Yes, they will acknowledge that the Pelicans do indeed commit fouls.
For those outside of the local New Orleans market, your method of watching the Pelicans is unchanged. Get NBA League Pass on whatever service you use for live television, and watch the Pelicans. This goes for almost anyone outside of Louisiana, southern Mississippi and Alabama, and the Florida panhandle.
Unfortunately, for those inside the Pelicans broadcast area, watching a Pelicans game is becoming increasingly difficult. If you have a more traditional live television provider, you’re likely unaffected. Cox Communications (channel 1038), Charter/Spectrum (810), AT&T U-Verse (1757), Suddenlink (38), XFinity (34), and DirecTV (676-4) all continue to carry Fox Sports New Orleans.
However, if you’ve cut the cord and rely on a streaming service for live television, your options are significantly limited. Fox Sports New Orleans is currently unavailable on YouTubeTV (the sponsor of the NBA Finals), Hulu with Live Sports (with frequent ads during NBA broadcasts using stars like Damian Lilliard and Joel Embiid), Sling TV, FuboTV, and Dish Network. This is thanks to a series of long running carriage disputes between Sinclair, the parent company that purchase all of the Fox Sports regional sports networks (RSNs) from Disney after Disney purchased Fox, and every single streaming carrier. YouTubeTV and Hulu with Live Sports both dropped Fox Sports New Orleans in October, so its absence is something many fans who only watch for Pelicans games may not yet be aware of.
Now that the seasons are over, that extension is expiring. Starting October 1, 2020, FOX RSNs will no longer be available on YouTube TV. Members that are impacted will no longer have access to Library recordings from the FOX RSNs.— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) September 29, 2020
In fact, the only streaming option I was able to find with Fox Sports New Orleans available is AT&T TV Now. AT&T/DirecTV’s more traditional relationship with Sinclair undoubtedly assists in keeping Fox Sports New Orleans available on their streaming service as well.
This is not a unique situation for New Orleans Pelicans fans alone. Over half of the NBA, and every team in the Southwest Division except the Houston Rockets (Comcast SportsNet), are broadcast over a Fox Sports regional network.
If you used YouTube TV or Hulu to watch the Pelicans last season, it is time to start looking for alternatives. No one wants to have a cable installation scheduled too far into the holiday season, especially as COVID-19 continues to spread widely throughout the community.