Cable, streaming or sports bar? How much it costs to watch the NBA Finals

Even as more and more Canadians are cutting cable, more of us are watching the NBA Finals — whether that’s on streaming services or out at a sports bar.

The Toronto Raptors’ Game 4 win over the Golden State Warriors set a new Canadian record for an NBA game with an average audience of 4.631 million on Friday night, TSN officials said earlier this week.


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While more Canadians appear to be watching, more Canadians are also cutting cable — a 2017 report found one in four Canadians had stopped subscribing to traditional TV.

While that may seem contradictory, there are, of course, more options than ever to watch, including streaming and simply going out to watch at a local sports bar.

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When it comes to legal online livestreaming, TSN reports that there were nearly 100,000 video starts on TSN.ca and the TSN app for Game 2.

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at what those all cost.

CABLE:

The lowest price point for cable packages ranged from $14-25 a month depending on location, data from the CRTC compiled in 2017 shows.

But basic cable doesn’t automatically include the sports channels — and broadcasting rights are split between TSN (which also includes CTV2) and Sportsnet.

(Game 5 was on Sportsnet, but Game 6 will be on TSN.)

While some games are played on CTV2, which is included in the basic cable package, a viewer would have to jump to a higher price point to get access to Sportsnet. That price point can range from $50 upwards.

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STREAMING:

There are two main options for streaming the NBA finals in Canada: Sportsnet and TSN.

A monthly pass for the app SN Now is $19.99, or a viewer can buy a seven-day pass for $9.99.

A monthly pass for the app TSN Direct is $19.99, or a viewer can buy a day pass for $4.99.

But since the broadcasting rights to the games are split, you’ll have to get both apps for full coverage.

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GOING TO A SPORTS BAR:

How much you spend on a night out really depends on what you buy, but statistics from Moneris, a Toronto-based payment processing company, said credit and debit transactions jumped significantly on game nights compared to the same time last year — and not just in Toronto.

There was a 25 per cent jump in transactions on June 2 compared to the year before across all of Canada. (June 2, of course, was the date of Game 2) The biggest jump was seen in Atlantic Canada (a 79 per cent jump from last year) while Ontario rang in second with a 59 per cent jump.

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The biggest spikes in transactions happened unsurprisingly at the end of the game.

Local restaurants in Toronto have reported a spike in business during the games.

Jeff Guthrie, chief sales and marketing officer of Moneris said there’s always a jump in spending during playoff runs.

“This is a phenomenon that we see every time the teams get in ,” Guthrie told Global News.

“Last year with we saw a run up in spending. We see it when the Jays get hot.”

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He says it’s good for local businesses and it also builds a sense of community.

“It’s exciting to watch the games in a bar with 200 of your new best friends,” Guthrie said.

“We want to celebrate these things in our communities… there is nothing more exciting than high-fiving people when the Raptors get ahead.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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