The dynamic is changing for sports fans.
Now with the advent of live streaming through various Internet providers, combined with the boom of Foxtel in the last 10-15 years, the old dichotomy of crossing your fingers for a network to pick up coverage of sport is evaporating to give the consumer the upper hand.
The shifting landscape is removing the barrier for American sports down under as well, breaking free from their “niche” tag to become a serious player.
For those fortunate enough to have a Foxtel subscription, ESPN and ESPN 2 are available as broadcast in high definition to give the viewer the best experience possible.
However, depending on your level of dedication as a supporter of a franchise, scheduling of games on live television do stick to a regimented Thursday/Saturday/Sunday timeslot throughout the regular season until the Playoffs come around.
With the NBA achieving a greater global footprint year after year, this will change in time.
This scenario doesn’t help for Phoenix Suns or New York Knicks fans as an example, although given the state of affairs at Arizona and Madison Square Garden this might be a blessing in disguise.
Only the major players like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are shown with any type of consistency in this environment.
So what to do in the meantime?
What is the best option for American sports consumers to pay their hard earned towards and will it offer long term value in the process?
As the NBN is slowly but surely sent out across the country, streaming is still a tenuous exercise without the guarantees that a set-top box and cable/satellite system provides.
If you happen to be on a Telstra phone or Internet contract, the telco is putting on the table a 3-month subscription for a minimum cost of $177, inclusive of instillation fees, an iQ2 box and pre-paid SIM.
Should this be enough to entice you to keep Foxtel, then a $51 per month option is open to watch the sports channels.
Depending how long you wish to wait, the prices could drop even further.
Increased competition in the market has forced the television provider to slash their monthly subscriptions with Optus now throwing their hat into the ring having secured English Premier League coverage.
If just to prove how influential the buyer is, the telco has been publicly slammed for trying to use this new content to strong-arm fans into signing up to Optus phone packages, a move that has been received with widespread outrage and condemnation.
Hopefully for fans of the NBA and NFL domestically, a similar case does not play out and given the backlash for Optus with the EPL, this will hopefully be avoided.
In the event that Foxtel is out of the price bracket but you have streaming that is reliable with enough data to eat through, then the alternative is to go direct to the NBA or NFL.
An annual NBA League Pass is priced at AUD $139.99 over the campaign, inclusive of the regular season, Playoffs plus a load of other goodies in between fixtures like interviews and special features.
For 9-months of wall-to-wall basketball that works out to be $15.55 a month, providing no barriers to supporters of any franchise all live at the flick of a button.
This does not mean that viewers necessarily have to hover around a smart phone, tablet or desktop to see the action either.
Applications like Apple TV include an NBA TV option to sync the coverage through the television.
Unfortunately an NFL Pass for season 2016/17 is dearer, as even the dedicated fans of the sport might well be deterred at US$259.99, equaling AUD $353.40 over 5 months.
At $70.68 a month, the better option is to sign up to Foxtel and have gluttony of other sports channels to pick from.
With so much flux and change in such a short period of time, who knows what will entail in the future – even movie and television outlets like Netflix, Stan and Presto could be used as vehicles for live sports coverage.
The bottom line right now is that NBA fans are best advised to sign up to a League Pass, provided they have reliable streaming and enough data to use.
That will set up all games in HD with immediate replays, reaction and a smorgasbord of basketball content.
NFL fans on the other hand are not as lucky.
The $55.13 per month difference between them and the NBA doesn’t seem to have any justification, particularly given the shortage of the season.
Whilst the alternative will have consumers at the mercy of executives and broadcast schedulers at ESPN Australia, the money to fork out for the privilege of control in American football is simply outlandish.