UK NBA fans miss out entirely on opening night thanks to TV lockout

The NBA season begins tonight, but it is not being televised in the UK.

NFL fans, consider yourselves lucky. 

There was a great furore when Sky Sports left its negotiations with the NFL to conclude until 24 hours before the season began in September, with UK fans anxiously waiting to find out whether they would be able to watch the sport. Fortunately it turned out OK in the nick of time.

NBA fans are not so lucky.

Tonight the new season tipped off, and any UK fans who enjoyed watching LeBron James and Kobe Bryant lead the USA's 'dream team' to Gold medal glory at London 2012, were left disappointed if they were hoping to see more.

No live games, no highlights packages. ESPN, who screened the season from start to finish in 2011/12, have failed to secure to rights to the sport, so far at least.

Here is what ESPN UK told fans on their Facebook page:

"In regards to the NBA, we are engaged in discussions with the league and remain interested in continuing our NBA coverage and helping grow the game in the UK. ESPN will share more information with fans as we have it, but we respect that the league is ultimately the decision-maker about its media rights. Further questions should be directed to the NBA. We are very sorry and apologise to all fans that have been affected by this situation."

There were dozens of angry responses, from customers moaning that they would cancel their subscriptions, to those lamenting the fact that Dorchester v Plymouth in the FA Cup on Saturday would be available, but the NBA isn't.

If they are unable to strike a deal, it will be a big blow for the company, who had the sport as a unique attraction in their sporting line-up.

Don't forget after this season they will not have Premier League football, Premiership Rugby, and have already lost Monday Night NFL games to the BBC, and stopped showing America's flagship sports show Sportscenter.

They will hope they can get the NBA deal struck as quickly as possible, because nobody wins out of this situation.

Are you frustrated by the lack of NBA coverage in the UK?

image: © rondostar