AT&T has a new deal for sports fans: ad-free access to the 2019-2020 NBA season.
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The media giant, which reached $170 billion in revenue in 2018, will include NBA League Pass Premium for people who switch from their current TV provider to AT&T TV.
The deal, which kicks off Dec. 12, will only be available initially in 13 pilot markets, including California, New York and Texas, but will expand nationwide starting in 2020.
Along with new AT&T customers, the company will give free access to its League Pass to DirecTV customers who order the “Choice” package or a higher-tier option, and to U-verse customers who order the “U-300” package or a higher option. The service shows up to 40 out-of-market games a week and is available on TVs and smart devices.
AT&T is the parent company of both DirecTV and U-Verse.
As part of the deal, AT&T plans to air more than 20 games in 4K HDR, a high-definition option, starting Nov. 26 with the Los Angeles Clippers against the Dallas Mavericks.
The NBA could use the extra eyeballs this season. According to Sports Media Watch, nine nationally televised games this season have failed to net a million viewers. Last season more than 150 games aired on cable TV, and just 19 games failed to draw at least a million viewers.
The new offering may help cross-promotion for the NBA, in whose success AT&T is heavily invested. The company's WarnerMedia division owns TNT, which will air 67 NBA games this season, and it operates the league-owned cable channel, NBA TV, which will present 107 NBA games.
This isn’t the first time a mobile brand has offered extra incentives tied to video content. New streaming service Disney+ will be available free for a year to Verizon Wireless subscribers. And T-Mobile has a deal with Netflix that allows certain unlimited-wireless customers free access to its library of shows.
AT&T is also working on next-gen entertainment and wireless projects at NBA venues, which could include augmented-reality video.
AT&T’s stock has climbed more than 28 percent so far this year.