Breaking: Digicel Sportsmax Secures NBA Rights

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

After a long day of work, ready to unwind with the Spurs-Heat NBA game on TNTUS, I saw it was blocked. I was not the least bit amused. It was a mixed feeling of panic, shock and anger all at the same time. My favourite sport blocked?! This was not a Tv show I could find online later or watch at my leisure when ready, it was a LIVE game. FLOW stated, ‘Digicel Sportsmax have bought the rights’, so I called immediately to subscribe. What about persons that do not have or wish not to spend more money on subscription channels? After all, I AM already paying for TNTUS. I then think I am missing a huge part of the game since it took 35 minutes to speak to a FLOW agent. The 2 Sportsmax channels were finally added. Angry but ready, what do I turn to Digicel Sportsmax to see? Football! on one channel, ok, the next? Sports Zone! News!, telling me about their big announcement yesterday about their ‘ideal’ acquisition with the NBA to show the games. Great. How about actually showing the game then?! Waiting any minute for them to cut and show the game, nope, did not happen. They chose to only show the second game scheduled on TNTUS that night, Warriors vs Clippers. At this point I was Irate.

So with investigation and according to, yes, Digicel Sportsmax have secured NBA rights in more than 30 Caribbean territories, making Digicel the official partner of the NBA in the region. They now have a MULTI-YEAR partnership with the NBA that will deliver live games and extensive NBA programming. Where was my Spurs-Heat live game?!

They will show 48 regular season games and 8 playoff games each season. They also claim to include the highlights show ‘NBA Action’, NBA TV and select classic games. So what about the games they don’t select? Are they going to block them too like last night?

For a full broadcast schedule, we are to visit but up to last night they still only had last week’s schedule up. The FLOW guide is also useless. Today I see a schedule in the paper. I am not going to have the paper at home when I am ready to watch tv, nor feel like going through the hassle to look up a Sportsmax schedule online.

I am all for progress and admire the ambition of our local television networks and the fact that Digicel has made a significant step in evolution from a pure mobile generator to a total communications and entertainment provider, but they have crossed the line with this one. I admire it but I do not care and I don’t think half of the passionate basketball fans in Jamaica and the Caribbean care either. No money is going into our pockets. More is being taken out. President and Sportsmax CEO, Olly McIntosh stated that ‘For fans this is a real treat with Digicel Sportsmax bringing a true Caribbean feel to the programming and basketball fans closer to court side than ever before’. What treat?! Not showing all the games? I already felt close to court side before this. Why must customers pay for a cable service that is constantly being disrupted? Why must customers be subjected to this? What am I left with? When will it end? It is unfair. We are expected to pay extra for channels that some of us do not want to watch, to see only SOME of our usual programmes. They block the channel from showing the programme and they do not show the programme on the station that they forced us to subscribe to. In the case of TV shows, for instance with the new show, EMPIRE, local Tv waits a whole week to show a finale that has been aired. Are they serious? Who waits a whole two weeks for a finale? Did they do the maths there?

Thank goodness for NBA League Pass, but you have to pay for that as well. I personally prefer to watch the game on the big screen and not a computer or phone if I don’t stream to the tv or have All Share Cast. The NBA League Pass does not show ‘Inside the NBA’, which was also blocked, or Halftime shows.

If our cable providers or television networks plan to make such a huge step, being inconsiderate of fans that not only just watch the game but all the juicy, in-depth analysis that comes with it as well, be prepared to show the game in the first place and have quality feed too.

I already looked through the newspaper in the early am, so after an extremely long work day, like others, I would have loved to unwind in peace, watching the channels that I just finished working hard all day to pay for. I do not feel like watching the news or anything else, I had a timer set on my phone app to watch a specific game. My therapy. Others who have to work and to a larger extent kids to take care of etc. and needed this outlet, that small time for themselves, were robbed last night and sadly may be robbed even further by Digicel Sportsmax. If I was so irate last night, I don’t want to see myself during the Playoffs! Fix it Sportsmax! Fix it! Or jus do not bother to psychologically and emotionally mess with our daily lives and routines. It affects our health as well by raising our blood pressure. Fix it.

3 thoughts on “Breaking: Digicel Sportsmax Secures NBA Rights”

  1. Wow! You have felt my pain! I never for a minute knew I could be so upset about sports. I was livid! Fortunate for you, you immediately added Sportsmax but I don’t plan to do that. It is extremely unfair for us to pay for cable catering to what we love and then have it taken away only to be forced to pay for extra channels. When a local station buys rights it is different because that’s local.. You have access no matter what, but for a cable channel to buy the rights when you already have your cable with chosen networks that show what you want, it is just too much. There has to be more to it and more we can do, especially for Inside the NBA there is no possible way Flow and Digicel should be allowed to block that content. I really want to know what TNT has to say about this new deal, I bet Digicel is blindsiding customers and not sticking to the contract. They have select games, so they should not be able to block games they aren’t showing, that is absolutely counter productive to their claim of “bringing the NBA to the Caribbean.” 8 playoff games? Come on that’s one 7 game series and an extra game, ridiculous!! NBA fans in JA need to come together and get in touch with the league, TNT, ABC and ESPN Caribbean because I know we are being short changed.

    1. I agree totally. I think the next step is to contact the NBA and TNTUS because when I spoke to FLOW this week when another game was blocked that they were not showing, they said that they are responsible for carrying TNT’s feed. TNT has an arrangement with Sportsmax, however the arrangement or contract should be that they show all games. There has to be a breach here. Sigh. I asked that they report this to TNT but I am sure that did not go anywhere.

  2. This is crazy crazy, I am fed up with cable fed up with all these greedy people trying to rip us off, how can you get the right to broadcast and end up not showing? This is cruel and wicked. I hate digicel!!!

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