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Plan ahead: How Sinclair's dispute with TV providers impacts how you can watch Pacers games
FSI is not available on popular streaming platforms like YouTube TV and Hulu.
For the immediate future, there won’t be fans at Pacers home games. No fan sections, no season-ticket holders and no groups who just want to take in a game.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Pacers Sports & Entertainment chose to begin the 2020-21 campaign without an audience.
“As we continue to train our staff and partners to ensure the safest possible environment for our guests and players, out of an abundance of caution we have decided that we will not have public ticket sales for the beginning of the regular season,” the organization said in a statement. “We look forward to having fans back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in January.”
That means your only way of seeing this Pacers team play is on television — if you are lucky. That’s because Fox Sports Indiana (FSI), which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, isn't available on several key TV providers.
It is, however, available on three traditional cable providers in central Indiana: xfinity, Spectrum and AT&T.
The NBA has released the first half of the schedule and all 38 Pacers games (19 at home, 19 away) will be televised by FSI, per league sources. They have two games scheduled to be shown nationally on ESPN, but those are not exclusive TV windows so FSI will also air the games.
All three preseason Pacers games also aired on the network.
How’d we get here, you may be wondering. Last year, Sinclair paid $9.6 billion for 21 regional sports networks, which includes the Fox Sports regional networks like FSI. During the pandemic, streaming services began to drop these networks and new agreements have not been reached before the start of the basketball season.
So FSI isn’t on key streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu, FuboTV and Sling TV. And it is not carried on DISH. Both YouTube TV and Hulu raised their price to $64.99 in recent months yet have stopped carrying FSI as of Oct. 1 and Oct. 22, respectively.
If you live within 70 miles of central Indiana, subscribing to NBA League Pass is no help for Pacers games because the league blacks out games for the home market.
How to watch: Your best bets are xfinity, Spectrum, DirecTV — and AT&T TV or AT&T TV Now for streaming.
Here’s what I have to do: Since I subscribe to YouTube TV, I don’t get games. I have League Pass, but that’s not an option. So in order for me to cover Pacers road games this season, I’m using a family login for Xfinity and watching games on the Fox Sports Go app.
Hopefully this is resolved in short order because it’s a league-wide issue. Many teams have a Fox regional network as their TV partner — like the Mavericks, Bucks and Hornets.
What’s available where you live? Click this link to view your options. I did, and here was my result for downtown Indianapolis.
Announcers Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner, paired together for the 15th consecutive season, will be inside the arena bowl to call home games.
However, they will not travel with the team like they traditionally would. Instead they will call road games from a studio on the event level of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, just as they did for bubble games. Host and reporter Jeremiah Johnson (7th season), along with studio analyst Eddie Gill (5th), are back for another year as well.
One change to the group: Casey Carter has joined the Pacers broadcast crew as the game producer.
And if you do subscribe to one of the cable providers that carries FSI, you’ll want to make sure you know the channel number.