The Portland Trail Blazers have moved to a new sports network for the 2021-22 season, ROOT SPORTS Northwest, which means that many viewing options have changed for local fans. Some key providers, such as online streamers YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV, don’t offer the network. And if you’re outside of Oregon, games are no longer guaranteed to always be shown live on your provider.
ROOT SPORTS Northwest offers a secondary channel called ROOT Plus that is not available on all providers, and will be discussed in this guide. We have further coverage here.
What Are Your Viewing Options?
First, check the status of your zip code and provider with ROOT’s Channel Finder. That will answer the following questions:
- Does your provider offer ROOT SPORTS Northwest?
- Does your provider also offer access to Blazers broadcasts on ROOT? The Blazers will be listed as “Available” if so.
- If you live in Washington or Alaska, does your provider also offer ROOT Plus? [Double-check your local guide listings; some providers show two available ROOT channels, but are duplicates]
If You’re in Oregon...
This is pretty easy for you. If you checked the ROOT channel finder site and it confirms that the Blazers are available on your provider, you’ll see all 77 games on ROOT live. However, the channel number may change depending on conflicts:
- If your cable company does not offer ROOT Plus, Blazers games will always be shown on the primary ROOT Sports Northwest channel.
- If your cable company does offer ROOT Plus, Blazers coverage will be on the main channel, unless there’s a conflict with a Kraken game, then the Blazers will be shown on ROOT Plus.
Note: There is a small area of southern Oregon that has unusual blackout limitations. If you live there, please contact your cable provider directly. Sorry about that.
If You’re in Washington or Alaska....
Your Blazers viewing options may be more complicated, and you may not see games live. Confirm your provider in the channel finder. Here’s how you’ll see games:
- If your cable company does not offer ROOT Plus, the Blazers will only be shown live on standalone nights. Blazers games will not be shown live on nights where games conflict with the Kraken. Those will only be seen via broadcast delay later that night.
- If your cable company does offer ROOT Plus, all Blazers games will be shown live. The Blazers be shown on the main channel except during conflicts with the Kraken. On those nights, the Blazers will be shown on ROOT Plus.
Note: Some providers in Washington may prioritize the Blazers over the Kraken if there is no subchannel. There is no published list of these providers; you’ll need to either contact your cable company in advance, or wait to see what game is shown.
Other Televised Blazers Games
This season, five regular-season games will exclusively air on TNT, and will not be shown on ROOT. TNT is available on all cable providers except FuboTV (see below). The Blazers are not schedule to plan on ABC this season. ESPN and NBA TV games may be subject to local blackout, but are all available locally on ROOT.
The first round of the NBA Playoffs should be available on ROOT unless aired on ABC. Games after the first round are exclusively shown on TNT, ESPN, or ABC.
Limited Streaming Choices
During the transition to ROOT, online streaming became the elephant in the room. Over the past four years, some Blazers fans have “cut the cord,” transitioning from traditional cable/dish services to online cable streaming after NBC Sports Northwest became available there.
This is now reversed: While ROOT and ROOT Plus are both available on Comcast and DirecTV, it’s not on YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV. The only streaming cable services that offer ROOT are fuboTV and DirecTV Stream. Both do offer ROOT Plus, but both are expensive and have drawbacks.
- FuboTV focuses on sports networks and is missing very popular channels, such as those from the Lifetime and Turner Networks. That’s a non-starter for a family that craves non-sports entertainment. It also means that the five Blazers games on TNT will be unavailable on Fubo, along with any possible playoff games exclusive to that network. And despite those missing channels, it still costs $71/month. ($65 plus a $6 regional sports network fee)
- DirecTV Stream has most major channels, but has an unusual limitation: It’s available for Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV, but not Android TV. But at $85/month for the package that includes ROOT, it’s also expensive enough to question whether you should just restart your cable subscription if it can be discounted in a package with your internet service.
ROOT does offer their own app, but it has multiple limitations: It requires an existing cable subscription, it’s also only available for personal devices like tablets, and it does not offer Root Plus content if your cable company does not offer it. It’s primarily just meant to be a supplemental screen at home.
No Perfect Answer
In the last few years of NBC Sports Northwest coverage, fans had settled into easy choices: Keep your cable, or move to YouTube TV or Hulu Live TV, and you’d be all set. Unfortunately the transition to ROOT extinguished some easy options. There is no longer an obvious recommended option everywhere for viewing the Blazers. You’ll need to review the options for your region, and make the decision for yourself.
If you’re outside of the Oregon/Washington/Alaska region, visit NBA League Pass. American viewers will also need a streaming service like YouTube TV or Hulu Live TV for the nationally-televised games. This article was edited on October 31 after Comcast added Root Plus to their lineup.