Somehow, we went from no live sports to watch during the COVID-19 outbreak to so many all at once, and we have no idea where to catch our favorite teams in action. So, we’ve put together a handy guide for you on all your viewing and streaming options for this year’s MLB, NBA and NHL playoffs as leagues return to action with new COVID-19 testing procedures.
Where to Watch MLB Playoffs
Although we’re getting a shorter Major League Baseball regular season—down from the usual 162 games to 60—MLB is giving us expanded playoffs this fall. The playoff field will increase from the usual 10 teams to 16 teams, eight each from the American League and National League. The top three seeds in each league will go to the three division winners, followed by the three teams that finish second in their division (in order of record) and then the final two seeds will go to the two teams with the next best records (regardless of division or standing). Those final two seeds will be considered the “Wild Card” teams.
The MLB playoffs will consist of four rounds, with the first round being a best-of-three Wild Card Series played at the home stadium of the higher-ranked team: No. 1 seed vs. No. 8; No. 2 vs. No. 7; No. 3 vs. No. 6; No. 4 vs. No. 5. This round will take place between Tuesday, September 29 and Friday, October 2.
The MLB TV schedule includes games across ESPN, TBS and Fox.
Where to watch the MLB Wild Card Series: Eight series will be televised by ESPN, with one to-be-determined series airing on TBS.
The Division Series will be a best-of-five in the traditional 2-2-1 home/road format with the home-field advantage going to the higher seed: Winner of 1-4-5-8 vs. Winner of 2-3-6-7.
Where to watch the MLB Division Series: Fox will carry the National League while TBS carries the American League.
The World Series will be a best-of-seven between the AL champion and the NL champion with the traditional 2-3-2 home/road format with the home-field advantage going to the team with the better regular-season record.
Where to watch the MLB World Series: Fox will carry the full World Series.
Streaming: if you have a TV subscription that includes the channel, you can watch on your TV or games can be streamed by using your TV provider’s streaming app on mobile devices and tablets. All playoff games are available to MLB.TV subscribers, with the exception of national broadcasts on Fox or MLB Network`, which are only available to subscribers who are also eligible customers of a participating cable or video service provider.
Where to Watch NBA Playoffs
The National Basketball Association schedule for the playoffs began July 30, returning with 16 teams (eight per conference) in playoff positions plus six teams that were six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences when the season was suspended. Each of those teams then played eight “seeding games” to determine playoff positioning in each conference.
If the No. 9 seed in each conference is more than four games behind the No. 8 seed at the conclusion of the regular season, the No. 8 seed earns the playoff spot automatically. However, if the No. 9 seed is four games or fewer behind the No. 8 seed, those teams would enter a play-in tournament (double-elimination for the eighth seed, single-elimination for the ninth seed).
The playoff format remains largely the same as last year, without a home-court advantage since the teams are all playing inside a bubble at Disney World. There will be four rounds, with a best-of-seven series in each round.
The NBA TV schedule includes games across ESPN, TNT, ABC and NBA TV.
Where to watch the NBA First Round: the first round is being played August 17 through August 30, with games split across ESPN, TNT, ABC and NBA TV.
Where to watch the NBA Conference Semifinals: the Conference Semifinals are scheduled to begin September 1 and will be split across ESPN, TNT and ABC.
Where to watch the NBA Conference Finals: the Conference Finals are scheduled to begin on September 15, with the Western Conference Finals airing on TNT and the Eastern Conference Finals airing on ESPN.
Where to watch the NBA Finals: the NBA finals are scheduled to begin September 30, with the NBA Finals will airing exclusively on ABC.
Streaming: if you have a TV subscription that includes the channel, you can watch on your TV or games can be streamed by using your TV provider’s streaming app on mobile devices and tablets. None of the NBA playoff games are available for live streaming through the NBA League Pass, but replays will be available in the archives.
Where to Watch NHL Playoffs
The National Hockey League resumed after a four-month break with 24 teams for the postseason, 12 from each conference. Teams were seeded based on their points percentage at the time the regular season was suspended in March, with the top four teams in each conference playing a separate Seeding Round Robin to determine the seeding in the First Round.
The eight lower-seeded teams in each conference played in the Qualifying Round, a best-of-five series with playoff overtime rules, with the winners of these series advancing to face one of the round-robin teams in the First Round for a best-of-seven series. The Second Round, Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final are all best-of-seven series as well.
The Second Round of the NHL Playoffs is scheduled to begin August 24, with the Conference Finals scheduled to begin September 8 (depending on Second Round outcomes) and the Stanley Cup Finals scheduled to begin September 22 (depending on Conference Finals outcomes).
Where to watch the NHL Playoffs: the NHL TV schedule for the playoffs is split across NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC and NHL Network in the U.S., with some games available on regional sports networks. In Canada, games are split across Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports.
Streaming: if you have a TV subscription that includes the channel, you can watch on your TV or games can be streamed by using your TV provider’s streaming app on mobile devices and tablets. Every game on NBC or NBCSN is available for streaming on the NBC Sports app and NBCSports.com. NHL.TV is not streaming games live but is offering them On Demand for a fee.