Sling TV outage gets fans riled up as NBA Finals begin

Sling TV
When demand surges, streaming setups can falter, as tech teams have readily conceded.

In a scenario that was heaven sent for Defenders of the Traditional Bundle, Sling TV customers who were hoping to enjoy a seamless stream of last night's Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals game were left disappointed.

The service suffered a series of technical glitches that affected Game 1 of the series, a long-awaited rematch of the Warriors and Cavs, who are meeting for the third straight year. It's the latest in a series of snafus afflicting internet-delivered programming from "Game of Thrones" on HBO Now to vMVPD signals from DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue to other network apps. When demand surges, streaming setups can falter, as tech teams have readily conceded.

Game time is certainly no time for a miscue, though, from a PR standpoint. As Phillip Swann noted on, ABC carried the game, but Dish-owned Sling TV carries network affiliates in only a half-dozen markets due to licensing restrictions. Sling had alerted subscribers to its $20 a month "Orange" tier of service that they could catch the game live on ESPN3.


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceVideo!

The Video industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Cable, Media and Entertainment, Telco, and Tech companies rely on FierceVideo for the latest news, trends, and analysis on video creation and distribution, OTT delivery technologies, content licensing, and advertising strategies. Sign up today to get news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

But social media lit up with angst-ridden messages from frustrated fans shortly after tipoff at 9 p.m. Instead of the game, viewers got an on-screen error message that said, “Oops, looks like we lost connection to your Internet. Please try again later. Error 14-17.”

“Hey @Sling, are you aware of the fiasco that is trying to watch the NBA Finals through your service today?" tweeted @d4dwbreaker. Added @Mr_Chandler_ "@Sling thanks ruining my night.” User @JeffReedIsMe tweeted "@espn @RokuPlayer @Sling can anyone help here? All other channels are working except the Finals?!”

About an hour later, Sling TV acknowledged the issue through Twitter and offered a workaround: “We are currently experiencing issues with ESPN3. You can log into WatchESPN with your Sling TV credentials to watch the game."

Sling’s Orange plan subscribers can use their username and password to access WatchESPN, the sports network’s app. Still, complaints kept flooding in., which tracks online outages, reported that hundreds of Sling TV subscribers were posting negative messages on Twitter and Facebook.

After midnight, Sling TV tweeted that the issue had finally been fixed. By that point, the game was over.


Suggested Articles

FuboTV is reporting some significant increases in engagement on its streaming TV service as part of its new Portrait of a Cord Cutter report.

Verizon is revealing any specific numbers yet about how its Disney+ promotion is going, but CEO Hans Vestberg did call it a “win-win."

Peloton is teaming up with Amazon to launch a streaming TV app on Amazon Fire TV devices and smart TVs in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada.