Sling TV last night suffered unexplained technical snafus, causing some subscribers to miss game one of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Game one of the NBA Finals was broadcast by ABC, but Sling TV only carries the network’s affiliates in roughly a half-dozen markets due to licensing restrictions. Consequently, earlier in the day, Sling notified subscribers to its ‘Orange’ package that they could watch the game on ESPN3, which would live stream it.
“Never before! 2 teams in 3 consecutive
#NBAFinals! Don’t miss a moment of this match on ESPN3 with Sling Orange,” Sling said, referring to its $20-a-month base package that includes ESPN3.
But shortly after tipoff at 9 p.m. ET, Sling TV subscribers began posting messages on social media sites and message forums that they could not access ESPN 3. Instead, they were met with an on-screen error message that said, “Oops, looks like we lost connection to your Internet. Please try again later. Error 14-17.”
The inability to watch the highly-anticipated NBA finals was too much to take for some subscribers.
@Sling thanks ruining my night,” wrote @Mr_Chandler_.
After roughly an hour, Sling TV acknowledged the issue through its Twitter customer service team, 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 wrote.
Sling’s Orange plan subscribers can use their user name and password to access WatchESPN, the sports network’s app which can be found on computers and mobile devices.
It’s unclear how many subscribers took the advice and switched over, but the complaints continued to pour in for most of the game. DownDetector.com, which tracks online outages, reported that hundreds of Sling TV subscribers were posting negative messages at Twitter and Facebook.
After midnight, Sling TV tweeted that the issue had finally been fixed, albeit too late because the game was over.
“If you’re trying to watch the big game you should be able to now. The channel should be back up. ~MG,” Sling wrote.
The technical miscue is only the latest in a series of issues that streaming services have experienced during live events, particularly ones that are watched by a high number of people. DIRECTV Now, Sling, PlayStationVue and several networks such as HBO, NBC, Fox, CBS, and ABC have experienced either outages or recurring technical issues during high-profile live streaming events.
— Phillip Swann