By David Friend, The Canadian Press on June 11, 2019.
TORONTO – Thousands of Toronto Raptors fans were left hanging in the pivotal moments of Game 5 at the NBA Finals as technical glitches beset the country’s broadcasters.
Subscribers to Bell Fibe TV who were using the company’s app, and viewers on Rogers Communications Inc.’s streaming platform Sportsnet Now, complained of issues that kept them from watching crucial developments.
For some Bell Fibe customers, the signal went dark in the last 30 seconds of the game, as the Raptors trailed the Golden State Warriors by a mere point.
During the first half, Sportsnet Now acknowledged on its Twitter account that some viewers were seeing authentication error messages when they tried to log into their accounts.
Shortly after Kevin Durant left the game with an Achilles injury, Sportsnet posted a livestream link so that viewers wouldn’t have to log in. The move frustrated some subscribers who complained the service they paid for was now free to anyone.
A representative for Rogers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
At Bell, spokesman Marc Choma confirmed “several thousand customers” experienced a drop in Bell Fibe service on who watched through the Bell Fibe and Alt TV apps on various devices, including Apple TV and their phones. It didn’t impact Bell Fibe subscribers who viewed the game on their set-top boxes.
He said the problem was tied to a “hardware malfunction” that knocked out all of the TV channels for about 10 minutes.” The outage was the first we’ve experienced with the app and not all customers were affected,” Choma said in an emailed statement. He added that most Fibe TV app customers are based in eastern Canada.
Twitter user @RickyJGomez posted a video of his TV broadcast freezing on a shot of Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry moments before he made a last-second unsuccessful shot. Others posted shots of their television showing an “error” message.
Some suggested the outage would have been worse had the Toronto team emerged victorious and subscribers missed the historic moment.
Bell says it’s apologizing to customers affected by the outage and will offer “goodwill credits.”
The technical setbacks came as tension hit peak levels in the NBA Finals as the Raptors attempted to claim their first championship title. The team will return to the court on for Game 6 in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday.
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