Officials at YouTube have apologized after a glitch left millions of streamers unable to watch Game 1 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Final between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
The glitch happened during a commercial break just before the end of the second quarter, and left fans unable to stream TNT on YouTube TV until well after the game ended.
A spokesperson for YouTube TV said it was “not the Game 1 upset we were hoping for” and apologized for the disruption, but offered no information on why the glitch occurred in the first place.
“You can now stream your fave content, including current DVR recordings (of the game,” the spokesperson said. “We know how frustrating this can be, and we’re working hard on restoring yesterday’s recordings at this time, and to make sure we’re offering you the best TV streaming experience.”
The glitch was particularly embarrassing for YouTube TV, which is a lead sponsor of the NBA Finals this year. The YouTube TV logo is emblazoned on courtside digital billboards and parts of the basketball hoop during playoff games and the finals; everyone was able to see the sponsorship on full display Wednesday evening, except those who actually use YouTube TV.
Some streamers were able to take advantage of YouTube TV’s TV Everywhere feature, which allowed them to log in to the TNT app on supported devices and stream the rest of the game live. But that feature broke after a while, too, with Google limiting the number of people who could authenticate their accounts with the TNT app while they worked through the issue.
Access to TNT was restored around 11:15 p.m. Eastern Time.
This isn’t the first time YouTube TV has suffered from a major outage that left streamers unable to watch live TV on their service. In January, a technical issue with a regional NBC Sports channel left fans of the Sacramento Kings basketball team unable to watch the first two quarters of a game against the Toronto Raptors on YouTube TV.
Last year, YouTube TV was one of several Google-owned products that went down due to a technical issue that plagued video streamers for hours. In 2020, a similar glitch left YouTube TV streamers unable to watch live or recorded television programs for about an hour.