It used to be a real pain to stream NFL football games. Now, it's easier than ever, but there are still some problems to avoid to make sure you'll get to enjoy your game instead of wanting to throw your TV on the street.
These days most of the services will work with any streaming device. Many, however, isn't all. Before putting your money down for any streaming service, make sure it will work with your device of choice.
The prices of streaming services can vary depending on how you subscribe to them. Be sure to shop around. You can find some real deals out there.
- Watch Thursday night games on Prime Video
- Amazon Prime membership costs $119 per year
I sure don't think about Amazon Prime when I think football, but you can watch Thursday night games on Amazon Prime Video. Amazon Prime is available on essentially all streaming devices and PCs.
- No longer offers NFL Sunday Ticket, RedZone, or NFL Network
- $40 for a minimum package, which includes ESPN and local network stations.
AT&T Now comes with four different service levels. The entry-level package is $40 a month. It includes ESPN and some local network channels. But the service may not support the networks you need. For example, from my home in Asheville, N.C., I can watch Sunday Night Football on NBC, but I can't get CBS or Fox, so I can't watch the games on those networks.
- Starts at $5.99 a month; carries local affiliates' games
- NFL games come with advertisements
CBS All Access, a ZDNet-related service, is available in many, but not all, markets. It carries CBS's Sunday afternoon games, a traditional Thanksgiving Day game, a game played in London, the AFC Playoffs, and the AFC Championship Game. This streaming service costs $5.99 a month. There's also a version without ads for $9.99. NFL games, however, come with ads on both streams.
- Watch Fox live games -- if you pay for Fox
If you already have a pay-TV subscription, cable, satellite, or some of the streaming services mentioned here, you can watch the game with the Fox Sports Go app or from your web browser. This is ideal when you want to catch a game away from your home.
- Base price: $54.99
- NFL Redzone and other sports networks: An additional $8.99.
FuboTV, as the name hints, carries a lot of sports, but it doesn't offer ESPN. On the other hand, it does come with the NFL Network, and, as always, depending on where you live, your local affiliates. Fubo's the only streaming service that offered all three of the national networks showing NFL games: CBS, Fox, and NBC.
- $44.99 a month
- Games on local network affiliates may be available,
Hulu with Live TV's plan is $44.99 a month. It comes with 50+ live channels. Depending on your market, your local NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS live channels may be available to you. You must check your live channels to make sure. For example, unlike AT&T Now, I can watch the locally broadcast Fox games, but I can't watch the NBC and CBS games. It also doesn't offer the NFL Network.
NFL APP and YAHOO SPORTS
- Requires Android or iPhone device and Yahoo account.
The NFL app or Yahoo Sports app for Android or iOS gives you a free way to watch your local team's games. Besides live regular-season games, you can also watch the playoffs and the Super Bowl with it. However, you can only view the games on your phone or tablet. You can't screencast from your device to your television. Darn it!
- Requires Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone
The NFL Network app, like the name says, enables you to watch NFL Network programming and NFL RedZone on your tablet and mobile device. The big win here is it covers the Thursday night NFL Network games. But access to NFL Redzone requires you already have a subscription to a programming package that includes NFL RedZone
- $99.99 a season
- Watch all NFL games the day after they air
NFL GamePass is an all-football, all-the-time option. For $99.99 a season, you can watch all NFL games... the day after they're played. You also can't watch local games on it. So, for instance, where I live, I can't see the Carolina Panthers.
To sweeten the deal, GamePass includes live NFL game radio broadcasts and access to NFL Originals, with football shows such as previous seasons of Hard Knocks, A Football Life, and Mic'd Up.
- $73.49 a month
- Available only if you can't get DirecTV satellite service
The most comprehensive package for Sunday NFL games is DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket. It doesn't show every Sunday afternoon game, but it comes close. You can't watch your local team games, or some games played out of the US. And, there's a catch: NFL Sunday Ticket is only available for cord-cutters if they can't get DirecTV satellite service.
The To Go package shows live games. It costs $73.49 per month for the four months of the regular season, or single payment of $293.96. With Max, you also get NFL RedZone and DirectTV Fantasy Zone. Red Zone lets you watch every Sunday afternoon touchdown. Fantasy Zone, like the name suggests provides fantasy football stats and analysis.
Max will cost $395.99 for the season or $99 per month. For an additional $50, you can get NFL Game Pass. This service streams live pre-season games and reruns of regular-season games. If you're a college student, you can get a great deal with the NFLST.TV U package. For $24.99 per month for four months or $99.96 for the season, you get the full Max package.
Maybe it's time to go back to school?
- Starts at $49.99 a month for local channels.
- Core, $54.99, includes some local channels and the NFL Network.
With PlayStation Vue, you don't need a PlayStation. You can watch it on pretty much any device. Like the other internet-streaming TV packages, its live channels depend on where you live. In my case, I can get Fox and NBC, but not CBS.
- Requires two Sling TV packages for $40 a month
- GameFinder feature lets you search for specific games
With Sling TV, things get a little complicated. NFL fans need at least two packages. These are Sling TV Orange for $25 and Sling TV Blue for $25. The better deal is to get both for $40 a month. The Orange package includes ESPN 1 and 2, while FOX, FS1, FS2, NBC, NBCSN, and NFL Network live on the Blue package.
NFL Redzone is available on Sports Extra Pack Blue, which costs $10. CBS games are not available. To see what channels are available on which of Sling TV's many packages use Sling TV's Explore Channel page.
Sling TV also boasts a unique feature: Game Finder. This allows you to search for broadcasts featuring specific teams, locations, and games near your home. If you can't see the game on their services, it'll tell you that, too.
- Costs $49.99 a month.
- It carries CBS, NBC, ESPN, and Fox games.
Google's YouTube TV now runs $49.99 a month. It comes with over 70 channels. For NFL fans, the good news is it includes CBS, ESPN, NBC, and Fox. The bad news is that it doesn't cover the NFL Network or RedZone.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It's not as easy to watch the NFL over the internet as it is with a top cable or satellite package, but we're getting there, and cord-cutting is cheaper than its competition. That said, the streaming services prices keep going up and up. In the past year, most services cost $5 more a month. Still, I'll be rooting my Steelers on to victory by streaming the games this fall.
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