How to Stream Live NFL Football Matches This Season
The NFL regular season kicks off in a few weeks, and if you don’t feel like messing with rabbit ears, cable TV subscriptions, and regional power outages, that means it’s time to explore your streaming options. As in previous years, this is a mess.
This year Twitter is entering the video streaming mix with Thursday night broadcasts, the DirecTVNFLSunday Ticket is expanding its reach to more people, and PlayStation Vue and Sling TV are adding the NFL Network . That’s all to say: streaming NFL games is somewhat trickier than in previous years, although it looks like you have more options.
As always, you can get most of the games on the market from CBS, Fox and NBC with a good antenna , but that can be unpredictable and still requires a TV instead of giving you the freedom to watch on any screen you like. Let’s go over your other options.
Twitter will stream 10 games on Thursday night
Earlier this year, Twitter acquired the rights to broadcast 10 football matches on Thursday night. Along with live streaming, Twitter, CBS, NBC or the NFL Network will be streaming these games over cable and air:
- Week 2, September 15: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
- Week 3, September 22: Houston Texans at the New England Patriots
- Week 5, October 6: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
- Week 6, October 13: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
- Week 7, Oct 20: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
- Week 11, Nov 17: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
- Week 13 Dec 1: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
- Week 14 Dec 8 : Auckland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
- Week 15, Dec 15: Los Angeles Rams to Seattle Seahawks
- Week 16, Dec 22: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
It is still not clear at this point exactly how these streams will work, although we can safely assume that the NFL Twitter landing page will walk you through the process after the season starts. Twitter will also be streaming Periscope’s pre-game broadcasts and in-game highlights. You don’t need a Twitter account to view the feed, and the NFL network will stream all games not included in the Twitter deal.
Sling TV and PlayStation Vue have the most wireless games
Cable Scissors have two main options for live TV broadcasting: PlayStation Vue and Sling TV . Both will give you access to NFL games this season. PlayStation Vue costs $ 30-40 per month depending on your region and has apps for PS3, PS4, and most other consoles . You can also access PlayStation Vue on Android and iOS, although mobile apps require a TV-connected device like Roku or PlayStation. Sling TV, on the other hand, costs $ 40 a month and has apps for most consoles, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Xbox One .
Unfortunately, the availability of channels complicates things a bit. Plus, even though they do broadcast video services, both are still subject to regional blackouts , so you’ll only get the same games as your local wireless networks, which sucks.
Sling TV Orange + Blue Top Plan at $ 40 / month is what you need. It comes with Fox, NBC, ESPN, and the NFL Network. This means you get all the games on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday, as well as the local games that take place on Fox on Sunday . CBS, however, is not on Sling TV, so unfortunately you cannot stream games that are broadcast on CBS. If you don’t want football on ESPN Monday night, you can upgrade to the Blue plan for $ 25 a month. Plus, Sling TV LAN plans are only available in certain markets, so check availability before signing up . They offer a seven day free trial if you’d like to test it out before committing. I would recommend signing up for a trial before your first regular season game so you have a full weekend to see how it works and maybe stream a preseason game or two and see how you like it.
Sling TV also added the NFL Network and NFL RedZone this year . The NFL Network brings you all of the pre-season games happening right now, along with upcoming Thursday night games, although some regional blackouts may still happen on those Thursday nights. For an extra $ 5 a month, you can add NFL RedZone , a channel that switches between each live game based on which one is most interesting at the moment and depending on what’s available on which network it might be worth it. …
With PlayStation Vue, you can stream ESPN, NBC, Fox, and CBS games, although regional restrictions restrict your access to some channels. The NFL Network and NFL RedZone are also on the way this season . NFL Networking is included in the Core and Elite plans, but you have to shell out $ 40 for RedZone for the entire season. If you go to their plans page and enter your zip code, you will see which direct channels are available to you under which plan. For example, here in Los Angeles I can access ESPN, NBC, Fox and CBS, but in Denver I can only access ESPN and CBS, so your experience will be different. Like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue has a seven-day trial, so I recommend giving it a try before signing up.
NFL Sunday Ticket offers off-market games for select families and students at select universities
DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket video streaming service is available for $ 50 per month. The service streams games that are not sold on the market from non-local teams, without confusing restrictions. It’s great if, say, you moved to Los Angeles but would rather watch the Denver Broncos over the Los Angeles Rams. The NFL Sunday Ticket is available online, on Android, iOS, and most set-top boxes , but signing up for a subscription includes a few caveats.
First, you can only subscribe to it if DirecTV is not available in your home or apartment. To check availability, go to the NFL Sunday Tickets page and enter your address. If you are a student and qualify, you can get a half price subscription – $ 24.99 per month.
If you’re not sure which games you want to watch, local or not, you can go to the Sunday Ticket Season Schedule page and check using your zip code. It’s not yet updated for the 2016 season, so take a peek here as we get closer to opening day. In my experience, regional power outages are difficult to predict .
Verizon smartphones get access to a handful of games
Verizon subscribers get access to local games on Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights, Monday nights, and Thursday nights. You can also subscribe to the NFL RedZone for an additional $ 1.99 per month. The catch is, this is exclusive to not only Verizon customers, but phones as well, so you’ll have to watch football on a tiny screen.
Stream games live from Fox, NBC and ESPN with a cable password
Now, if you have a cable subscription (or at least you have access to someone’s login information), you can log into multiple apps to stream games live. This includes most of the Fox games, NBC’s Sunday Night Games, and ESPN’s Monday Night Games. Here’s where you need to go on game day:
These streams give you access to tons of games, so if you have your cable TV password this is a surefire way to stream most of the season. In my experience, all three web apps work well with Chromecast as well if you want to cast to your TV.
Bottom line: these are your most comfortable options
Streaming NFL games continues to be challenging. Let’s summarize by going through the best options for online broadcasts:
- Twitter will be streaming most of the games on Thursday night, with the rest streaming on the NFL network.
- Commercially available Sunday games on CBS, Fox and NBC (the same ones offered on air with an antenna) are available for streaming on a Sling TV or Sony Vue subscription. This is the best option if for some reason you do not have an antenna or access to terrestrial channels.
- Off-market games (games that are not broadcast on your local radio stations) are available on the NFL Sunday Ticket. This is probably your best overall option if you want to watch non-local teams.
- Fox, NBC and ESPN games are available from mobile devices and computers with authenticated cable subscriptions. This is the best option if you have a cable or borrow someone’s login information.
It’s nearly impossible to access every game cheaply or from one service, especially if you enjoy watching a non-local team. Get ready to jump through the hoops to figure out how to stream the games you want. Confusing as it is, at least this year there are more options.