The 2018 NFL season is rapidly approaching and crazed football fans across the United States are preparing to satisfy their football fix through their televisions, computers, laptops, IPads, smart phones, or any other of the endless options provided in this booming technological age. The substantial advancements in technology have provided an abundance of options to choose from when deciding how to watch the NFL on Sundays, Mondays, and now Thursdays.
Fans do not have to rely on the same cable providers to watch the same regional teams play every week if do not wish to do so. Nevertheless, utilizing local cable providers is still an outlet fans stick with to cheer on their favorite teams. However, for those wishing to find an alternate and often cheaper outlet, the options are there and they continue to expand every year as technology continues to become smarter.
As the kickoff to the season draws closer and closer, it is imperative football fans decide on which method of watching their favorite team is most suitable for them.
Watching NFL With Cable
Watching American football games online with NFL live stream is now extremely popular. The 2018 season will kick off on September 6, 2018 and continue through the Super Bowl on February 3, 2019. NFL Football is one of the most popular American sports, with millions of fans anxiously waiting for the next season to start.
Who Benefits by Watching NFL on Cable?
There are an abundance of fans who stick to their local cable providers to watch NFL throughout the regular season and playoffs. This primarily benefits the fans whose favorite teams are locally based and can frequently rely on their local cable provider to broadc ast their team’s game. For diehard NFL fans located in New York City for example, it is virtually guaranteed the Giants or Jets will be broadcast on local networks when playing on Sunday afternoons.If their beloved team is local, then they should be in luck should cable be their method of watching their team every week.
The casual fan who does not mind who they watch on a weekly basis should be satisfied with the games their local cable networks air since they are guaranteed to get several games each week. Even with the most basic cable options, NFL fans are guaranteed to see games every Sunday afternoon and Sunday night with their subscription. The stations which provide these games include CBS, FOX, and NBC.
Who Does Not Benefit Watching NFL on Cable?
An NFL fan obsessed about watching their favorite team play every game of the season may not benefit by sticking to their cable provider. For example, a Los Angeles Ram fan living in Chicago may not be so lucky when attempting to watch their beloved Rams in the windy city. For a diehard supporter of a team, location will be a vital factor when deciding to stick to their local cable provider.
NFL Regional Coverage
CBS and FOX air regional coverage every week on Sunday afternoons. Depending on the time slots which local teams play, CBS and FOX air one game or possibly two games each Sunday for NFL viewers. If the network is scheduled to air one game a particular Sunday afternoon, the timeslot is either scheduled for 1:00PM EST or 4:05PM EST. Sometimes either CBS or FOX will broadcast a double header to give fans double the action. If either network is scheduled for a doubleheader, the time slots for their games are 1:00PM EST and 4:25PM EST. When using local cable networks to watch the NFL on Sunday afternoons, fans will in most cases have access to watch three regional coverage games.
It is important to note CBS airs primarily AFC teams and FOX airs primarily NFC teams. For the fans who watch specific teams or prefer to watch one conference over the other, this is valuable information should they stick to local cable networks for their NFL Sundays.
Sunday nights and Monday nights include primetime coverage of the most hyped games of the week. Fans that rely on cable to watch these primetime games are in luck since they are broadcasted on networks included in most packages. Sunday Night Football games air on local NBC networks across the country at 8:20PM EST. Like CBS and FOX, NBC will be accessible for the most basic of cable packages so watching Sunday Night Football will be accessible for anyone who has cable.
The NFL will kick off the 2018 regular season this year on NBC with a Thursday night special on week 1. The NFL season begins on Thursday September 6, 2018 with the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles taking on the Atlanta Falcons. The opening game is scheduled to kickoff at 8:20PM EST and anyone with basic cable will be able to view the special broadcast since it will air on a local network.
Monday Night Football is broadcast on ESPN and one game is featured every week with the exception of week 1 and week 17. Monday Night Football will have a special on week 1 with two broadcasts as opposed to one. The first broadcast for the week 1 special is a 7:10PM EST kickoff between the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions. Immediately following the conclusion of the first game is a west coast showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raiders scheduled to kickoff at 10:15PM EST. From week 2 until week 16, Monday Night Football will air its usual one game each Monday night at 8:15PM EST. Week 17 will not include a Monday Night Football broadcast in order to provide potential playoff teams as much rest as possible after the conclusion of the regular season.
Will My Cable Provider Include ESPN?
The majority of cable providers include ESPN among their channels for viewers. However, it should be of note for some fans that some cable providers do not include ESPN among their most basic packages. For the fans who wish to rely on cable to watch the NFL during the 2018 season, Monday Night Football could potentially not be available depending on what specific package they purchased with their cable provider.
Let’s use Xfinity as an example to view the difference between the most basic cable packages vs an expanded basic cable package. The most basic cable package with Xfinity typically includes local stations such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and any other local stations. In addition to local stations, viewers have access to local government channels and educational channels.
A customer who has what Xfinity calls the “Limited Basic Cable” package will have no problem watching the regionally broadcast Sunday afternoon games on FOX and CBS or Sunday Night Football games on NBC. However, this package would not allow the customer to view Monday Night Football games since ESPN is not included in the Limited Basic Cable package. They would need to upgrade if they wish to view Monday Night Football games with Xfinity as their cable provider.
For Xfinity, the package which would include ESPN and allow the viewer access to Monday Night Football games is named the “Expanded Basic Cable” package. This option gives access to roughly 30-50 channels depending on location and ESPN is included among the channels available in this package. For NFL fans watching football on cable in 2018, it would be smart to contact their cable provider to determine which specific package they have.
What about NFL Network?
The 2018 NFL season will additionally broadcast several games on NFL Network throughout the season. The NFL Network will be airing the majority of preseason games which have a national broadcast throughout the month of August as teams prepare for the regular season.
During the regular season, the NFL Network will air games on Thursday nights with a kickoff time of 8:20pm EST. Thursday night games will be available to view on NFL Network every week during the regular season except week 1, week 12, week 16, and week 17.
There will be a Thursday night game during the opening week of the regular season, but the special broadcast for the season opening Philadelphia-Atlanta game will be on NBC. Week 12 is Thanksgiving week and while the NFL will have three broadcasts on Thanksgiving Day (which is on Thursday), the broadcasts will air on CBS, FOX, and NBC. The NFL Network will air two games exclusively in week 16, but they will be special broadcasts on Saturday as opposed to Thursday night. The two special Saturday broadcasts on the NFL Network will air at 4:30pm EST and 8:20pm EST. The NFL Network will not have a televised game during week 17 as the regular season comes to a close.
For cable viewers wishing to watch the NFL on NFL Network, they may be in a similar predicament as those wishing to watch Monday Night Football on ESPN. Most cable providers require an upgrade in packages or an extra fee to have access to the NFL Network. As an example, Spectrum answers a specific question regarding the NFL Network under their FAQ section. In order to have access to NFL Network with Spectrum as their cable provider, customers will have to acquire Sports Pass for an additional fee. Spectrum additionally provided a note stating NFL Network may not be available in all areas for their customers.
Many NFL fans utilizing solely cable to watch the NFL will likely have to pay an extra fee in order to watch games aired on NFL Network. This is especially the case if those fans wish to watch the entirety of televised preseason games and special broadcast NFL Network games.
For the fans who simply wish to watch Thursday Night Football games, they may be in luck as the majority of Thursday Night Football games during the regular season will be aired on FOX simultaneously with the NFL Network. Out of the 13 regularly scheduled Thursday Night Football games, 11 will be aired simultaneously on NFL Network and FOX. For cable viewers wishing not to pay an extra fee to acquire NFL Network, they will have the option to watch Thursday Night Football on FOX which will be available in their basic package.
The only two Thursday Night Football games to air exclusively on NFL Network during the regular season include a week 2 matchup of division rivals between Baltimore and Cincinnati, and a week 3 matchup between struggling franchises New York Jets and Cleveland. The only other regular season games in 2018 to air exclusively on the NFL Network include a special week 8 9:30am EST broadcast of Jacksonville-Philadelphia in London and special Saturday broadcasts at 4:30pm EST and 8:20pm EST during week 15 and week 16. The specific games to be aired during the Saturday special NFL Network broadcasts have not been announced yet.
If NFL fans viewing games during the 2018 season on cable do not mind missing the handful of exclusive NFL Network broadcasts, then there will be no need to pay an extra fee to access the limited number of games only available on the NFL Network. For diehard fans hoping to watch every game available or those wishing to watch their favorite team every week on cable, it may be necessary to pay an extra fee to acquire a higher cable package which includes the NFL Network.
Is Watching the NFL on Cable Right for Me?
The 2018 NFL season will provide several games every week of the regular season for fans sticking to cable to watch football. They will have access to all regionally televised games on FOX and CBS on Sunday afternoons, and all national broadcasts on NBC for Sunday Night Football. However, games televised on ESPN and NFL Network could possibly be unavailable unless an upgrade in packages is made.
For the casual NFL viewer, watching the NFL on cable would be a sufficient option if they are already a subscriber to a package from their local cable provider. This is especially the case if their favorite team is constantly televised regionally and on multiple national broadcasts.
For the dedicated NFL fan who desires to watch every game possible, it would be wise to research other options. In addition, the viewer whose favorite team is not locally based will likely miss their team play each week using cable unless they are playing in a nationally televised game. Fortunately, there is a vast array of options to watch the NFL in today’s technological age without relying 100 percent on cable.
Watching the NFL Without Cable
For NFL fans wishing to get their weekly dose of NFL action without having to rely on their local cable provider, they are in luck as the number of low cost streaming services which provide NFL coverage has increased over the years. In an era where people are flocking to online streaming services by the millions, numerous companies are trying to get in on the action to provide the highest quality streaming service. In addition to online streaming services to replace cable providers, NFL fans have the luxury to finally have access to out of market games with packages that provide the ability to watch all games throughout the season.
There are a couple of ultra-cheap methods to watch the NFL to add to the list, and many NFL fans may not have even realized they were available. In today’s technological age, the options to watch NFL without cable seem to be growing each season.
Online Streaming Services
There are already big names to mention which have made an impact for many Americans wishing to trade in their cable bill for something more manageable in price. NFL fans are in luck as many well-known online streaming services provide just as many and sometimes more games than their cable provider for a much lower cost. When it comes to tuning into the NFL for the 2018 season, NFL fans wishing to escape their cable bill should surely put online streaming services at the top of their list.
One popular streaming service is DirecTV Now which is a streaming service offered by AT&T. DirecTV Now offers CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN on their lowest costing plan, called the “Live a Little” plan, at $35/month while including roughly 60 overall channels to choose from.
For those familiar with DirecTV, this could be a cheaper alternative to satellite or cable TV to tune in to the NFL weekly. Games which are televised on local stations such as FOX or CBS are determined by a customer’s location. Those wishing to subscribe to DirecTV Now should contact AT&T to determine which local channels are available at their location before subscribing.
Even though only a Wi-Fi connection is required is stream DirecTV Now, NFL games cannot be streamed on a cell phone. NFL fans that enjoy watching games on the go and away from their TV will require a computer, tablet, or a streaming device to view games.
DirecTV Now has included Regional Sports Networks to their list of available channels, but they are not available with the Live a Little plan at $35/month. In order to obtain Regional Sports Networks in their package, customers must subscribe to at least the “Just Right” plan which is $50/month.
NFL fans hoping to watch NFL Network will be out of luck with DirecTV Now as the service provider does not include the NFL Network among its channels. Those who are expecting to tune into live games and all the latest NFL news from NFL Network will not be satisfied with DirecTV Now.
PlayStation Vue is a streaming service owned by Sony and although it was initially only accessible with a PlayStation, it can now be used elsewhere. It has expanded to other devices such as Google Chromecast, Android Systems, and others. PlayStation Vue offers all the primary networks to view NFL games like its competitors providing CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN.
Similarly, local stations and which NFL games are available for viewing are determined by the customer’s location. It is important to note that some live broadcasts of games will not be available for certain locations. Some channels do offer on demand versions where they do not offer live broadcasting of NFL games. It is best for a customer to check in advance if their location offers live broadcasting or on demand versions for local stations before subscribing to a plan.
PlayStation Vue is slightly more expensive than the two previously mentioned streaming services at $39.99/month and it has fewer channels available with roughly 40 total channels available in its basic package. Despite lacking as many total channels available in its basic package, PlayStation Vue does offer a wide variety of channel options to choose from allowing customers to truly pay for the networks they want.
For a slight increase in monthly cost, PlayStation Vue users will have NFL Network available to stream in addition to the primary networks to broadcast NFL games. The $39.99/month basic package is called the PS Vue Access package and the next package up at $44.99/month is called the PS Vue Core. Subscribers who upgrade to the PS Vue Core will be able to watch games exclusively on NFL Network. Subscribers under the PS Vue Core plan or one of its two higher packages are also eligible to purchase a Sports Pack of channels which includes NFL Network RedZone for $10 extra per month.
PlayStation Vue is a fabulous option for streaming on multiple devices due to its variety of devices where streaming is available. Not only can a subscriber register five devices with PlayStation Vue, but they can stream all five devices at the same time. PlayStation Vue offers a quality DVR much like YouTube TV which is included within its monthly cost. A new improved feature of its DVR includes automatically recording an extra 50 minutes of any sporting event which is recorded. NFL fans can be rest assured they will not miss any of the game they recorded if they were not able to watch it live for whatever reason.
PlayStation Vue may be a slightly more expensive streaming service than DirecTV Now or YouTube TV, but it benefits NFL viewers by allowing them access to every station which airs NFL games without having to rely on their local cable provider.
Another popular streaming service for viewers wishing to do away with cable TV is Sling TV which is owned by Dish Network. Its packages can get a little tricky for NFL fans that are looking to have the most channels available to stream NFL games.
Sling TV offers two primary packages which are called the orange and blue packages. The orange package is available for $20/month and it includes ESPN. The blue package is $25/month and it includes FOX, NBC, and NFL Network. The two basic packages can be bought together for a total of $40/month.
The feature which truly makes Sling TV stand out is its wide variety of add-on packages available so subscribers can truly custom design which channels they have available in their package. Its two basic packages are at incredibly low monthly rates and they each contain many commonly viewed networks. Customers can add extra packages for similar networks which best suite their interests so they do not have to pay for channels they will have no intention to watch. For example, Sling TV has a Sports Extra package for only $10 extra per month which includes over a dozen extra sports stations.
One thing NFL fans will quickly notice about Sling TV is one of the major stations which airs NFL games, CBS, is not available in either of its primary packages. CBS is not included in the orange or blue packages, and subscribers to Sling TV must obtain a service which streams CBS exclusively to access games on CBS. Sling TV subscribers can purchase CBS All Access to view games on CBS for $5.99 per month, but this can be a hassle for those who wish to have all stations available on one service provider.
For NFL viewers to have access to all stations which air NFL games, the total monthly cost would be $45.99/month once you combine Sling orange, Sling blue, and a separate CBS All Access subscription to watch games on CBS. Due to Sling TV’s overall higher cost per month to have access to all stations which air NFL games, it may not be the best streaming service option for NFL viewers.
A great streaming service option for sports fans in general is fuboTV. It is available for $44.99/month and it includes regional coverage of FOX, CBS, and NBC. Unlike several other streaming services, it does include the NFL Network within in its list of roughly 60-70 channels available to stream.
For the diehard NFL fan, the major drawback from fuboTV is its exclusion of ESPN from its list of available channels. An NFL viewer who subscribes to fuboTV will have to sacrifice Monday Night Football games throughout the season. However, fuboTV does offer an extensive amount of sports stations in general so it may be possible to gather NFL news and highlights without the need of ESPN. NFL RedZone and other sports specific stations are available through their “Sports Plus” package for only an extra $9/month. If ESPN is a necessity for NFL viewers to watch Monday Night Football and to watch sports news and highlights, then fuboTV will leave them unsatisfied.
A couple other negatives is its limited storage DVR storage of only 30 hours and only being able to stream two devices at one time.
For a higher price than other streaming services and not including ESPN among its available channels, fuboTV may not be the most sufficient streaming service to fully satisfy NFL viewers.
Hulu Live TV
Hulu Live TV is yet another online streaming service which has appeared due to the increasing trend of individuals cutting their cable packages.Hulu Live TV is priced at $40/month and includes roughly 50 live television channels in addition to their commercial free library. Hulu costs $12/month to watch TV with no commercials so the addition of Hulu Live TV could benefit NFL fans that are already subscribed to Hulu. It would be a money saver to simply have Hulu Live TV as opposed to Hulu and a separate live TV streaming service.
For a small upgrade fee, Hulu Live TV subscribers can watch live TV with no commercials for only $44/month. Hulu Live TV offers CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN like many of its competitors. Some local broadcasts on CBS, FOX, and NBC could potentially be unavailable for certain locations so it is important to research which areas this could impact.
NFL Network is not available on Hulu Live TV so games exclusively on NFL Network will be unavailable.
Compared to other streaming services, Hulu live TV is lacking in DVR storage and being able to stream multiple devices. Only 50 hours of DVR storage is available and simultaneous streaming on multiple devices is limited to two devices. For an additional fee, subscribers can purchase additional DVR storage and can stream on as many devices as desired.
Due its low storage DVR, lack of simultaneous streaming capabilities, and higher price, Hulu Live TV may not be the most desirable option for NFL fans to watch games unless they are already subscribed to Hulu and wish to combine the two.
Much like DirecTV Now, YouTube TV offers customers the ability to watch NFL games on CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN for a competitive price compared to cable providers. All four of the previously mentioned channels and roughly 50 other stations are available on YouTube TV for $35/month.
The local channels are also dependent on regional location so specific games available for customers will be determined by where they are located. There are a few stations where particular regions will be unable to view live TV and they will only be able to watch the station by video on demand. This includesHarlingen-Wslco-Brnsvl-McA (Texas) for FOX and Des Moines and Oklahoma City for NBC. All regions across the country have live TV accessible on CBS and ESPN through YouTube TV.
One feature which helps YouTube TV stand out from its competitors in the streaming services market is its DVR capabilities. This can really benefit the NFL viewer who is unable to watch games live and must watch their games at a later time. They offer unlimited DVR recordingfor no extra cost so fans utilizing YouTube TV can record as many games as required. In addition to its fantastic DVR services, YouTube TV is popular among its users for its consistent high quality when streaming.
YouTube TV unfortunately does not include NFL Network among its provided channels so NFL fans choosing YouTube TV will have to sacrifice games which air exclusively on NFL Network. For NFL fans looking for a low cost streaming subscription which offers high quality and flexibility to record games, YouTube TV could be a good fit so long as they are willing to sacrifice not having NFL Network.
No matter which online streaming service an NFL viewer decides to subscribe to, they will need a device to stream their selected games on. Fortunately, there are a plethora of devices which are compatible to most if not all online streaming services.
One of the most popular and reliable devices to stream live TV is Roku. Roku is arguably the most well-known device used to for connecting streaming services directly to the TV through HDMI. They are easy to setup and are available for a good price for NFL fans wishing to utilize an online streaming service.
Google Chromecast is a device which operates in a different manner, but is effective nonetheless. An extra step is required to stream on the TV via Google Chromecast as opposed to connecting directly to the TV itself. An app from a computer or smartphone would be required to show the same screen on the TV which is on the other device.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon has released its own device named Fire TV which is very similar to Roku in function by connecting straight to the TV. For those who use Amazon frequently, Fire TV might be the best choice due to its integration capabilities with other Amazon services.
Other Streaming Devices Available
There are many other streaming devices to choose besides the three previously mentioned which includeApple TV 4K, Nvidia Shield, Amazon Fire TV Cube, and numerous others. Much like the process of choosing an online streaming service, NFL viewers opting to cut cable have a vast array of options to consider when choosing which device to stream from.
Watching Out of Market NFL Games
One thing all the above mentioned streaming services have in common is out of market broadcasts on CBS and FOX for Sunday afternoon games are unavailable for viewing. This makes it tricky for a NFL fan to consistently watch their favorite team if they live outside of their favorite team’s market.
There are some ways to be able to watch one NFL team play every single week of the season no matter if it’s a regionally televised game or an out of market game. However, the different methods available to watch them can be either inconvenient or pricey. If an NFL fan is dedicated enough to watching his team, the inconvenience or price may be worth it. These methods of watching the NFL during the 2018 season may provide the best options for those who cannot miss their favorite team play for any reason.
DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket
NFL Sunday Ticket is the option that comes to mind the quickest for NFL fans to be able to watch their favorite team play every week guaranteed. Even if an NFL fan’s team is playing in an out of market game and they are not televised on any of the local stations, NFL Sunday Ticket is the perfect option to be able to watch them on the comforts of their own TV. Not only can they watch their team play, they have access to every single game on Sunday afternoons which air on FOX and CBS markets across the country.
This method of watching the NFL is perfect for the diehard NFL fan who does not want to miss a beat of great football every Sunday. However, the flexibility of having access to every regional NFL game every Sunday does come with a price for NFL viewers. NFL Sunday Ticket is only available through DirecTV meaning viewers will have to be subscribed to DirecTV satellite TV to even be eligible to purchase it.
On top of having to be a DirecTV subscriber, the cost of NFL Sunday Ticket is $44.99 per payment in six payments over the duration of the regular season. The monthly cost of the DirecTV subscription in addition to purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket would not be ideal for the NFL viewer on a budget as they would be soaring over the cost of cable providers.
If monthly cost is not a factor and simply having access to every game available is the primary focus, then DirecTV would be the perfect option. However, for fans wishing to save money, it would be smart investment to look elsewhere to watch NFL games.
It is worth mentioning that AT&T does offer a streaming service exclusively in markets where DirecTV is not available. This streaming service would allow its customers access to watch every single game each week. Much like DirecTV, this streaming service which AT&T provides is rather pricey at $70 for two months.
It is surely worth looking into for the NFL viewers who are unable to install a satellite dish at their home and do not have the option of subscribing to DirecTV. Also, it is definitely an option worth researching for the NFL fan who is wishing to cut their cable provider while still wanting access to as many games as possible. Anyone who is interested in AT&T’s DirecTV streaming service will need to visit AT&T’s website to determine if they are eligible for the service.
NFL Game Pass
There is an alternate option for NFL fans who are obsessed with watching every game of the NFL season without having to subscribe to cable or DirecTV. An online streaming service called NFL Game Pass is available at a much cheaper $99 for the entire season. NFL Game Pass allows fans access to every game of the regular season.
This is perfect for the NFL viewer who loves being able to watch whichever game they desire. NFL fans whose favorite team is located far away from where they live can catch their favorite team play each week no matter where they are located. The streaming service allows fans to stream all games from multiple devices including Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and others. In addition to having access to all regular season games, subscribers to NFL Game Pass have access to NFL Network to get their daily dose of NFL news.
The only downside that comes to mind when considering NFL Game Pass as an option to watch the NFL is games CANNOT be streamed live. Subscribers to NFL Game Pass will have to wait until the each game’s broadcast has come to a complete end for it to become available to watch.
However, is this truly a downside when having access to every regular season game in its entirety for $99? If an NFL fan is patient enough to wait until Sunday nights to watch the Sunday afternoon games or the next morning to watch primetime broadcasts, then this should not be an issue. It could actually be a plus when fans consider the fact they can watch whichever game they want without having to sit through commercials. This can allow NFL fans to watch their favorite team and more games they are itching to watch that week. The only thing to avoid is finding out who won the previously broadcasted games from any outside sources who watched them live.
For the NFL fan that wants access to as many NFL games as possible or can never catch their favorite team on regional broadcasts, NFL Game Pass is certainly an option to consider for the 2018 NFL season. At only $99 for the entire season, it certainly beats the price of cable or DirecTV.
Great Deals Through Mobile Phone Providers
There could actually be a way to watch NFL games for a lower rate than the previously mentioned options and it might even be free for certain individuals. Some mobile phone providers are offering amazing deals to watch the NFL by being one of their customers.
For example, AT&T is offering an exclusive deal to its customers who are subscribed to their unlimited plan. These customers will have access to AT&T’s online streaming service, DirecTV Now, for only $10/month as compared to the regular Live a Little package price of $35/month. DirecTV Now is already one of the most popular online streaming services to watch NFL games due to its low monthly cost. AT&T unlimited customers now have the opportunity to score big time on a great deal to save money on their method of watching the NFL. As long as local stations are available in their region, this is a fabulous way for AT&T unlimited customers to watch the NFL for virtually nothing.
Even though AT&T customers get a great deal through their mobile phone provider, it may be Verizon Wireless which offers the most alluring deal of them all. Verizon Wireless offers its customers the opportunity to watch the NFL for free through its NFL Mobile App. That’s right, completely free! Verizon customers are able to stream regional broadcast games based on location, Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football all through the app at no extra charge with their regular monthly phone subscription. The only negative to using the NFL Mobile App is being unable to stream games from the comfort of a TV.
Verizon will actually be expanding this service to a wider range of audiences beginning with the 2018 NFL season. NFL fans that carry any phone provider will now be able to stream games for free through the NFL Mobile App. All of the previously mentioned games which were available exclusively to Verizon Wireless customers in past seasons are now available to anyone for free. Once again, the only negative side is these games will not be available to stream on a TV. Previously, NFL games could only be viewed on the NFL Mobile App through a smartphone, but fortunately games can now be viewed on a tablet as well. If NFL fans do not mind watching the game on a smaller screen than their TV, then the price of the NFL Mobile App simply cannot be beat.
NFL viewers opting to turn to their phone provider for coverage of NFL games during the 2018 season can save big by having games available for little or no cost. It provides a phenomenal outlet for NFL fans looking to cut cable, satellite TV, and looking for the cheapest streaming service possible.
Additional Thursday Night Football Coverage
For any NFL fan whose cable package or online streaming service does not include NFL Network, thus the ability to view every single Thursday Night Football game available, there is another outlet to watch Thursday Night Football games.
NFL renewed a deal with Amazon allowing Amazon Prime subscribers to stream every Thursday Night Football game through multiple devices. If an NFL fan for whatever reason has difficulty viewing Thursday Night Football games, then they can tune in through Amazon if they already have an Amazon Prime account. Streaming games through Amazon is a great opportunity for NFL fans abroad to watch games as Amazon has over 100 million Prime members all over the world.
It is likely the NFL will experiment with further viewing opportunities for Amazon members so this could likely be a more lucrative option to watch NFL games in the next upcoming years. For now, Amazon will offer a new method for NFL fans to get their football fix on the Thursday Night Football schedule.
An Option for Casual NFL Fans
There may be some fans who are not dedicated to watching every single game each week, but they would still catch some NFL action each week. For the casual NFL fan not caring about which specific teams are playing and hoping to budget, there is a simple and inexpensive option to watch the NFL.
In order to catch coverage of regional and national broadcast live games on local networks such as CBS, FOX, and NBC, all that is required is an indoor or outdoor antenna (commonly referred to as over-the-air antennas). These local stations can be picked up with theantenna without the need of a cable subscription.
Antennas are available for purchase at online retailers such as Channel Master or Antennas Direct, and a variety of options are available for a great price. Only local channels become available with the installation of an antenna, but the beauty is picking up all the local channels without having to pay for cable.
Upon the installation of the antenna, NFL viewers will be able to view the regional broadcasts on CBS and FOX every Sunday afternoon. Depending on which games are being aired regionally, the viewer using an antenna to watch games will be able to watch two or three games every Sunday afternoon.
Since viewers using the antenna to pick up NFL games will not have cable, they will not have a guide to see which games are being aired regionally in their area. There is a great website available for viewers to determine which games are scheduled to air in their area for each time slot on NFL Sundays. The website which details on the information about regional broadcasts is 506sports.com and they provide all the information needed for NFL fans hoping to catch Sunday football action through their antennas. In addition, Sunday Night Football games and any other broadcast on NBC will be available as well.
Since ESPN and NFL Network are not local networks, NFL fans simply using an antenna will be unable to catch Monday Night Football or games exclusively broadcasted on NFL Network. Overall, for the casual fan that does not mind which team they are watching and is not obsessed with watching every game of the season, a one-time purchase of an over-the-air antenna can be a great way of watching the NFL and saving money.
Which Option is Best?
There are a plethora of options for NFL fans to choose from when deciding how they will watch their weekly dose of football in today’s technological age. The days of relying strictly on bunny ears are long gone, even though they are still an option for NFL viewers.
When determining which method of viewing NFL games is the best, it really depends on an individual’s particular needs and interests. Factors such as cost, amount of games available, being able to watch certain teams play each week, and overall variety in TV subscription come into mind to figure out which option is most suitable. Below are tips for several types of NFL viewers and which options are most recommended for them when deciding on how to watch NFL football.
For the NFL viewer simply worried about cost and nothing else, the best method will surely be watching the NFL Mobile App provided by Verizon Wireless. The NFL Mobile App used to be exclusively available to only Verizon subscribers, but this service is now available to all mobile carriers beginning with the 2018 season. If an NFL viewer already has a smartphone and a mobile phone service, then they can stream NFL games live from their smartphone or tablet at no cost.
All the regional broadcast and primetime national broadcasts will be free for NFL viewers utilizing the NFL Mobile App. As long as watching the games on a screen no bigger than a tablet is fine, this is the perfect option for those wishing to watch the NFL for free.
The alternative for fans that must have the ability to watch football on their TV is using the old fashioned over-the-air antenna to pick up regional broadcasts. A one-time purchase of an antenna will provide super long term savings for the NFL viewer looking to watch games at the lowest price possible. This outlet of watching the NFL is also perfect for the casual fan that is just looking to watch a handful of games each week to get their football fix.
Whether utilizing the NFL Mobile App on a smartphone or tablet or choosing to use an over-the-air antenna, the casual NFL fan will be satisfied.
Accessing Out of Market NFL Games
NFL fans who live far away from their favorite team or want the most games available to watch at their disposal are each in the same predicament. The predicament they each find themselves in is not having the ability to gain access to out of market regional broadcasts. The options most recommended for these NFL fans are DirecTV Sunday Ticket and NFL Game Pass.
DirecTV Sunday Ticket is the perfect option for those wishing to watch live coverage of all the out of market games every Sunday. Even though subscribers are guaranteed to be able to watch the game of their choosing, there are a couple of drawbacks.
DirecTV Sunday Ticket is by far the most expensive method of watching the NFL when the price of the package is combined with the requirement of having to be a DirecTV satellite customer. When combining the two, watching DirecTV Sunday Ticket can be more costly than many cable TV packages. DirecTV announced their price for NFL Sunday Ticket earlier in the year and the overall price for the 2018 season went up to $293.94which is an increase from $281.94 last season. If price is not a factor, then NFL Sunday Ticket is the perfect option for the diehard NFL fan who wants access to every game.
However, diehard NFL fans on a budget would be smarter to go with NFL Game Pass to satisfy their hunger for NFL action. At a modest price of $99 for the entire season, NFL viewers relying on NFL Game Pass have access to all games just like NFL Sunday Ticket. Considering NFL Game Pass is three times cheaper and does not require a subscription to DirecTV, fans on a budget will be better served opting for NFL Game Pass. The only prerequisite is having the patience necessary to wait until every game has ended before streaming it on the device of their choosing.
For the NFL fan whose favorite team plays out of market nearly every week, both options are perfect to never miss a single minute of their team’s season. In addition, any other out of market games which they may be craving to watch are accessible with NFL Sunday Ticket or NFL Game Pass.
Combination of Channel Variety & Price
The last type of NFL viewer is the one who is looking for the right combination of channel selection, amount of football action available, and overall monthly cost. This is commonly accessible through any of the several previously mentioned online streaming services on the market.
If opting to watch the NFL through an online streaming service, determining the right choice can be rather tricky. The best thing to do is to compare the monthly rate, amount of channels available, and features such as DVR storage and simultaneous streaming capabilities of the services in consideration.
If still unsure about which streaming service is the best fit, then always run a free trial as trials are available for most streaming services before making a full commitment. NFL fans can test features, see if their location falls under any market blackouts, view overall quality of streaming, and determine the number of channels available which stream NFL games. After running trials of all the streaming services which are of interest, viewers can make the most educated selection of which service is best for their particular needs.
Over the course of the next several years, many other streaming services are sure to enter the market besides the examples mentioned in this article. The constant competition between streaming services to volley for subscribers will assist in keeping prices low for NFL fans looking to watch the NFL through an online streaming service.
The Final Countdown to the NFL Season
Whether it is through cable, an online streaming service, or any other outlet, NFL fans are sure to find the option which best suits their particular needs and interests. It may require thorough research when determining the right fit, but hopefully this guide makes the decision somewhat easier for NFL fans as the countdown to the kickoff of the 2018 season winds down.