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Diehard NFL fans who want to watch their favorite teams have a few options to stream the games live this season. Cordcutters are in luck because multiple networks have full coverage. The games for the 2019 season air on NBC, ESPN, CBS, FOX, and the NFL Network as well as on nfl.com and the NFL app.
It takes a lot of channels to access as many games as possible. FOX carries the Sunday NFC games split by geographic area, while CBS carries the AFC games. Sunday Night Football is on NBC and Monday Night Football is on ESPN. Thursday Night Football appears on FOX for 11 out of 13 games and is simulcast on NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video as well as digital properties across devices on Twitch, NFL, FOX, and FOX Deportes.
Viewers can also catch at least one game live, determined by your location. Live and on-demand access to ESPN’s pay-TV content and NFL Network is also easy to add through most skinny bundle streaming services like Sling TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and DirectTV Now. Credentials from a pay-TV operator or skinny bundle providers like Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV can also provide online access in many other cases. Here is a quick breakdown of ways you can watch this season.
The easiest and cheapest way to watch football is on your local FOX, NBC, or CBS affiliate, which is free with an over-the-air antenna. If you haven’t taken the leap to watch over-the-air TV with an antenna, you’re missing out. You’ll get an HD signal with better picture and sound quality than the compressed signal you have with a cable provider. Modern antennas are small, easy to install and cost less than $50.
Most people who live near a major urban television market can access local network broadcasts for free. See what channels you receive by entering your home address at NoCable. Your free report will show a list of stations, antenna recommendations, and directional tips for setting up your device.
There are more than 200 games to watch on the NFL Network, including all of the Thursday Night Football games, preseason games and more. Most skinny bundle providers include the NFL Network in their base package or charge a nominal fee for adding it as an extra.
Sling TV is the least expensive skinny bundle that carries sports, and it also has the most subscribers. Sling TV costs $25 per month after a three-month introductory rate of $15.
Football fans get the best coverage with the Orange package which includes ESPN, ESPN2, and local channels in some locations. Viewers can also add the NFL Network subscription for $5/month as an Extra to watch NFL news, original programming, and game analysis.
The sports-centric streaming service is $54.99 per month and carries the NFL Network but not ESPN or ESPN2. Live coverage of 2019 NFL preseason is available on fuboTV from your local network if fuboTV carries it, or on your antenna otherwise. Viewers can opt into the fubo Extra package to add the NFL Network to watch 13 live preseason games and all 65 games throughout August on-demand. Check out NFL Network’s full preseason schedule.
Like all sports, the live games on NFL Network are blacked out locally, even if fuboTV doesn’t broadcast the local affiliate. If this happens to you, switch over to your over-the-air antenna to watch the game live. fuboTV works with all of the most common streaming devices, like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV and includes a cloud-based DVR with 30 hours of storage, upgradable to 500 hours.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu’s live TV service includes more local channels than any other low-priced skinny bundle streaming service, so there’s a good chance you’ll have the local NBC and FOX affiliates. Subscribers can also watch football games on ESPN and ESPN2.
Hulu + Live TV works with all of the most common streaming devices, like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. Viewers can also download shows and movies to watch without an internet connection. The service includes a cloud-based DVR with 50 hours of storage and unlimited access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library for $44.99/month.
YouTube TV is widely available to television markets across the country for $49.99 per month. YouTube TV includes an unlimited DVR, 70 channels, and provides local FOX, NBC, and CBS in 90% of U.S. markets. Sports coverage includes ESPN, Fox Sports, Big Ten, and CBS Sports.
Subscribers of DirecTV Now can watch sports on ESPN and ESPN2 in the base level package which costs $50 a month. The service won’t carry the NFL Network or REDZone this season as it has in years past. The streaming service has pretty good coverage of most local channels but is embroiled in a blackout with CBS-owned stations in 14 markets. Before subscribing, check to see what channels are covered in your area.
The best way to catch every game possible is to subscribe to the NFL app or the WatchESPN app. Monday Night Football on ESPN streams live for those with pay-TV credentials after logging in on common streaming devices. Skinny bundle subscribers can also use their login credentials to access the CBS Sports app.
Cordcutting has completely transformed the way we watch TV, with a wide variety of options for streaming or watching the games over the air. Live and on-demand access to ESPN’s pay-TV content and NFL Network is easy to add on the streaming services Sling TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirectTV Now. For the games, you can’t see anywhere else, subscribe to an app for the most complete coverage.
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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