You can watch more NFL games on your laptop than you probably realize.
As the league continues to look for ways to make money and expand its scope in the U.S. and internationally, it’s turning to livestreaming.
For the past several years, the NFL has livestreamed the Super Bowl so fans who don’t have access to a TV can still watch the championship game. And last year, the league experimented with streaming one regular-season game. It was touted by the league as a success, with nearly 34 million people tuning in for the Jaguars-Bills Week 7 game on Yahoo, which paid $20 million for the right to stream it.
Now for the first time in its history, the NFL will livestream 10 of its Thursday night contests for the 2016 season after making a deal—reportedly around $10 million—with Twitter last April. That's a huge score for Twitter. As the recently completed Olympics have shown us, younger fans are still watching sporting events but are eschewing TV coverage more often in favor of their internet channels. It seems likely millennial NFL fans will continue that trend, and the league has been mindful in offering them what they want.
Here are your eight best options to watch the NFL if you’re not sitting in front of your TV.
1) NFL on Twitter
Facebook, Verizon Wireless, and Amazon reportedly had interest in streaming NFL games, but ultimately, the league went with Twitter for the 10 Thursday night games (those contests will be split on CBS and NBC, along with a simulcast on the NFL Network). The other six Thursday night games will only be televised by the NFL Network and won’t be available on Twitter.The Twitter stream will place their own ads on the site but will use the feeds and commercials that appear on CBS and NBC. The deal also allows for Twitter to show pregame Periscope broadcasts from players and teams, along with in-game highlights.
This is a great deal for fans who live in the 185 countries where the league doesn’t have a broadcast partner and who now can watch at least one weekly game online for free. The first game to be livestreamed on Twitter will be the week 2 matchup between the Jets and the Bills.
2) NFL Sunday Ticket Max
DirecTV is the only cable or satellite service to offer the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which allows TV viewers to watch live any (or all) of the out-of-market Sunday afternoon games. But if you want watch on a mobile device along with access to the Red Zone and Fantasy Zone channels, you’ll need the NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
The retail price for the NFL Sunday Ticket is $269.64 for the 2016 season, while upgrading to the NFL Sunday Ticket Max will set you back an additional $90. But certain first-time DirecTV subscribers can get the entire 2016 season for free. Is it expensive? Yes. But as DirecTV has said, NFL games that were livestreamed increased by 35 percent during the 2015 season, so, obviously, people are paying for the service.
Customers who can’t get DirecTV also can watch via NFLSundayTicket.TV. That’ll cost you $49.99 per month for four months.
3) NFL.com Game Pass (U.S. edition)
This service isn’t available for livestreaming, but if you love to watch games after you already know what happened, whether to relive your team’s great victory or because you want to break down the film like a coach would, the Game Pass allows fans to watch full replays of every NFL game. It includes all regular-season games, the playoffs, and the Super Bowl, and you can watch on computers, smartphones, tablets, and some connected TV devices. If you don’t have much time, the NFL also offers condensed game replays that allow you to watch a full-length contest in about 30 minutes. The viewer also can watch All-22 and/or end zone views like a coach would.
After a free seven-day trial, it’ll cost you $99.99 per year for access to the archives of all games from 2009 until the present. This service is only available in the U.S.
4) NFL.com Game Pass (International edition)
Unlike the U.S. version of Game Pass, NFL games can be streamed live (or on-demand) on all of your devices and/or your connected TV. Plus, international fans can watch the Red Zone channel and, unless you live in Canada, the NFL Network. It also includes condensed games and the ability to watch All-22 coaches film. Oftentimes, this is the only way for an international fan to watch the NFL live, with the exception of those 10 Twitter-streamed Thursday night games.
If you’re a cord-cutter, Sling is a good option because it still allows you to watch football for a relatively cheap price on your TV, computer, or mobile device. The Sling Orange package ($20 per month) allows you to watch Monday Night Football on ESPN, but to watch the Sunday afternoon Fox games and the Sunday night game on NBC, you’d have to order the Sling Blue package ($25 per month)—which doesn’t happen to include ESPN. To get all the aforementioned channels, along with the NFL Network and NFL RedZone channels, you’d have to buy the Orange + Blue package for $40 per month. CBS, though, isn’t available on Sling, meaning you couldn’t watch any of the games on that channel.
6) Playstation Vue
Another good one for cord-cutters, Playstation Vue offers games from NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN, though sometimes there are regional restrictions. Depending on where you live, it could cost as much as $45 a month for a package that will give you those games. The NFL Network and the NFL RedZone channels also are available, though adding RedZone is a $39.99 upgrade. By using PlayStation Vue, you can stream games on PS4, PS3, Amazon Fire and Roku devices, and iOS and Android phones.
7) Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile
If you have a Verizon smartphone, you can stream in-market NFL games on any of its partner networks for free. Sounds like a wonderful deal, right? It could be. Unless you have a small, inexpensive data plan. Because if you livestream NFL games on your phone, there’s a decent chance you might be doing so away from Wi-Fi, and that means you’re going to have to pay with your data instead of with cash. Plus, you can only watch the games on your phone. T-Mobile, meanwhile, has a streaming feature called "Binge On" that allows you to watch all the NFL you'd like without dipping into your data bucket.
These games aren’t live, but the NFL is making 96 previously played, full-length games available on YouTube this season. The league allowed the fans from all 32 teams to vote for their favorite games, and the top three vote-getters from each squad have been included. Beginning in July and lasting until Super Bowl LI, the games will premiere each Friday on YouTube to audiences around the world. Here are the 10 best YouTube games to watch to help get you started.
Whichever your preference, here are the games for Week 2 of the 2016 season (all times in ET).
Thursday, Sept. 15
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, 8:25pm
Sunday, Sept. 18
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers, 1pm
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns, 1pm
Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions, 1pm
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans, 1pm
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots, 1pm
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants, 1pm
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1pm
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, 1pm
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05pm
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05pm
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos, 4:25pm
Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders, 4:25pm
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers, 4:25pm
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, 8:30pm
Monday, Sept. 19
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears, 8:30pm