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Primed for pigskin: The best ways to watch football this season (with or without cable)

Michael Ansaldo | Aug. 26, 2016
Whether you’re a cord cutter or a pay-TV addict, we’ll show you all the ways you can watch this season’s bone-crunching action on screens of any size.

Streaming

You don’t necessarily have to be a DirecTV subscriber to stream live games this season. The provider continues to offer discounted NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions for online access to select groups: (very) specifically, apartment dwellers; college students; and residents of metropolitan New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. You can check your eligibility on the NFLSundayTicket.TV site. Games can be viewed via the web or on iOS and Android devices, Google Chromecast, Xbox 360, and Roku and Sony PlayStation consoles.

NFL Mobile

Verizon has a lock on showing NFL games on mobile phones.

Outside of DirecTV, legal streaming options for NFL games continue to expand. NBC offers an interactive broadband broadcast of its televised games, and Verizon subscribers with More Everything plan can live stream all nationally broadcast games through the NFL Mobile app. Both Fox and CBS streamed a selection of games last season, though as of press time neither had indicated if they would repeat the offer this year.

Last season, the NFL partnered with Yahoo! To live stream a single regular-season game for free for the first time ever. This year the league has joined forces with Twitter to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games—the same ones broadcast by NBC and CBS—to a worldwide audience. The digital presentations will include in-game highlights as well as pre-game Periscope broadcasts from the teams and players. You won’t necessarily be tethered to your PC or mobile device to watch these games, either; Twitter is currently talking with Apple about bringing the app to Apple TV.

Perhaps even bigger news is the announcement that two popular streaming services have added the NFL Network and NFL RedZone to their channel lineups (NFL RedZone coverage starts on September 11). Sling TV subscribers now get the NFL Network as part of the $25-per-month Sling Blue subscription package, while NFL RedZone is offered with the Sports Extra add-on for an additional $5 per month. PlayStation Vue includes the NFL Network channel in its Core ($35 per month) and Elite ($45 per month) subscribers. Those subscribers can add an NFL RedZone season pass for $40. In all three instances, subscribers will also have access to both channels through NFL.com, the NFL app on connected TV devices, and the NFL Mobile app.

That’s good news for cord cutters who can potentially get their complete football fix from either service, as both already deliver live NFL action via ESPN, as well as NBC and Fox in select markets.

Looking down field

According to CBS, Super Bowl 50 shattered all previous streaming records for the NFL championship game, with 3.96 million unique viewers—three times the previous year’s audience—tuning into the game on their computers and mobile and connected TV devices.

 

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