On Sept. 7, the 2023 football season opens with the Detroit Lions challenging Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs, airing on NBC and Peacock. CBS, ABC, Fox, and ESPN will also televise NFL games. But how can you watch the gridiron action on streaming networks?
You know those whiteboards that football coaches use to plan plays, covering them in Xs and Os and arrows and lines? You’ll practically need one to navigate the often confusing world of NFL streaming rights this season. Figuring out where to find certain games is more of an art than a science, with different TV channels securing specific broadcast rights based on the day of the week, the conference (AFC versus NFC), in-market versus out-of-market rules, and blackout policies.
But now, things have gotten even more complicated: NFL Sunday Ticket, for instance, has moved from DirecTV to a new home after nearly 30 years, and some streaming services have even secured exclusive rights to certain games — meaning you’ll need to be a subscriber to tune in. We’ve broken down nine of the most popular platforms to see how they stack up, but making a final choice is really up to you, as you weigh affordability and access to the games you’re dying to see.
Last year, the NFL launched its own streaming service, which is currently going for $6.99 a month or $39.99 a year (after a current 20 percent discount). When you download the app, you’ll need to turn on location services on your phone or tablet so that the service can determine what market you’re in — and which games count as local to your area. NFL+ allows viewers to access live out-of-market preseason games and live local and primetime regular and preseason games, but there’s a catch: You can only watch them on your phone or tablet. An extra $8 a month will get you access to NFL+ Premium on your TV, PC, phone or tablet, and it also gets you condensed game replays, all 22 coaches’ films and NFL RedZone, a special channel that airs on Sundays during games and is hosted by fan-favorite NFL Network anchor Scott Hanson. NFL RedZone shows every touchdown from every game on Sundays, and it’s popular with people who play fantasy football.
Subscribe here: NFL+
Paramount is the parent company of CBS Sports, which has traditionally had broadcast rights to AFC Sunday-afternoon games, as determined by the away team’s conference in the case of interconference games. Earlier this year, the NFL announced that there will be some flexibility to that tradition, meaning you’ll see the occasional NFC game making its way onto the Eye Network. When you sign up for the Paramount+ with Showtime plan ($11.99/month, $119.99/year), you’ll be able to stream your local CBS affiliate, meaning you can watch whichever game is being broadcast in your market. With the cheaper Paramount+ Essential plan ($5.99/month, $59.99/year), you won’t have access to your local station, but NFL on CBS games will still be available to stream on a separate live feed.
Subscribe here: Paramount+
Subscribers to this NBCUniversal streamer can watch any game broadcast on NBC, including the Sept. 7 NFL kickoff between the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs and all subsequent Sunday Night Football games. This season, the streaming service will also be the only place to watch the Buffalo Bills challenge the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, Dec. 23. Come early next year, it will host the NFL’s first streaming-exclusive playoff game, the Wild Card matchup on Saturday, Jan. 13. Much like Paramount+, there’s a cheaper Premium option ($5.99/month, $59.99/year) that includes these streaming games and an ad-free Premium Plus option ($11.99/month, $119.99/year) that also comes with live 24/7 access to your local NBC affiliate.
Subscribe here: Peacock