Location-based broadcast limitations imposed by the NFL make it excessively difficult for football fans across the country to watch their favorite team’s games online. As a result, some people may resort to piracy.
That adage applies equally to NFL fans and real estate agents. Why? Because the NFL uses a regional approach to distribute many of its game broadcasts. In other words, which regular-season NFL games you may stream on Sunday afternoons is determined by where you live.
For cord-cutters, this technique fails in several ways. Worst of all, it makes fan support unreasonably expensive. Outside of their native market regularly. Even if your favorite team is your home team, keeping track of all the streaming providers, you’ll need to watch every game is a hassle. The NFL-controlled streaming providers have their own set of annoyances. Many people are turning to alternate (illegal) streaming methods. While PCMag does not support piracy, we do understand the frustration that leads to it.
NFL games typically garner better TV ratings than any other sport in the United States—or any TV program for that matter—and it’s past time for the NFL to make it easy for fans can watch their favorite teams without hassle, no matter where they live. The NFL must make it easier and less expensive for modern consumers to watch games via video streaming services, as many do not have or want cable. The NFL recently renegotiated broadcast and streaming rights, with most of the changes taking effect in 2023 (some modifications begin this season). Still, the new deals do not significantly improve the streaming situation for fans.
How Can You Stream NFL Games Right Now?
I go into what each audience (in-market and out-of-market fans) should think about below, but if you want to know how to watch the games, check out our overview of the best NFL streaming services; we’ll update the schedule every week during 2021-22 season.
In the following sections, I use the best-case scenario to determine the per-game rates: The team you want to watch makes it to the Super Bowl after playing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs for a total of 21 games. I’ll also compute the per-game expenditures based purely on that one team’s performance. Just keep in mind that the effective per-game fee drops as you watch more games.
Other major league sports in the United States aren’t any better for fans since they force them to wade through a maze of regional sports networks (RSNs) and blackout regulations. So you don’t get lost in the specifics, we picked up the finest MLB streaming services, NBA streaming services, and NHL streaming services for most individuals. At the very least, NFL fans should be grateful they don’t have to deal with the atrocities of RSNs.