Watching Out-of-Market NFL Games
The NFL doesn’t air every single game in all parts of the country. There are just too many games to be able to give everyone the same access across the board. And since they can’t air every game on every channel, you only get the games that are in your specific network region. These regions are then split up by market.
Sunday, Monday and Thursday games all air nationally. Though on Sunday afternoons there are 6-10 games airing at the same time. They can’t show all games on the select few channels. So let’s say you are interested in watching games that aren’t in your specific region, this is where an out-of-market service will come in.
The four main providers to watch out-of-market NFL games are NFL RedZone, NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL Sunday Ticket TV and NFL Game Pass. Each of these services are quite different, so finding the best one for you is important.
DirecTV Sunday Ticket
NFL Sunday Ticket is an add-on package through DirecTV that gives you access to any live out-of-market NFL game, multi-game viewing on a single screen, player trackers for fantasy sports and real time scores and stats from all NFL games.
Cost and Features
DirecTV offers a wide variety of packages, ranging from $59.99 all the way to $134.99. The minimum package that you must have before getting Sunday Ticket is the ‘Choice’ package, which has a starting price of $74.99. That being said, Sunday Ticket is currently included in the ‘Choice’ package at no extra cost *for the first season*, meaning you will not pay anything extra for your first season, but will pay at the going rate of $293.94 when it renews. There is also a $19.95 activation fee and might also include some regional fees (seems to be around $8 dollars a month).
It is important to note that you cannot get Sunday Ticket with any and all DirecTV package. You must have at least the mid-grade package or above first, then Sunday Ticket will become available to be added. Meaning, you cannot simply have the basic channels through DirecTV and add Sunday Ticket to it, you would have to upgrade first and then add it on.
Supported Devices and Apps
With Sunday Ticket you will be able to stream any out-of-market game live on your Playstation, Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, Android and many other streaming devices. It also provides real-time scores and fantasy stats updates, choose up to 20 players to follow stats on in real-time throughout the game and watch commercial free replays of entire games. Another feature is you can tune your TV to the channel playing on your device.
The premium price tag of Sunday Ticket gets you a premium service in return. This is the only option out there that lets you watch every out-of-market game that’s not available on your local networks. Along with that, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to watching on tablets, Playstation, Xbox, Apple, etc. Sunday Ticket also gives you real-time player trackers and stats for fantasy football fans, replays of entire NFL Games commercial free, and allows you to watch up to eight games at once with the Game Mix feature.
DirecTV Sunday Ticket is structured so that you can only get the service through DirecTV. This can make it a bit frustrating to get the service if you would like to go a different route. Along with that, the steep price tag can be quite off-putting to the general consumer. The initial price of the ‘Choice’ package gives you your first NFL season included, though when it comes time to renew your plan you will be charged the full price tag of almost $300 (plus $20 and an extra $8 monthly). I can see this being an issue for those who were either not aware of the extra charge when signing up, or perhaps having a bit of buyers remorse when the final bill comes in.
Another thing to consider is you will have access to all regular season out-of-market NFL games that are broadcast on CBS and Fox channels. Although, games airing live based on your devices location will not appear on the service. Meaning, you will get all the games that do not air through your normal location channels, so you will still have to watch through you normal channel provider to catch your regional games.
DirecTV Sunday Ticket TV
Sunday Ticket TV is a standalone streaming service for those who do not have access to DirecTV. It allows you to watch and listen to all out-of-market Sunday regular season games that are broadcast through CBS and Fox channels.
Cost and Features
There are two options to choose from when considering DirecTV Sunday Ticket TV, NFLST.TV To Go and NFLST.TV MAX. The To Go option features all live out-of-market games on every Sunday evening all throughout the season. This option is for the lower price of $293.96. The MAX option is much more, though comes with a price tag of $395.99 per season or $99 per month. With that price tag you not only get everything that comes with the “base package”, but you also get NFL Red Zone and DirecTV Fantasy Zone. Red Zone allows you to watch all the Sunday games action condensed down without commercials. Fantasy Zone gives you stats and analysis for all your fantasy football needs.
There is one more route to get Sunday Ticket TV without a DirecTV package. College students are able to get the standalone Sunday Ticket TV U package. This has all the perks of the regular package, though doesn’t require DirecTV or any satellite installation. And at the lowest price tag of $99.96 per season, this is the route you should go if you’re an active student at a university.
It is important to note here that Sunday Ticket TV is only available to non-DirecTV customers who live in select areas. You cannot get the service if you are eligible for DirecTV or live in an area that offers it. You can only get it if you are unable to get DirecTV entirely. Check here to see if you are eligible to get this package.
Supported Devices and Apps
Sunday Ticket TV is available on many different streaming devices. You will be able to stream on your Apple or Android device, Playstation, Xbox, Roku, Amazon Fire TV/Stick and use Google Chromecast to stream to your TV.
NFL Sunday Ticket TV may be a bit on the higher side price wise, though it does give you the option to pay a monthly subscription fee instead of a per-season price tag. The month-to-month option also makes it easier to cancel the subscription if you decide you no longer want the service. To me, the more cost effective monthly option makes it much easier to go with the service.
There are a few hoops to jump through when considering NFL Sunday Ticket TV. You cannot simply get the service if you want it. The service is only available to those who are not eligible for DirecTV entirely. This can be a bit frustrating if you would like the standalone service and have DirecTV available to you, but do not want it.
NFL Game Pass
NFL Game Pass is a streaming service that offers access to full broadcast replays, NFL game replays with no commercials, many extra camera angles and much more, accessible on multiple devices. It’s important to note that you cannot watch live out-of-market NFL games with this service, only on-demand games after the fact.
Cost & Features
NFL Game Pass has two different cost options - you can either pay a one-time subscription of $99.99 for a full year’s access or you can pay in four installments (billed monthly) of $29.99/month. Keep in mind if you cancel your service during the installment pay period your service will be immediately terminated. The service also comes with a 7-day free trial.
There are multiple features unique to the NFL Game Pass watching and listening experience, all included in the NFL Game Pass Playbook.
NFL Films Archive. This will give you access to NFL originals such as previous seasons of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’, ‘Mic’d Up’ and ‘A Football Life’. Check here to see the full list of available shows.
Film Session. Each week the hosts sit with an NFL player to discuss and break down their techniques used in past plays and games. This show airs a new episode every Tuesday.
Condensed Games. This feature allows you to watch entire games in approximately 45 minutes. It will contain all plays throughout the game while cutting out all commercials and unnecessary footage.
Search feature. Game Pass includes a feature that allows you to search for specific players, NFL shows and in-game highlights.
Live Audio. You will be able to listen to live gameday audio of NFL Games.
Multiple Platform Streaming. This means you can stream on up to 5 different devices, all at once, all from the same account.
Supported Devices and Apps
NFL Game Pass is available on a variety of devices, without a cable provider attached. You can download the app through iOS, Android or Microsoft Store, giving you the opportunity to stream on your phone and/or tablet. You can also watch on most all streaming platforms such as PS4, Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV.
NFL Game Pass really comes stacked with extra features that make it worth the cost. The baseline is you will have access to all 256 regular season games, the playoffs and the Super Bowl. You also get to watch all preseason games live. That along with many extra features. One of them being you can watch an entire game in approximately 45 minutes. With their condensed game feature, you are able to watch the game commercial and time-out free. This lets you watch every bit of action, without waiting around as you would with the normal broadcast version. You will also still have access to the full broadcast of each game, that is, if you want to see all the buildup in between plays. Having Game Pass also gives you access to previous HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ series.
Another cool aspect of NFL Game Pass is you will have Coaches Film. This is a really interesting feature. You will be able to watch any game of the current season with the extra Endzone and All-22 camera angle footage. This will let you see the game and players from many different angles, some being what the coaches and players use to break down plays.
The one catch most everyone will agree on with Game Pass is you cannot live stream regular season games. The games are only available for you to watch after the conclusion of the final Sunday afternoon game. Though Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Saturday games are available just after each game ends. The bright side here is that you will have your choice of which games to watch, whenever you want to watch them after they’ve ended. However, this does create the opportunity for spoilers being that others have already seen the results. Game Pass’ way of fixing this issue is their anti-spoiler feature. This hides any game updates that you’d normally see on screen.
Another option is to listen to the game through Game Pass, which does air the games live. This will allow you to listen to the game live and perhaps watch it later, or listen to other games meanwhile.
NFL RedZone is basically a catch-all channel for every meaningful play throughout the Sunday NFL games starting at 1pm, through to the end of the late afternoon games. It provides a compilation style stream of all the big plays going on in the red zone. This is a great option for those that don’t want to sit through commercials and are looking for all the excitement without waiting for everything in between.
Cost & Features
You can either add NFL RedZone directly to your existing provider (check here for applicable providers) for between $8.99 to $13 monthly (prices may vary and change), or get a package that already contains it. You can also go directly through Fubu, which offers the channel plus many more at $64 monthly. Fubu also offers a 7-day free trial with all channels and features included.
Another option is to get NFL RedZone as a standalone streaming service directly to your phone. This service costs $5 monthly, but comes with restrictions. Going this route leaves you limited to only streaming on your iOS or Android device.
Supported Devices & Apps
NFL RedZone is available through many different platforms and devices. You will be able to stream on your Playstation, Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and Android TV. In order to stream on your mobile you will first have to have the NFL App either on your Android or iOS, then you will be able to access NFL RedZone.
One of the best features of NFL RedZone is it’s very cost effective for what you get in return. This is an add-on channel that gives you all the action of every out-of-market game, but for a fraction of the other options.
NFL RedZone features constant commercial free coverage of all the best plays, touchdowns, runs, etc. Not only that, but it doesn’t have to be only scoring drives and passes that make the cut, they also show replays of hail-marys and picks. Anything noteworthy in any game will make it to your TV, smartphone or laptop. So let’s say there are more than two teams in the redzone at any given time. This is where you will be able to choose to either watch the one, or select up to four seperate boxes to watch them at the same time on a single screen.
Another great option for those of you that cut the cable cord is to get RedZone by itself. This is a brand new way to stream NFL RedZone as a standalone service. It used to be locked to strictly Verizon, though just recently became accessible to other providers. It is now available throughout the NFL App on iOS and Android devices for just $5 a month. You just have to download the NFL App, select ‘RedZone’, then select the Purchase option. You can now do this without ever having to enter your cable provider info.
For just $5 bucks a month you’d think there’d be a catch. There is. You are locked into watching it on your mobile device. The service will not work on tablets or TV’s, meaning you cannot broadcast from your phone to TV like you can with other select streaming options. This might just be the perfect way to watch out-of-market games for those of you who are on the go and don’t want to miss any game action.
The one fairly sized catch with RedZone is you will not have access to entire games. If you’re one who likes to watch NFL games from start to finish, this will most likely not be the service for you.