Q. I can’t believe that Sling TV still doesn’t have the NFL Network and Red Zone Channel back on. What are they waiting for? The season is this week!!! I particularly want the Red Zone Channel so I can follow the action on Sunday. — Len, Huntington Beach, California.
Len, you’re right. Both Sling TV, and its parent, Dish, have been without the two NFL channels since June due to a carriage dispute with the league. You can learn more about that here.
Subscribers to both services are getting increasingly antsy about the blackout with the season starting Thursday night with a matchup between Houston and Kansas City. But if you’re looking specifically for the Red Zone Channel, there are some alternatives without having to subscribe to cable, Verizon or DIRECTV.
First, YouTube TV earlier this month added the NFL Network to its $64.99 a month base plan, and the Red Zone Channel to a new sports add-on package, which costs $10.99 a month. The add-on plan, called Sports Plus, also includes Fox College Sports, GolTV, Fox Soccer Plus, MAVTV Motorsports Network, TVG, and the Stadium channel.
Sports Plus requires you to subscribe to YouTube TV’s base package. So if you get both, that will come to to $76 a month. Not cheap, but at least there are no contracts or installation and cancellation fees.
FuboTV, the live streaming service, carries the NFL Network in its 110-channel $64.99 a month plan. But the Red Zone Channel requires a subscription to its $10.99-a-month ‘Sports Plus’ package. So you would still have to spend $76 a month for both.
The Fubo add-on sports package, which also includes MLB Network, NHL Network and NBA TV, features 29 different channels, compared to YouTube TV’s seven.
Other live streamers, such as AT&T TV Now, Hulu Live and Philo, do not carry either NFL channel.
But there is another option.
The NFL sells a separate streaming subscription to the Red Zone Channel, but it’s only available on its NFL app on Android and iOS smart phones. The cost is $34.99 for the entire season, and finding it on the app is a bit tricky because it’s not advertised on the home page. Click on Settings in the app and you will see an option to subscribe to the NFL Red Zone Channel and Game Pass.
The latter, which costs $99.99, gives you full game replays, condensed games, live audio of both home and away broadcasts and ‘coaches film’ footage of past games.
Update: Note: The graphic on the NFL app says the price is $34.99 a month, but that appears to be a typo. If you click the subscribe button, it says $34.99 a year. (Plus, the NFL has sold it for $34.99 a year in past seasons.)
Update #2: On Monday, I asked Alex Riethmiller, an NFL spokesperson, for a clarification on the Red Zone Channel app price. He said in a one-sentence e-mail that the price is “$34.99 a month through the app.”
However, as of Monday evening, the app continues to charge ‘$34.99 per year,’ not by the month. See a photo posted here on Twitter by one potential customer when he clicked on the subscribe button:
I asked Riethmiller for an explanation after his one-sentence e-mail, and he has not responded as of Monday evening.
In addition to the ‘$34.99 a year’ order page price, the NFL web site for the Red Zone, which was recently updated with new information on an old Verizon offer, also says the price is $34.99 a season. That was the price for last season as well.
I also asked Riethmiller for an explanation on this, and why the league would increase the price from $34.99 for the season to $34.99 a month — if it has.
I will update this story here if I get more information on this puzzling offer. Until then, it would appear that you only will be charged $34.99 for the year at checkout, not $34.99 a month.
Update #3: Brenna Webb, an NFL spokesperson, on Monday night has apologized for the confusion, saying the league was in error.
“Apologizes for the confusion,” she told the TV Answer Man in an e-mail. “The price for NFL RedZone (at the app) is $34.99/year. The current copy saying $34.99/month is incorrect and our team is working to get it corrected on the marketing copy. Again, apologizes for the confusion this caused and thank you for bringing to our attention.”
Len, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann