TV Answer Man, I can’t get the NFL Sunday Ticket because I don’t have DIRECTV. And I cut the cord completely this year to save money so I don’t even have a subscription to YouTube TV anymore. So my question: Is there anyway to watch the Red Zone Channel by subscribing directly to it? That way I could keep up on the games and not have to spend as much money. Let me know. The season is starting soon! — Roger, Evanston, Illinois.
Roger, good news. Yes, you can get the Red Zone Channel without subscribing to anything besides the Red Zone Channel!
But there is a small catch.
Before I explain, a little background on the Red Zone Channel.
The channel offers live look-ins at NFL Sunday afternoon games when one team is inside its opponent’s 20-yard-line. If you don’t have the NFL Sunday Ticket, it’s a great and relatively inexpensive way to follow the key action in all the games.
As you note, several pay TV providers (including YouTube TV) offer the Red Zone Channel in expensive packages that include other channels. For instance, to get the Red Zone Channel on YouTube TV, you have to subscribe to its $64.99 base programming package — and then pay an extra $11 a month for the sports add-on plan that includes it!
DIRECTV also includes the Red Zone Channel in its Max Sunday Ticket plan, which costs $395, and it’s available on other pay TV services such as Comcast, Cox, Verizon, Charter and Optimum. But, again, you have to pay an additional fee for a sports package that includes it. (Note: The DIRECTV Red Zone Channel is a different production than the one found on other services; different hosts, views, etc.)
So, how can you watch the Red Zone Channel without getting other channels that you don’t want to pay for?
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. (This is the same price as during the 2020 season.)
Finding the Red Zone can be 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, a separate feature that costs $99.
I think the way NFL hides the Red Zone on its app is one reason why so few people are aware of this option. I’ve read several stories this week about streaming NFL games that didn’t mention that you could get a standalone subscription to the Red Zone Channel.
The catch, of course, is that you can only watch the channel on a phone if you subscribe separately via the app. There’s no casting the video to your TV.
Roger, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann