TV Answer Man, the NFL Network has three games on Saturday and we ditched cable a month ago. Any tips on how to watch the games on the cheap? Does DIRECTV Stream have the NFL Network? Or Sling TV? — John, Dunkirk, Maryland.
John, you’re right. The NFL Network has the exclusive national rights to three NFL games this Saturday (December 17): The Colts-Vikings at 1 p.m. ET, the Ravens-Browns at 4:30 p.m. ET, and the Dolphins-Bills at 8:15 p.m. ET.
In addition to the NFL Network, each game will air on a local channel in the teams’ markets. For instance, the Ravens-Browns game will be available on both a Baltimore (WBAL) and Cleveland station (WEWS). The Colts-Vikings will be available on local stations in Indianapolis (WXIN) and Minneapolis (KSTP) while the Dolphins-Bills game will be on WKBW in Buffalo and WFOR in Miami.
Local stations can be accessed in most areas with an antenna so that’s technically the cheapest way to watch one of the games. Assuming you already have an antenna, of course.
The cheapest way to watch all three games is to subscribe to the league’s NFL Plus mobile streaming service. NFL Plus will have all three games but note that you can only watch them on mobile devices. If that’s acceptable to you, the subscription price is $4.99 a month. But there is a free seven-day trial so you could sign up now, watch the three games, and then cancel without spending a dime.
You could also sign up for a live streaming service that carries the NFL Network. Four major live streaming services carry the channel in their basic plans. They are Sling TV, Hulu Live, FuboTV and YouTube TV. DIRECTV Stream is the only major live streamer that doesn’t carry the NFL Network, which is a story all by itself.
But what is your cheapest option to watch the NFL Network when picking a streaming service?
Sling TV’s Blue plan is your answer. The Blue basic package, which costs $40 a month (first month is now half price), provides more than 40 channels including the NFL Network, the three major cable news networks, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, as well as leading ‘basic cable’ networks as FS1, Bravo, The Cartoon Network, AMC, TNT, TBS, and your local Fox and NBC affiliates in select markets.
FuboTV’s base plan goes for $69.99 a month, the same price as Hulu Live’s base package. YouTube TV’s base plan costs $64.99 a month.
But note that FuboTV has a seven-day free trial while YouTube TV currently has a 14-day free trial. You could sign up for one of those and watch the games for free. Just don’t forget to cancel prior to the end of the trial.
John, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann