By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, we don’t have cable or satellite. Do you know how you can stream the NFL Draft tonight? Is it on ESPN+? — Penny, Dayton, Ohio.
Penny, tonight’s first round picks will be broadcast starting at 8 p.m. ET on the NFL Network, ABC and ESPN. On Friday, for rounds two and three at 8 p.m. ET, all three channels will also have it. On Saturday for rounds four through seven at noon ET, it will also be on ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network.
Those are the traditional satellite and cable options, but what about streaming? Can you watch the NFL Draft online?
Yes. If you subscribe to ESPN through a pay TV service, you can use your pay TV username and password to stream the broadcast on the WatchESPN app or the ABC or ESPN web sites. However, it will not be available on the ESPN+ app.
You might say that seems odd in an era where many viewers prefer separate streaming options. But ESPN has to serve two masters — the traditional cable and satellite bundle, which still generates a huge revenue pile — and the growing but not nearly as lucrative streaming audience. By restricting the NFL Draft to the traditional TV audience, ESPN gives support to old but still very valuable economic model.
If you want to watch the NFL Draft without a pay TV service sub, you can subscribe directly to the NFL Plus streaming service for $4.99 a month. The app will offer the NFL Network’s broadcast.
The NFL Channel, which is free, will also provide live coverage of the first seven rounds but not the actual NFL Network broadcast from the event. Still, that might your best bet if you don’t want to pay anything.
Of course, you could also get an antenna for the ABC coverage tonight and Friday.
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Penny, 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