By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I am so tired of having to subscribe to so many streaming things to watch the games. Now with the NFL giving a playoff game to Peacock, I am about to go crazy. Do you know how much we have to pay now to watch all these games? I don’t, but do you? It’s ridiculous! — Jerry, Trenton, New Jersey.
Jerry, I feel your pain. Since the NFL announced this week that Peacock would get an exclusive playoff game this season, I have been blitzed with e-mails from readers complaining that league executives have put profits ahead of the fans.
I have to admit that I am somewhat surprised that fans are just now waking up to this fact. The NFL, and every other professional sports league, has always put profits ahead of fans. But with the explosion of streaming services, some of which are quite happy to spend billions on game rights, it’s even easier for the NFL to cash in regardless of whether it will be more difficult (and expensive) to watch. (Peacock is paying $110 million for the single payoff game, according to The Wall Street Journal.)
But allow me to accept your challenge and calculate exactly how much money it will take to watch (or, at least, have access) to all NFL games during the 2023 regular season and playoffs.
For starters, we need to subscribe to either a cable, satellite or live streaming service that carries CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN/ABC, and the NFL Network. All five will broadcast games this season. We could get a $20 antenna. But then we couldn’t see the games on ESPN and the NFL Network. So let’s get YouTube TV, which starts at $72.99 a month. This will also allow us to get the NFL Sunday Ticket at the reduced price of $249 for the entire season. (The Ticket will have the out-of-market Sunday afternoon games, but we need the local networks for the local broadcasts.)
Six months of YouTube TV (September through February; don’t forget the Super Bowl) at $72.99 a month comes to $437.94. Add in the $249 for the Sunday Ticket and we’re at $686.94.
(Now before you all scream that we should just get the NFL Plus streaming service for $4.99 a month, we want to watch the games on TV. We’re not savages here. NFL Plus, which will have the local network games as well as the Amazon, ESPN and NFL Network contests, is for phones and tablets. And we wouldn’t get the $100 discount on the Sunday Ticket.)
But we’re not done. Amazon’s Prime Video has the exclusive on Thursday Night Football games. That’s another four months of $14.99 a month, which comes to $59.96. (Amazon last year offered the games for free on Twitch but has not said if it will do so this year.)
We’re now at $746.90.
But we also have to get Peacock for at least two months at $4.99 a month. (Peacock has the exclusive playoff game and one exclusive regular season game.) That’s another $9.98 and we’re now at $756.88.
Finally, ESPN+ will have the exclusive rights to the October 1 matchup from London between Jacksonville and Atlanta. That’s another $9.99 for a sub in October and our grand total is $766.87.
Almost $800 to have access to every NFL regular season and playoff game. Too much? Just right? What are your thoughts? You can send them to me in the contact form below.
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