New NFL streaming service still can’t replace cable TV

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NFL

We’re all probably exhausted by the ocean of streaming services currently available, but in case you need one more, the National Football League has launched its own service called NFL+.

NFL+ is available starting today, with a seven-day free trial available. The starting tier of $4.99 per month ($29.99/year) includes live out-of-market preseason games on all devices, live audio for all games, and an on-demand library of archived videos and documentaries. Live regular season and postseason games are also included for both primetime and home games, but can only be accessed on phones and tablets, not TVs. That includes next year’s Playoff games, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl LVII (also airing on CBS).

There’s a Premium tier for $9.99/month ($79.99/year) that adds full game replays and summarized game replays across all devices. NFL+ Premium also includes ‘Coaches Film’, also known as ‘All-22’ footage – an aerial view that adjusts to all 22 players on the field during a play. The NFL only started releasing the footage to the public in 2012, then as part of a $70 Game Rewind cable package, and it’s been available in various other packages ever since.

The main problem (pun intended) is that most of the big games can only be viewed on mobile, as the NFL has already sold the TV rights to other companies for the future. The NFL finalized a deal last year that will run through 2023 that splits live streaming between Fox, Amazon, Disney, ViacomCBS and Comcast (NBCUniversal).

Live sports coverage is one of the few remaining selling points for cable and satellite TV services, and NFL+ isn’t a viable alternative to a cable subscription for watching football games in its current form. However, it is another step towards a future where most sports games are available at least in a streaming service Apple has started streaming the NBL’s Friday night baseball games on Apple TV+, while Amazon Prime Video has exclusive rights to the NFL’s Thursday night football. NBCUniversal owns the broadcast rights to the Olympic Games in the United States, and most events at the 2022 Beijing Games were available on the company’s Peacock service.