Watch NFL Preseason Live Stream (2019 Guide)
For many, the best way to watch NFL Preseason games without cable or satellite TV service will be through a TV antenna.
But if you must stream, your best bets in 2019 is through Sling TV and fuboTV.
That’s because the NFL Preseason came with a nasty surprise for many a cord cutter this season.
You can’t live stream a number of preseason games on streaming services in 2019 because local networks don’t have the rights to live stream games.
fuboTV explained it this way:
Not all local channels have streaming rights for preseason NFL games. While your local channel may be carrying the game, they can only do so for cable, satellite, and over-the-air antenna viewing.
fuboTV and Sling TV have rights to air some games either on NFL Network, or alternatively on local NBC, FOX or CBS stations. Personally, I’m going to be using a TV antenna for a number of games.
But if you want to watch your favorite NFL teams — whether it’s the Chicago Bears, New York Giants — you’re best off looking over what local channel is carrying a game.
Cord cutting is often an ad-hoc solution for many. So you may want to pull together some kind of two-pronged approach (e.g. Sling Blue for NFL Network, and a TV antenna for local NBC, CBS and FOX coverage.) That would run you about $25 per month for Sling Blue and the cost of your TV antenna.
How to Watch NFL Preseason Games with an Antenna
If you haven’t used a TV antenna in a while, you should re-scan for channels because of the “TV repack“.
That said, a TV antenna will still be super useful for most of the NFL preseason and regular season. Here’s what you need to do to start using a TV antenna to watch football.
Just check a site like transmitter locator tool at AntennasDirect to see if you can get your local FOX or NBC affiliate stations. All you have to do is plug in your zip code or address to see what broadcast towers are in your area.
If you can get FOX, CBS and NBC with an antenna, you could wind up getting many of the preseason and regular season games for free in uncompressed HD quality. Plug in your antenna, scan for channels and you’re ready for some football!
Interested in learning more about TV antennas? Read my months-long study that led to my review of The Best Indoor TV antennas, and How to Choose the Best TV Antenna & DVR. This video also shows you how you can set up your own DVR using a software hub that I really like called Plex.
fuboTV: How to watch NFL preseason with NFL Network
You should consider fuboTV if you want coverage from NFL Network and local NBC, CBS and FOX stations.
Subscribers to fubo get 100+ channels and 30 hours of Cloud DVR. There’s an add-on Sports package that has NFL Red Zone. If you can’t watch a game live, fubo also has a “lookback” feature, which serves as an on-demand option for sports that aired in the last 72 hours.
Fubo subscribers can activate more than 30 apps, including FOX Sports Go and NBC Sports. You can look over its channel lineup to see what local NBC, FOX and CBS stations are offered in your area.
Read my review of fuboTV for more details about its service. Fubo has apps for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone and Android.
fuboTV has a free 7-day trial.
A subscription costs $54.99 per month.
Sling TV: Budget Option to Live Stream NFL Preseason Online
If you only want ESPN or NFL Network – not both – then Sling TV can be an inexpensive option.
Sling Orange has ESPN as part of a 34 channel bundle for $25 per month. The Orange plan has AMC, CNN, History, A&E and a couple of movie channels like EPIX Drive-IN and IFC.
Sling Blue has local FOX and NBC stations in a number of places across the U.S. The Blue plan has NFL Network, FS1, FS2 and regional sports networks from FOX and NBC. It also costs $25 per month on its own.
Like I said earlier, if you want both ESPN and NFL Network, you’ll need both Sling Orange and Sling Blue, which costs $40 per month. For 50 hours of Cloud DVR, you’ll have to pay another $5 per month.
If you are considering trying out Sling TV for a little longer, the company has a number of promotions worth a look. You can get a free Roku Express or a discount on a Roku Premiere+ or AirPlay TV + Adapter Bundle when you prepay for a brief subscription. You can cancel online whenever you want to end service.
Sling TV has a free 7-day trial, and works on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and most other major streaming devices.
CBS All Access: Live Stream NFL Preseason games on CBS
You may depend on more than one streaming solution to watch NFL preseason games without cable. CBS All Access offers a couple different options to live stream NFL preseason games airing on CBS. The streaming service costs $5.99 per month, and offers a live TV feed for local CBS stations.
The Verge reported last June that CBS struck a deal with the NFL to live stream games until 2022. Users can also use the CBS app on their TV or their smartphone to watch live NFL games that are broadcasted on the network.
CBS All Access has a free 7-day trial and thousands of TV shows on-demand including originals like “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Good Fight” along with some cool reboots like “Magnum P.I.”
Stream the NFL preseason on PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue is still a favorite for NFL fans looking for another alternative to cable.
The entry-level channel bundle for PlayStation Vue is now $45 for about 48+ channels. The Access bundle has local NBC, FOX and CBS stations in many parts of the U.S. ESPN is included.
To get NFL Network, you’ll have to subscribe to the slightly large Core channel bundle for $50 per month. There’s unlimited Cloud DVR.
Sony offers a 5-day free trial and Vue works on nearly every streaming device.
NFL Game Pass: Live Stream NFL Preseason Out of Market
NFL Game Pass is ideal for people who have a favorite team that’s located out of their local market. For regular and post-season games, you can watch them as soon as they’re over.
You can also listen to regular season games as they happen, but you’ll have no video.
Game Pass costs $99 per year, and you can make quarterly payments. There’s apps for Roku, Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. On mobile, you’ll have NFL Game Pass apps for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.
NFL Game Pass has a free 7-day trial, and you can review the list of preseason games that they won’t air live due to blackout restrictions. Some people also use NFL Game Pass to watch live regular season games using a VPN.
What’s the Best Way to get an NFL Preseason Live Stream?
I’ve just thrown a lot of information at you, but there’s no need to be overwhelmed.
Let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve covered, and cull the list of choices a little bit. Now that you’ve taken a look at the NFL preseason schedule, you should have a better idea of what you’ll need.
- Sling TV can get you NFL Network, ESPN and some locals including NBC, CBS and FOX (depending on where you live). That would run you $40 per month because you’ll need the Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans. Cloud DVR is an extra $5 per month. You could opt to get just one of the plans – either Sling Orange or Blue – for $25 per month. Remember, Sling Orange has ESPN; Sling Blue has NFL Network and local NBC, CBS and FOX stations. Sling TV offers a free trial for a week.
- fuboTV has NFL Network and has most local NBC, CBS and FOX stations across the U.S. There’s no ESPN, but so far the network only has two NFL preseason games scheduled so far. Subscribers can log into key sports apps like FOX Sports GO and NBC Sports, too. fuboTV has a free 7-day trial, and new customers get the first month for $10 off after the trial ends. The regular rate is $54.99 per month.
Don’t forget the value of an antenna for getting locals, especially if a streaming service that you like doesn’t offer the local channels you need. For more tips on cord cutting, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report. So now that I’ve explained all your choices, I want to hear from you. How are you going to live stream NFL preseason? Tell fellow readers in the comments below.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble