The best live TV streaming services for NFL and college football season

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The best live TV streaming services for NFL and college football season
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If you want to give up traditional cable or satellite TV, you don’t have to wait until football season is over to cut the cord.

I’ve been reviewing live TV streaming plans and deals for a while and have a few suggestions for NFL and college football fans that may help cut your pay-TV bill in half.

Let’s start with five ways NFL fans can save money for the 2018-2019 football season:

How to watch NFL football on YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and Sling TV for the 2018-2019 season

1. You can pick up lots of Sunday games with an antenna! 

It may seem obvious, but most NFL games don’t require a subscription to a live TV streaming service at all. Games broadcast on CBS, FOX and NBC can be picked up with a $20 to $40 digital antenna.

AntennaWeb.org is a great resource to help you find the best antenna for your needs based on location.

2. Monday Night Football 

If your team is playing on Monday Night Football this season, you’ll need to get ESPN. YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV all include the network in their base packages.

The cheapest way to get ESPN is with Sling TV’s Orange bundle, which costs $25 per month. See our review here.

3. Thursday Night Football 

NFL Network, FOX and Amazon Prime Video are three ways to watch all the Thursday night action for the 2018-2019 season, according to an NFL news release:

Amazon Prime will stream the 11 Thursday Night Football games broadcast by FOX, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes, once again securing the league’s “Tri-Cast” model of broadcast (FOX), cable (NFL Network, FOX Deportes), and digital (Amazon Prime Video) distribution.

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, the TNF games will also be available to Twitch viewers.

Most live TV streaming services don’t include NFL Network with their cheapest plans, but the Sling TV’s Orange + Blue bundle has the channel included for $40 a month.

4. NFL Sunday Ticket 

Don’t want to miss those out-of-market games? NFL Sunday Ticket isn’t cheap, but there’s a deal for students that will lower the cost to about $100 for the season — roughly $200 off.

Click here for a coupon code from our Clark Deals team that makes the student deal even better!

5. Take advantage of the free trials 

Once you’ve identified the networks that your team is playing on (see this list), you can use our channel comparison chart below to see which streaming service is the best fit.

If it’s just a game or two that you can’t get with an antenna, remember they all have free trial periods — usually a week.

Unlike traditional cable and satellite TV, streaming services don’t have contracts. You can try one for a month and switch to another one. Try them all if you want!

A note for college football fans… 

Like the NFL, many NCAA college football games air on broadcast networks that you can pick up with an antenna.

ESPN, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network and SEC Network are just a handful of the cable channels that will carry other games, so it’s best to find your team’s schedule and make a plan based on that information.

Regional sports networks may be available with your live TV streaming service. Here’s how to learn more:

Team Clark pulled the channel lineups for popular live TV streaming services that cost around $40 a month. You may be able to get more of the networks you want for a higher monthly price.

These cable networks are among those airing football games, highlights and analysis for the 2018-2019 season:

Football channels by streaming service 

YouTube TV: $40/month DirecTV Now “Live a Little” plan: $40/month PlayStation Vue “Access” plan: $44.99/month Hulu with Live TV: $39.99/month Sling TV “Orange + Blue” plan: $40/month
ACC Network Extra
Big Ten Network (BTN) Big Ten Network (BTN)
CBS Sports Network CBS Sports Network
ESPN ESPN ESPN ESPN ESPN
ESPN2 ESPN2 ESPN2 ESPN2 ESPN2
ESPN3
ESPNU ESPNU
ESPNews ESPNews
ESPN Goal Line
Fox Sports Fox Sports Fox Sports (select markets)
FS1 FS1 FS1 FS1 FS1
FS2 FS2 FS2 FS2
NBCSN NBCSN NBCSN NBCSN NBCSN
NESN
NFL Network
SEC Network SEC Network
SportsTime Ohio
SNY

These streaming services offer plenty of other channels besides networks that carry NFL and college football. Click here to see our full channel comparison and read about Clark’s #1 favorite streaming service.

More Clark.com stories you may like: 

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Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, MichaelSaves.com.
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