If you’re a football fan excited about the upcoming 2022 season, you may have reason to check out NFL+.
The National Football League launched the new subscription streaming service on July 25.
It’s a football fan’s haven, providing live access to select local and national game telecasts along with hours of on-demand content. But it won’t be a complete cure-all for fans who want streaming access to every football game on Sunday afternoons.
I’ve taken a look at the new product, and I’ll walk you through what it does — and doesn’t — offer in an effort to help you decide whether it’s worth adding to your list of monthly streaming subscriptions.
6 Things To Know About NFL+
Upon its launch, I sat down to study the new NFL+ streaming service and analyze how it might fit into the streaming portfolio of a football fan.
As an avid football fan myself, I was curious to see just how much “exclusive” or “can’t miss” content the NFL will be making available on this service.
After all, I’m already expected to pay for live TV streaming from a service like YouTube TV or Sling to access games sprinkled across ESPN, CBS, FOX and NBC networks as well as Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service to gain access to its exclusive Thursday Night Football game each week.
That starts to add up! So will this streaming service help lower those costs, or is it just adding another bill to my streaming budget?
Let’s walk through things together.
1. The Cost
It wouldn’t be a Team Clark analysis if we didn’t have money on our minds. So let’s start there.
Following a strategy that many existing services have successfully implemented, the NFL is offering two pricing tiers for NFL+.
Based on your appetite for the content, you’ll pick between NFL+ and NFL+ Premium subscription tiers. And you’ll be offered a chance to save some money with an annual subscription to either package.
|Subscription Tier||Monthly Price||Annual Price|
|NFL+||$4.99||$39.99 (promo price of $29.99 available for a limited time)|
I’ll point out the differences in these packages as we go along, but here are the highlighted differences provided by the NFL via a news release:
- Live local and primetime games on mobile and tablet devices
- Live out-of-market preseason games across all devices
- Live game audio (home, away and national calls) for every game of the season
- NFL library programming on-demand (ad-free)
- NFL+ Premium (includes features of the product formerly known as NFL Game Pass)
- All features of NFL+
- Full game replays across devices (ad-free)
- Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
- Coaches Film including All-22 (ad-free)
2. You’ll Get Some Live NFL Game Broadcasts With Your Subscription
First, the good news: No matter which subscription tier you choose, you’re going to get some live NFL games.
That’s a significant step for the league, which has never offered a direct-to-consumer option for streaming its games live.
You’ll get access to the following games live:
- Local games on mobile and tablet devices only
- Prime-time games that are made available in your local TV market on mobile and tablet devices only
- Super Bowl and Pro Bowl broadcasts across all devices
- Out-of-market preseason games across all devices
- Game audio, including the radio feeds of home, away and national broadcasts, for every game
So for example, if you live in Atlanta, you can get the local broadcast of all Falcons games on your mobile or tablet device. You may notice this rules out a stream on your television in some instances, but you may be able to remedy this by using a Chromecast or similar device that projects the feed from your phone to your television.
Note that the subscription DOES include a livestream of the Super Bowl.
3. This Is Not a Sunday Ticket Replacement … Yet
Next, the bad news: This is not a replacement for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. So this service will not give you access to every out-of-market football game on Sunday afternoons as the popular DIRECTV package will.
You won’t be able to stream the live regional broadcast of out-of-market games with NFL+. For example, if you’re planning to watch Seattle versus Los Angeles from your home in Atlanta, you likely will be out of luck with this subscription.
If you want to be able to watch all of the NFL action in real time on Sunday afternoons, you’ll need access to DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package. While there are limited streaming options allotted to select DIRECTV subscribers, generally speaking, you need to have a DIRECTV satellite subscription to pay for this add-on.
This out-of-date practice is likely to come to an end by the time the 2023 NFL season rolls around. The NFL is in its final year of a long-term contract with DIRECTV and is expected to shop the streaming rights for its “all games” package to the highest bidder (likely candidates: Apple, Amazon and Google).
It’s conceivable that whichever company ends up with those streaming rights will either purchase NFL+ from the league or integrate this streaming subscription with the packages that it will sell.
So this 2022 version of NFL+ may be “just the beginning” for the service when it comes to streaming live games.
In the meantime, many football fans opt for real-time coverage of all games from the NFL RedZone channel. This channel, which is popular with fantasy football players and sports bettors, is available as an add-on through several popular live TV streaming services.
4. You’ll Get Plenty of Non-Game, On-Demand Football Content
You’ll be happy to know that there’s more to this subscription than just access to local live game broadcasts.
Both subscription tiers will have access to hours of on-demand content. The selections are a combination of legacy content like NFL Films, documentaries and more current-event-based programs with news, analysis and opinion.
Some of the on-demand titles I found:
- Hard Knocks
- America’s Game
- NFL 360
- All NFL Films Series
- NFL Scouting Combine and NFL Draft coverage
- Good Morning Football
- NFL Total Access
- A Football Life
5. Football Nerds May Find the Premium Subscription Worthwhile
If you’re a casual football fan without a cable subscription looking to watch your local team play each Sunday, you may find that the basic NFL+ subscription is more than enough content for you.
But if you’re the type of fan who just can’t get enough football, the NFL+ Premium subscription offers some really interesting content that you won’t get on the basic subscription tier.
In addition to all of the content from the basic tier, here are three things that could be worth paying the extra $5 per month for Premium.
Full Game Replays
You’ll have access to every NFL game on demand. This includes both the in-market games you get live with NFL+ and out-of-market games that aren’t available live with the subscription.
You’ll be able to watch the full replay of a TV broadcast of any game of the season. And you’ll be able to do it without commercial interruption, which should cut down on your viewing time pretty substantially.
Between commercials, timeouts, player huddles and referee replay reviews, a relatively small percentage of the time you spend watching a live football game is actually spent watching action on the field.
The NFL has created a really great way to catch up on the action of a football game in short order by cutting out all of the nonsense.
Premium subscribers will be able to measure the way they watch game replays in minutes rather than hours by choosing the “condensed game” option. You’ll get all of the plays and critical instant replays without all of those time wasters.
All-22 and Coach Film Access
Did you know the game film that coaches and players watch to analyze their performance is almost completely different from what you watch on television at home?
Players and coaches use a film type called “All-22” that shows the plays from cameras placed in the end zones so that they can see what all 22 players on the field (11 on each team) are doing at all times. This is not possible with the TV broadcasts, which use cameras on the sidelines to give you a more intimate viewing experience in real time.
Dedicated fans of the game can gain some real knowledge about their favorite teams by watching the film like players and coaches do.
6. There Is a Free Trial Period
If you’re curious about this product and want to check it out before committing to pay for it, you’ll have a chance to test it out via free trial.
The trial is seven days, so if you time it right during the football season you should have access to at least one Sunday and the rest of the content that is made available throughout a game week. This will give you ample opportunity to sample all of the features.