How to Watch New Year’s Football for Free Without Cable
The NFL may have canceled Sunday Night Football this week, but that doesn’t mean gridiron fans should be sad. Sunday’s afternoon matchups will be a monster lineup of games, and college contests on New Year’s Day -- including the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl -- also pile it on, creating two solid days of sacks and fumbles. If you’re one of the millions who have recently cut the cord and eliminated your cable, have no fear because you can still watch football online. An array of new online services let subscribers stream NFL and college football games without missing a down. And if you haven’t made the move to streaming television yet, now might be the time. Here’s how you can watch New Year’s Day football games for free without cable.
A free, seven-day trial from DirecTV Now lets football fans watch many of the big games on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. After the promotional period ends, the DirecTV’s base service costs $35 per month for a package with at least 60 live channels. Its basic plan includes CBS, FOX, and NBC, but not every subscriber is guaranteed to get those local channels (a problem that plagues all these streaming services). So, before the coin toss, check for your channel availability here.
Though its a lesser-known name, Fubo TV is something sports fans should familiarize themselves with, fast. This streaming television service specializes in points, goals, runs, laps, and other ways to score and offers a seven-day free trial that includes 70 channels. After the trial is up, the service costs $19 per month for the first two months, and $39 per month after that. Packing all sorts of sports networks like Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports, and NBC Sports Network -- as well as the NFL Network -- it’s made for fans of the gridiron. For an extra $9 per month, you can get NFL Red Zone and six different PAC12 channels, which turn this streaming service from a turkey day side dish into a season-long, all-you-can-eat football buffet. There is one downside though: ESPN is notably missing from Fubo’s offerings -- and that’s where the big New Year’s bowl games are being broadcast.
Hulu with Live TV
Offers CBS and FOX -- where Sunday’s NFL games are being broadcast -- Hulu with Live TV also offers a free week-long trial. After the promotion ends, the service costs $39 per month. That’s more than DirecTV, but Hulu also comes with a library of on-demand shows, which could be good if you’re not into the game that’s being broadcast. Hulu also has an optional cloud DVR service, which might be a smart upgrade if one of this week’s games is an epic showdown that you want to re-watch later.
Depending on which route you want to run come game day, Sling TV could be the service for you. Offering a seven-day free preview as well as FOX (but not CBS) in select markets, Sling’s $25-per-month “Blue” plan can keep you in the game with the NFL (but you will miss some games). But if you’re more into college sports, Sling’s lower tiered “Orange” plan (which costs just $20 per month, though it lacks FOX) will give you access to the ESPNs. However, Sling TV Blue also offers the NFL Network, so it might be worth the investment, if you’re a big football fan. You can also subscribe to both Blue and Orange (for $40) and try them out for free, but still means no CBS and missing out on the big Jacksonville at Tennessee game.
If you’re a gamer with a PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vue might be the right call for you. The streaming service only offers a five-day free trial, after which its $39-per-month subscription fee kicks in. But football fans will want to opt for either the $45 “Core” or $55 “Elite” plan, because they both include the NFL Network. It’s also unclear what exactly which networks PlayStation Vue includes, and not just because of channel availability by zip code. For instance, some pages on Vue’s website say that CBS, FOX, and NBC are included, but others only list FOX. If you’re a college football fan, however, rest easy: ESPN and ESPN2 -- which is where you’ll find the bowl games -- come with Vue’s base package.
Though it’s only available in select markets (though, there are quite a few) YouTube TV is a ticket to many of the weekend’s big games. That’s because Google’s take on live, streaming television, has all the major networks -- including CBS and FOX -- and a seven-day free trial. Off the field, YouTube TV’s 40 channels and cloud DVR capability are attractive highlights that might convince you to keep the service for $35 per month after the games are over. And YouTube TV subscriptions also give viewers access to YouTube Red, the search giant’s Netflix-like effort at original content.