Labor Day marks the unofficial turning point from summer to fall. Even though school’s already started, this is the last fling for the summer months.
Football’s started too, college this weekend and the NFL for real next weekend. That’s probably a better marker of fall for most people. If you’re a football fanatic, you won’t want to miss out on as much football as you can get, from Thursday to Monday.
It used to be you’d get your NFL football in three places: CBS and NBC on Sundays and ABC on Monday. Then came ESPN. And Fox. And new broadcast deals and outlets.
College was ABC and CBS. Forget about it now, there are dozens of outlets and college sports networks, too.
In this digital age, where do you go to get all the football you can watch, and what does it cost?
Well right off the bat, you don’t need a satellite dish. You’ll just need a streaming service and an antenna.
How to stream the NFL
The NFL is the big enchilada. And there are more than a few ways to get your fill of pro football in the digital age.
1. Sunday games
Select Sunday games are still available from network TV, with CBS, Fox and NBC. Those games can be picked up with a digital antenna.
2. Monday Night Football
First of all, check to see if your team is playing on Monday night. Go to the NFL schedule for the Monday night game.
If your team is playing on Monday this year, or if you’re a big enough fan to watch it all, you’ll need ESPN. Most streaming services include this channel in their lineup, including DirecTV, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV.
Sling TV’s Orange bundle costs $25 and is the cheapest option with ESPN.
3. Thursday Night Football
Amazon Prime Video, Fox and NFL Network all broadcast Thursday night games.
Most live streaming TV services don’t include NFL Network, but it is available in Sling TV’s Orange + Blue bundle, for $40 a month.
4. NFL Sunday Ticket
This is the most expensive of all, but it also offers the most games — all of the Sunday battles. These are offered in two levels.
The To Go package offers every out-of-market NFL game, connection through your non-TV device, real-time stats and scores, tracking of up to 20 players for fantasy football and up to four games at once on one screen. To Go is $293.96 for the season, or $73.49 per month, for four months.
The Max package has all that and adds the Red Zone Channel, which shows scoring from each game as it occurs, and DirecTV Fantasy Zone, which provides real-time live stats for your fantasy football league. It is $99 per month for four months, or a one-time payment of $395.99.
Discounts are available for college students.
How to stream college football
Besides broadcast networks, games appear on ESPN, FS1, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, Longhorn Network and more.
Go to DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV to price packages and options for your conference or team. Most of the services run round $40 and will include college games.