A Streaming Stadium reader, Dan, sent me this email recently.
Hello John-I just moved from Pittsburgh to Raleigh, NC. I am trying to figure out how I can watch ALL the Steelers games. Let me know what options you might have for Steeler games?Dan, Steeler Fan in raleigh, nc
Dan is an ‘out-of-market” Steelers fan who is looking for the best way to watch his favorite team in his new city.
In order to walk readers through our process for creating team viewing guides, I will “show my math” and answer Dan’s question in this blog post.
First off, I did write a Steelers viewing guide in advance of the 2022 season, which I would encourage NFL fans in the Steel City to check out. I also blogged about the NFL’s strange out-of-market streaming rules for 2022.
However, the NFL’s regional broadcast rules, and in-market vs. out-of-market distinctions, can be confusing for many fans, so let’s dive into this very specific fact pattern, the NFL fan who moves away from home and can’t live without their favorite team on Sundays.
At his old house, Dan could watch most Steelers games on KDKA-TV CBS 2 Pittsburgh. In Raleigh, the local CBS affiliate will usually carry Titans games, and WARZ-TV FOX 50 Raleigh will broadcast the Falcons or Panthers most Sundays. The Steelers won’t be on in North Carolina like they are in Pittsburgh, so what can Dan do?
Dan wants to watch every Steelers game, presumably preseason as well, so we will start there.
For watching the Steelers out-of-market preseason action, NFL+ is the best option. Although NFL+ is limited to mobile and tablet viewing, the NFL’s new streaming service will carry every Steelers preseason game for Dan in Raleigh. As an added bonus, Dan can watch the Steelers primetime games on NFL+, including Thursday Night Football (saving a trip to Amazon Prime), Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football. Although much of the content on NFL Plus was free last season on the NFL app, the paid service offers good value for money this season, and would be a help to Dan.
As a national brand, the Steelers appear in primetime more than most other teams. This season, Pittsburgh is slated to appear in 5 national games during the regular season:
- The Browns game on 9/22
- The Dolphins game on 10/23
- The Bengals game on 11/20
- The Colts game on 11/28
- The Raiders game on 12/24
All of these games will be on NFL+.
Having said that, Dan isn’t out of the woods just yet. He still is tasked with watching his favorite NFL team out-of-market in a year where doing so is a bit convoluted. When I first replied to Dan via email, I asked him whether he lives in a home or a condo.
Why did I ask him this?
Because this is the last year of DIRECTV STREAM’s hold on the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, and for one more year, NFL fans who want to stream NFL Sunday Ticket.TV will first have to show they aren’t eligible for a satellite dish.
I went through the process of trying to sign up for an NFL Sunday Ticket.TV package from my parents cottage in Northern Michigan. New subscribers are invited to enter their address to determine whether they qualify. DIRECTV STREAM promptly rejected my parent’s address as not eligible for NFL Sunday Ticket.TV and sent me to a DIRECTV landing page instead.
If Dan lives in a condo, dorm, or apartment, he can watch the Steelers out-of-market every Sunday live without cable.
However, if he lives in a house, he would need to get a dish to watch the Steelers on NFL Sunday Ticket, and a two year contract is required. I don’t think this would be a good investment for Dan because the 2022 season is the last football season that DIRECTV STREAM holds the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. Next season, it is expected that Apple will buy the NFL’s out-of-market TV rights and live stream the Sunday Ticket lineup on Apple TV+. It would be a shame for Dan to buy and install a bulky satellite dish to watch the Steelers this season, only to have the thing obsolete by winter.
The bottom line is that, absent bending the rules and playing with a VPN to set his streaming location to Pittsburgh, which we don’t recommend, and assuming Dan lives in a single family home, the only way for him to watch every Steelers game from Raleigh this season is to sign up for a dish with DIRECTV.
- If he lives in a condo, dorm, or apartment, Dan can live stream the Steelers on NFL Sunday Ticket.TV with DIRECTV STREAM
- Dan can watch the preseason as well as 5 primetime games on NFL+
- Dan can watch the Steelers out-of-market with a dish, but this is a bad year to sign up for a dish just to watch NFL football
- NFL Red Zone will allow Dan to peek in on Steelers scoring drives