New for the 2022 season, ESPN has announced a limited slate of NFL games on ESPN+, including a streaming exclusive game on October 30th, between the Broncos and Jaguars from London, a 9:30 AM kickoff. You can live stream NFL games on ESPN+ with most major streaming devices, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone, Apple TV, and more. Two live TV streaming services, ESPN+, as well as Hulu + Live TV, will carry the new ESPN Plus NFL games.
The announcement is a departure from precedent, where in previous seasons, NFL content was kept off of the ESPN+ platform to preserve value for the millions of Pay-TV subscribers who shell out $10 per month for access to ESPN’s full lineup of programming.
NFL games arriving on ESPN+ for the first time is likely to stir up confusion for NFL fans, so I will run through the most common NFL on ESPN+ questions in this blog post with the hope of adding clarity for viewers.
This isn’t an extensive rollout, and most fans won’t be affected, including Jaguars and Broncos fans, because their morning game from London will be still be available on local affiliates. The ESPN+ NFL lineup is limited to one exclusive game, some Monday Night Football simulcasts, a late season doubleheader, and a playoff game. However, if you want to watch these games on ESPN+, there is no free trial, so it will be necessary to pay the $9.99 monthly fee, or to access ESPN+ through the Hulu bundle.
NFL on ESPN+ FAQ
Let’s dive into some of the questions that are likely to pop up with the addition of this new NFL lineup on ESPN+.
The ESPN+ brand benefits greatly, as do à la carte ESPN+ subscribers. Adding even a limited slate of NFL games to the ESPN+ lineup is a sign that Disney, the parent company of ESPN, sees streaming as the future, and that it plans to invest more heavily in ESPN+. The decision to add NFL games to ESPN+ is a big one because it devalues the Pay-TV bundles that millions of Americans pay for to watch ESPN. Read more analysis, here.
ESPN+ content lives inside the ESPN app. Unlike Watch ESPN, which is ESPN’s TV Everywhere feature that allows existing cable and streaming subscribers to watch ESPN from the app with their login credentials from another platform that carries ESPN, like YouTube TV, ESPN+ content can be found by selecting the “Plus” sign at the bottom of the mobile navigation. From there, you can login with your ESPN+ credentials, not your cable or live TV streaming passwords.
Likely, no. The vast majority of the NFL games that will stream on ESPN+ this season will be simulcasts, meaning they will air on their usual channels, but ESPN+ will pick up the feed. In and of itself, the new NFL on ESPN+ lineup doesn’t add enough value to sign up on this feature alone. The best reasons to sign up for ESPN+ are to watch out-of-market NHL games, smaller conference, and early season, NCAAF, and UFC Fight Nights.
No, the fact that ESPN+ will be live streaming NFL games this season doesn’t mean NFL fans will see blackouts like Yankees fans have had to suffer through when the Yankees appear on Amazon Prime. I anticipate that even the October 30th streaming exclusive game on ESPN+ from London between the Jags and Broncos will still be available for in-market fans on local affiliates, albeit very early in the morning.