NESN 360, the direct-to-consumer streaming service for Red Sox and Bruins fans, is offered to fans in the northeast for $30 per month. While NESN 360 isn’t worth $30 per month, it’s priced to pair with a more comprehensive streaming service that doesn’t carry NESN, like Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV. Here is everything you need to know about signing up for NESN 360.
The New England Sports Network, or NESN for short, is the regional sports network that carries Boston Red Sox and Bruins games to fans in Boston, and across the northeast. As is the case with the Yankees and the YES Network and the Nationals and Orioles with MASN, the Red Sox are the majority owner of NESN. NESN sells the rights to carry its programming lineup to DIRECTV STREAM and fuboTV, but also packages the rights to its content in a direct-to-consumer app called NESN 360 for $30 per month.
NESN 360 is subject to regional viewing restrictions
Right off the bat, MLB fans should know that NESN 360 is subject to the same regional viewing restrictions as is the NESN channel. The streaming service is available across the northeast, but is blacked out in most of the country. Out-of-market Sox and Bruins fans will still need MLB.TV or ESPN+ respectively to watch their teams if they’ve moved away from home. Further, NESN 360 is a one-channel streaming service. NESN 360 only gets Boston sports fans NESN programming, whereas services that incorporate NESN into their channel lineups. like fuboTV and DIRECTV STREAM, offer 100+ channels in addition to NESN.
Which Boston sports teams can I watch on NESN 360?
In the easy to use table below, I have listed the Boston teams you can watch on NESN 360, as well as the teams that are missing.
NESN 360 Carries:
- Red Sox spring training & regular season games
- Bruins regular season games
- Limited ACC sports lineup with Boston College
- Connecticut Sun (WNBA)
- Worcester Red Sox (Minor league baseball)
NESN 360 Does Not Carry
- Boston Celtics
- New England Patriots
- ESPN, FOX, TBS, NBC Sports Boston
Why NESN 360 is priced at $30 per month
NESN is priced based on what it costs to stream every channel that carries Red Sox or Bruins games. For example, if you signup for DIRECTV STREAM “Choice” to watch NESN, but also to get ESPN, TBS, FOX, and FS1, the monthly bill will be $99 per month. From a price standpoint, the result is the same if an NESN 360 user adds YouTube TV to gain access to the holes in NESN’s programming. In that case, the bill will be $95 per month. The main differentiator is whether you want to watch NESN on the same app as nationally televised MLB games, or if you’re ok toggling between apps.
DIRECTV STREAM “Choice” and fuboTV (plus its regional sports fee) are both more expensive than NESN by the tune of about $500 per year, however, both platforms offer complete Red Sox coverage (minus streaming exclusive games) from one app. As you can see from the channel comparison table below, DIRECTV STREAM and fuboTV feature a complete sports channel lineup that gives access to NHL, NBA, NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NCAAB and more.
Services like NESN 360 aren’t aligned with the viewing habits of fans
Most sports fans I know follow their team all season. For example, as a huge Ohio State football fan, I want to make sure I watch every game, both the big games on FOX and the smaller matchups on Big Ten Network. This is definitely also true of most Red Sox fans, who don’t just want the NESN games, but also the FOX, TBS, and ESPN broadcasts as well.
It’s important for MLB cord-cutting sports fans in Boston to understand that NESN is a one-channel subscription. Despite the price tag, you can’t follow the entire Red Sox season on NESN 360.
Yes, the programming includes enhanced Red Sox coverage, and there are some miscellaneous ancillary sports offered with ACC on RSN games as one example, but the NESN 360 app, as with Amazon Prime, and Apple TV+, is a sports dead-end that won’t give full coverage of the Red Sox season. In other words, NESN isn’t a great option as a stand-alone service.
Diehard Red Sox fans that want to watch every game, plus the playoffs, and with luck the World Series, can’t access these premier games on NESN 360. Further, you can’t watch the Celtics or Patriots on NESN 360. While it’s true that DIRECTV STREAM and fuboTV are much more expensive, it’s really due to simple math. With DTV and fuboTV, fans have access to over 100 channels, including NESN, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FOX, CBS, and many more.
If fuboTV and DIRECTV STREAM charged the same rates per channel as NESN 360, both platforms would cost thousands per month.
Of course, as I mentioned above, Boston sports fans do have the option of adding Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV to an NESN 360 subscription to fill the gaps in coverage with the net prices being roughly equivalent, however, this doesn’t mean that one channel services like NESN 360 are worth the money.
NESN 360 FAQ
No, you can’t watch the Celtics on NESN 360. NBC Sports Boston, and not NESN, has the TV rights to air Celtics games in the northeast.