To keep track of where to watch the National Football League (NFL) on television this season, you’ll need a play-call sheet.

The Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions, take on the Detroit Lions on Thursday night to kick off the NFL season on NBC and its Peacock app.

Read ABout Chiefs Vs Lions

National Football League games used to only air on one or a few networks, but those days are long gone. This season, the league is airing more games than ever before on cable, digital streaming platforms, broadcast networks, and solely on streaming.

This year, certain games will be televised on NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN/ABC, and Amazon as well as on their respective streaming services. Some games will also be broadcast on YouTube TV and the NFL’s own streaming app.

Transform to streaming

Here’s why there are so many different streaming options and channels available to watch the National Football League, many of which many people may not even have.

The National Football League is television’s most valuable commodity right now, especially in light of the turbulence the media and technology sectors are experiencing and the rising number of individuals canceling their pay-TV subscriptions. In 2021, the NFL inked media deals worth more than $100 billion that would span 11 years and provide it the rights to more games on streaming sites.

The various owners of CBS, ESPN, ABC, and NBC—Paramount, Disney, and Comcast—are investing billions of dollars in their streaming services because they believe that this is the direction their companies will take. In an effort to encourage people to sign up, they are streaming more NFL games, including games exclusively.

According to a research released on Thursday by media experts at MoffettNathanson, traditional broadcast and cable television viewership is rapidly declining, and the National Football League is the “glue” keeping the pay-TV package together.

Three of the five NFL game packages were made available through streamers for the first time during the 2017–2018 season.

The National Football League Sunday Ticket on YouTube, the Peacock playoff game that is exclusively available for streaming, and the Black Friday game on Amazon Prime Video are all firsts for this season.

Later in the year, ESPN+ will broadcast a foreign NFL game exclusively on its platform for the second time, while Thursday night games are once again Amazon’s sole property this season. Thursday Night Football on Amazon was the first NFL package to only be available via streaming.

Why the NFL is important

Given the steadily declining interest in TV programming other than sports, football is the lone event that millions of people still watch live and for which marketers will pay a premium.

According to the MoffettNathanson research, the NFL accounted for more than half of Fox’s viewership last season (excluding the Super Bowl) and around one-third of CBS and NBC’s.

The researchers said that during the autumn television season, the NFL is the main driver of network ratings and advertising spending. When compared to every other linear material, “The NFL remains an outlier.”


So “Sunday Night Football” will be shown by NBC at prime time and on Peacock. On its broadcast network, Fox will air games from the National Football Conference. American Football Conference games will be broadcast by CBS on its network and Paramount+. (CBS, which will broadcast the Super Bowl on Nickelodeon in February, holds the rights to the game.) Games of “Monday Night Football” will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+. Additionally, Thursday night games are broadcast on Amazon Prime Video and are owned by Amazon.

Even the National Football League is placing bets on streaming.

After almost 30 years with satellite provider DirecTV, the NFL Sunday Ticket subscription, which broadcasts all out-of-market NFL games to fans, is shifting to YouTube TV, owned by Google, this year.

We have been working to expand the digital distribution of our games, and this agreement is just one more illustration of how we are looking ahead, according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.


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