Doesn’t it feel like it’s been ages since we saw the Eagles triumph over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII? We’re thirsty for more football, and thankfully, it’s time to watch the NFL preseason.
Let’s see if Baker Mayfield can inject some life into the Cleveland Browns or if Sam Darnold can avoid another butt-fumble situation for the New York Jets.
How to watch the NFL preseason
NFL preseason channels: CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC
Most of the NFL preseason games will air on local channels, with a few airing on ESPN. To watch the whole preseason online, you’ll need a streaming service that carries all the above channels. Let’s get into it.
NFL preseason channels and coverage
|CBS||(109 local affiliates)||(check your area availability)||(99 local affiliates)||(71 local affiliates)|
|FOX||(119 local affiliates)||(check your area availability)||(98 local affiliates)||(134 local affiliates)|
|NBC||(76 local affiliates)||(check your area availability)||(96 local affiliates)||(79 local affiliates)|
|(109 local affiliates)||(check your area availability)||(99 local affiliates)||(71 local affiliates)|
|(119 local affiliates)||(check your area availability)||(98 local affiliates)||(134 local affiliates)|
|(76 local affiliates)||(check your area availability)||(96 local affiliates)||(79 local affiliates)|
#1 Hulu with Live TV: Stream the NFL preseason and binge-watch Friday Night Lights
What we like about it: Most local channel coverage
Drawbacks: Limited cloud DVR
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who love live sports and popular TV shows
Hulu with Live TV is your safest bet to watch the NFL preseason online. It’s got the most local channel coverage and of course carries ESPN. You can try out Hulu with Live TV and watch the NFL preseason for free with a 7-day trial.
Watch the NFL preseason and endless amounts of other shows
There’s a huge competition going on between streaming services to carry the most local channels. Since watching the NFL preseason, or even the regular season, is almost all about local networks, you’ll want a streaming service that has as much coverage as possible.
As it stands right now, Hulu with Live TV is basically the Patriots of streaming services—it’s stacked with local channels.
Along with local channels and ESPN, Hulu with Live TV offers over 55 other channels with your subscription. On top of that, you get access to Hulu’s entire streaming library for free. That includes Friday Night Lights, which, if you haven’t already, we highly suggest you watch.
50 hours of cloud DVR storage with your subscription
When you sign up for Hulu with Live TV, you get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage automatically. That amount will let you record lots of NFL games and watch them whenever you want. And let’s be honest—the amount of commercials and game stoppages in the NFL borders on the ridiculous, so recording and skipping commercials comes in handy.
If 50 hours isn’t enough, you can upgrade to 200 hours of cloud DVR storage, but it’ll cost you an additional $14.99 a month.
How do I know if I can watch the NFL preseason in my area?
Good question. The last thing you want is to sign up for a service where you don’t get CBS, FOX, or NBC in your area. Here’s how you can avoid that:
- Go to Hulu’s website.
- Scroll down until you see View All Channels in Your Area.
- Enter your ZIP code and make sure you see your local channels.
Hulu with Live TV compatible devices
Hulu covers its bases with the most popular streaming devices. You can stream the NFL preseason with Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and other major streaming devices.
#2 Sling TV with an antenna: A budget combo for watching the NFL preseason
What we like about it: Cheapest way to watch the NFL preseason
Drawbacks: Cloud DVR costs extra
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the cheapest deal
Yes, if you want to use Sling TV for the NFL preseason, you’ll probably need to buy an antenna too. But the end result is still cheaper. You can even watch some of the NFL preseason for free with a 7-day trial.
How to get the best deal for the NFL preseason
Hear us out. Sling TV doesn’t have many local channels, but it does have ESPN in a cheap channel package. Pair your Sling TV subscription with an antenna, and all of a sudden you have NFL coverage for $20 a month.
The second question, of course, is what kind of antenna should you get. We would recommend the Mohu Leaf 50 on Amazon. It’s got a wide signal range for a reasonable price, and it happens to be eco-friendly. Check out our antenna guide for some more options.
Smaller channel packages for a smaller price
You knew a streaming service priced at $20 would come with a catch, right? Well, Sling Orange has only a little over 30 channels, which is about half what Hulu with Live TV or YouTube TV offer. Thankfully, you get ESPN in that package, which is the most important channel anyway.
Speaking of catches, Sling TV’s cloud DVR service costs an extra $5 a month for 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. Sure, nobody likes to pay extra for stuff, and 50 hours isn’t much. But even with the cloud DVR’s extra price included, Sling TV is cheaper than the other streaming services.
How do I know if I get local channels in my area with an antenna?
Here’s how you find out if you can stream the NFL preseason with an antenna.
- Go to the Tablo website.
- Enter your ZIP code where it asks.
- Make sure you see your local channels.
Sling TV device compatibility
Sling TV has the most compatible devices compared to every other streaming service. You can stream the NFL preseason on Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and other devices.
#3 YouTube TV: Record every NFL preseason game with unlimited cloud DVR
What we like about it: Ability to record everything
Drawbacks: A tad on the expensive side
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who watch the NFL on a schedule
YouTube TV has a lot going for it with plenty of local channel coverage and an unlimited cloud DVR. It costs the same as Hulu with Live TV at $40 a month, but it doesn’t come with quite as much bonus content.
NFL preseason channels for $40 a month
It was a tough call between YouTube TV and Hulu Live for who offers better service at $40 a month. Both streaming services offer strong local channel coverage, but Hulu offers a little more bang for your buck with more local coverage and on-demand options.
Even though Hulu wins for the best way to watch the NFL preseason overall, it doesn’t mean YouTube TV won’t be a perfect fit for you.
For the $40 per month price tag, you get CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, and 60 other channels. There are tons of channels there for sports fans, including options like NBC Sports, Fox sports, NBA TV, and more.
Unlimited cloud DVR
The one thing YouTube TV has over the competition is an unlimited cloud DVR. You can record literally every single NFL preseason game and watch the games whenever works for you.
There’s just one catch—your content deletes nine months from being recorded. So, even if you’re a Browns fan and Baker Mayfield has six touchdowns, you can’t keep the game forever.
How do I know if I can stream local channels in my area?
Before you sign up for anything, here’s how you can be sure:
- Go to YouTube TV’s available networks page.
- Go to the “Broadcast and Cable Networks” tab, and make sure nothing is blocked out for CBS, FOX, or NBC.
YouTube TV device compatibility
YouTube TV is compatible with fewer devices than most popular streaming services, but you can still stream the NFL preseason on all sorts, including the Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku.
#4 fuboTV: Everything except ESPN
What we like about it: Cheaper first month price
Drawbacks: No ESPN
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking to dip their toes in the streaming world
Yes, fuboTV is missing ESPN, but it offers everything else in spades. You can try out fuboTV and watch the NFL preseason for free with a 7-day trial.
The case for watching the NFL preseason with fuboTV
fuboTV offers excellent coverage (much like the defense of the Minnesota Vikings) for every local channel except ABC, but sadly there’s no ESPN.
However, most of the NFL preseason games are airing on CBS, FOX, or NBC, so you could get away with no ESPN for now. You’ll probably want to find a way to watch ESPN once the season starts, though—you don’t want to miss out on Monday Night Football.
It’s always good to try something out before committing. That’s why we have the draft combine. Thankfully, fuboTV offers a cheaper promotional first month that costs $34.99 (price jumps to $44.99 thereafter, so keep that in mind).
Combining both the 7-day free trial and cheap first month means you get lots of NFL for a pretty amazing price. If you’re not feeling the service by the end of your first month, you can cancel and try something new.
NFL Network and 30 hours of cloud DVR storage
fuboTV makes up for the lack of ESPN with the NFL Network, which neither Hulu nor YouTube TV offer. Sure, ESPN is probably more important than the NFL Network when it comes to the NFL preseason, but it’s still a great channel for any football fan.
Besides CBS, FOX, NBC, and the NFL Network, fuboTV comes with over 70 channels in its channel package.
Your subscription comes with 30 hours of cloud DVR storage, which is enough to record several NFL preseason games. Unlike YouTube TV’s unlimited cloud DVR storage, you can keep your recordings for as long as you want, so there’s one upside of having less storage.
If 30 hours isn’t enough, you can upgrade to 500 hours of storage, but it’ll add $9.99 to your monthly bill. Still, $10 for 500 hours is a great deal compared to Hulu’s 200 hours of storage for $14.99 per month.
How do I know if I can watch my local channels with fuboTV?
Here’s how to make sure you can watch the NFL preseason with fuboTV in your area.
- Visit fuboTV’s local channel list.
- Follow the instructions and find the local channels supported in your area.
fuboTV device compatibility
You can watch the NFL preseason with all the regular streaming suspects on fuboTV. Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku are all compatible with fuboTV.
#5 NFL Game Pass: Perfect for the out-of-market fan
What we like about it: Replays of every game during the regular season
Drawbacks: Expensive upfront cost
Who it’s perfect for: Fans of teams who are out of their market
For all the NFL fans who moved away from their hometown team, the NFL Game Pass will make your life much better. You can sign up for a free trial and try it out before you have to pay anything.
NFL preseason live and regular season games on replay
Let’s say you’re a Cowboys fan living in Los Angeles—the NFL Game Pass is the best deal for you. You get access to all live, out-of-market preseason games, replays of every game during the regular season, and the NFL film archives.
Just be aware that you can’t watch your local team if you live in the same market.
That’s all for an up-front cost of $99.99 or four payment installments of $29.99 each. FYI, the $99.99 is cheaper in the long run—but only if you can afford it.
The obvious con here is that you can’t watch games live during the season, but the perk of watching after the fact is fast-forwarding through the many, many commercial breaks.
So if you’re an NFL fan who wants to watch the NFL preseason live and catch regular season games on replay, you’ll enjoy the NFL Game Pass.
What NFL games will be blacked out for me with NFL Game Pass?
Before you even think about signing up for NFL Game Pass, make sure your favorite team isn’t blacked out for you. Here’s how you can find out:
- Go to the NFL Game Pass website.
- Allow the website to use your location.
- Scroll down until you see the Black Restrictions.
- Make sure you don’t see your favorite team’s logo.
NFL Game Pass device compatibility
You can get the NFL Game Pass on any major streaming device like Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku.
Start streaming the NFL preseason now
Whatever streaming service you decide to go with, it’s just exciting to think about the NFL again. We’ve been waiting to scratch our football itch all summer long, and it’s finally happening.
So, which service did you decide on? Let us know below, along with questions or comments you might have.