Before 2020, few people would ever think they’d miss preseason football, but then the COVID pandemic canceled all of last year’s exhibitions. They’re happy to have a lead-up to the 2021 season, even if the action won’t come close to what they’ll see in the regular season.
The games may not count yet, but they will provide opportunities for young players to get NFL experience. Notably, fans will be watching a strong crop of rookie quarterbacks — headlined by Trevor Lawrence — make their debuts. Top free-agent signings will draw attention as well, however little action those players may see.
Whatever they’re watching for, fans will be tuned in, especially because the preseason now lasts just three full weeks instead of the previous four. The preseason was shortened in exchange for adding a 17th game to the regular-season schedule.
Forty-nine games are scheduled to be played during the 2021 NFL preseason and each of them will be televised in some fashion. Here’s a look at the various ways you can watch games live and on demand.
How to live stream NFL preseason games
Because of the massive fees broadcast companies pay the NFL to air games, there are usually just a couple of ways to stream games during the regular season. The NFL provides a wider variety of options for its preseason broadcasts, and that gives streamers more options.
Here’s a rundown of how to stream games during the preseason, which runs until Aug. 29 this year.
With the preseason being shortened, only five games are being televised nationally. One, the Hall of Fame Game on Fox, has already been played, so that leaves four on the schedule.
ESPN (two), CBS (one) and NBC (one) will each produce national broadcasts. ESPN will live stream games on the ESPN app and its website. NBC’s stream can be accessed via the NBC Sports app or its website. CBS will live stream games on the CBS Sports app and on its website. All providers will require users to sign in with TV provider credentials.
NFL Network will broadcast 23 preseason games live. Streamers will be able to view these games on a regional basis via the NFL app or via the NFL’s official website. NFL Network will air replays of all 49 games throughout the preseason.
NFL Game Pass
NFL Game Pass — which costs $99.99 for a one-year subscription — provides live access to every out-of-market preseason game and full replays of every game. Streamers will also have the option to watch each preseason game in a condensed, 45-minute format. NFL Game Pass allows access to national and local audio for each game, too.
The service also provides access to on-demand NFL Network shows — such as “Good Morning Football” and “Total Access” — and the NFL Films library. It can be streamed on most mobile devices, computers and Smart TVs.
NFL Game Pass does not provide live access and streaming opportunities for regular-season games. Only replays of those contests will be accessible to Game Pass subscribers.
Every preseason game broadcast nationally or on NFL Network can be streamed on fuboTV, which offers a free seven-day trial to new subscribers. That accounts for 28 of the 49 preseason games.
Much like NFL Game Pass, fuboTV offers access to original NFL Network programming, including “Total Access,” “NFL GameDay” and “Good Morning Football” in addition to its live streaming opportunities.
NFL preseason schedule: Week 1
Note: Nationally televised broadcasts are in bold.
Thursday, Aug. 12
|Patriots vs. Washington||7:30 p.m.||NFL Network, WBZ, WRC|
|Eagles vs. Steelers||7:30 p.m.||WCAU, KDKA|
Friday, Aug. 13
|Falcons vs. Titans||7 p.m.||WUPA, WKRN|
|Lions vs. Bills||7 p.m.||NFL Network, WJBK, WKBW|
|Cardinals vs. Cowboys||10 p.m.||NFL Network, KPNX, KTVT|
Saturday, Aug. 14
|Bears vs. Dolphins||1 p.m.||NFL Network, WFLD, WFOR|
|Vikings vs. Broncos||4 p.m.||NFL Network, KMSP, KTVD|
|Ravens vs. Saints||7 p.m.||WBAL, WVUE|
|Jaguars vs. Browns||7 p.m.||NFL Network, WJAX, WEWS|
|Giants vs. Jets||7:30 p.m.||WNBC|
|Buccaneers vs. Bengals||7:30 p.m.||WRSP, WFTV, WKRC|
|Packers vs. Texans||8 p.m.||WTMJ, KTRK|
|49ers vs. Chiefs||8:30 p.m.||KPIX, KCTV|
|Raiders vs. Seahawks||9 p.m.||KTVU, KING|
|Rams vs. Chargers||10 p.m.||NFL Network, KCBS, KABC|
Sunday, Aug. 15
|Colts vs. Panthers||1 p.m.||NFL Network, WXIN, WSOC|
NFL preseason schedule: Week 2
Thursday, Aug. 19
|Eagles vs. Patriots||7:30 p.m.||NFL Network, WCAU, WBZ|
Friday, Aug. 20
|Cardinals vs. Chiefs||8 p.m.||ESPN, KPNX, KCTV, fuboTV|
|Washington vs. Bengals||8 p.m.||NFL Network, WRC, WKRC|
Saturday, Aug. 21
|Bears vs. Bills||1 p.m.||NFL Network, WFLD, WKBW|
|Packers vs. Jets||4:25 p.m.||NFL Network, WTMJ, WNBC|
|Panthers vs. Ravens||7 p.m.||WSOC, WBAL|
|Dolphins vs. Falcons||7 p.m.||WFOR, WUPA|
|Steelers vs. Lions||7:30 p.m.||NFL Network, KDKA, WJBK|
|Buccaneers vs. Titans||7:30 p.m.||WTSP, WFTV, WKRN|
|Cowboys vs. Texans||8 p.m.||KTVT, KTRK|
|Vikings vs. Colts||8 p.m.||KMSP, WXIN|
|Rams vs. Raiders||10 p.m.||NFL Network, KCBS, KTVU|
|Seahawks vs. Broncos||10 p.m.||KING, KTVD|
Sunday, Aug. 22
|Browns vs. Giants||1 p.m.||NFL Network, KTVD, WNBC|
|Chargers vs. 49ers||7:30 p.m.||NFL Network, KABC, KPIX|
Monday, Aug. 23
|Saints vs. Jaguars||8 p.m.||ESPN, WVUE, WJAX, fuboTV|
NFL preseason schedule: Week 3
Friday, Aug. 27
|Lions vs. Colts||7 p.m.||WJBK, WXIN|
|Panthers vs. Steelers||7:30 p.m.||WSOC, KDKA|
|Jets vs. Eagles||7:30 p.m.||WCAU, WNBC|
|Chiefs vs. Vikings||8 p.m.||NFL Network, KCTV, KMSP|
Saturday, Aug. 28
|Bills vs. Packers||1 p.m.||NFL Network, WKBW, WTMJ|
|Washington vs. Ravens||6 p.m.||WRC, WBAL|
|Titans vs. Bears||7 p.m.||NFL Network, WKRN, WFLD|
|Texans vs. Buccaneers||8 p.m.||KTRK, WRSP, WFTV|
|Saints vs. Cardinals||8 p.m.||WVUE, KPNX|
|Broncos vs. Rams||9:05 p.m.||KTVD, KCBS|
|Seahawks vs. Chargers||10 p.m.||NFL Network, KING, KABC|