Once upon a time, it was rare to see sports streamed online, but that’s no longer true. As more and more audiences are turning to their laptops, mobile phones and tablets to watch streams of their favorite sports teams, broadcasters are increasingly making those matches available on those devices. The latest is Fox Sports, which will stream 101 NFL games it has rights to this season.
Streaming is nothing entirely new: After all, DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket service has provided streaming access to all out-of-market games over the last several years. Part of the reason for that is that it had exclusive rights to those streams, and well, they provided a reason for NFL fans to sign up — whether or not they had a satellite dish.
Over time, the appetite for streaming has expanded to other networks when available. ESPN has made its Monday Night Football games available online and through its WatchESPN app for tablets. And the last three Super Bowls have all been streamed — first by NBC Sports, then by CBS, and last season by Fox Sports.
Apparently that last live broadcast was successful enough for Fox Sports to decide to do it some more. This year, the network will be streaming 101 NFL Games on its website and tablet app. Those scheduled streams include 97 regular-season games and four playoff games that will take place over the course of the 2014 season.
There are a few caveats to this announcement. The first is that viewers will have to authenticate — that is, sign in with their cable or satellite provider to prove that they pay for television access.
The second caveat is that while Fox Sports will live stream more than 100 games altogether over the NFL season, only in-market games will be available to viewers. That is, if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan in San Francisco like I am, you’re out of luck — you’ll be stuck watching 49ers streams through the app.
For the majority of NFL fans rooting for the local sportsball team, however, the new streaming option will be a welcome way to catch the game, even when they can’t be in front of the big screen on Sunday afternoon.