Tailgaters Guide To Cordcutting

Tailgaters Guide To Cordcutting

June 7, 2021 Travel Blog Travel Tech Blog Travel WiFi Blog 0

If you joined the millions of America’s who have cut the cord, but also are an avid tailgater, fear not. It’s easier than ever to tailgate as a cordcutter. In our guide we’ll talk about what you need, where to get the channels you need for your favorite sports and a few tricks on how to save some money. If you are new to the concept of going digital for your next tailgate, you might be surprised to know it’s easier than ever. In fact, in many ways, it’s easier than the traditional methods.

We also want to take this opportunity to point out that tailgating isn’t just for football. Tailgating is a great way to enjoy motorsports, which is enjoying a renaissance. It’s also great for soccer, hockey and horse racing.

Also, tailgating can be as simple as a small grill, some chairs and a tablet for streaming to full blown tailgating trailers with TVs and bathrooms, and even RVs.

We mention and suggest a number of products and services below. With the exception of our own Go Connect smart travel routers and cellular hotspots, we do not benefit from any of these services. We are not affiliated with any of the other products or services, and we do not get any commission for them. These recommendations come from our own personal experiences and those shared with us by other cordcutting tailgaters.

Cut The Cord Tailgating Basics

We want to start with the basics. If you are a regular tailgater you likely have most of your big time tailgate gear. Since we are here to talk about cutting the cord, we are not going to dive too far into coolers, grills or chairs. But if you are new to the tailgating scene you’ll want to ensure you have all of these covered.

What You Need To Tailgate Without The Cord

TV or tablet – choice is yours, but given how light and cheap 32″ TVs are don’t sleep on this. It’s actually easier to tailgate with a TV when cord cutting than it was before.

Streaming Device or Stick – Doesn’t really matter which streaming device you choose. All of the major ones support the primary services you need. However, if you plan to buy a device just for tailgating or travel, check out our list of best streaming devices for travel.

Streaming Services – You’ll need streaming services to get the cable based games. We’ll discuss over the air (OTA) channels in a minute. Streaming services are pretty crucial for college football, some pro football and many motorsports, soccer and many other sports events.

Internet Access – This will generally come from cellular, either from your phone or a dedicated hotspot. However, many stadiums and even some entire communities are also offering WIFi. Be prepared for both as rural stadium locations cell towers often get overloaded on game days.

Finding Your Favorite Tailgate Content Via Streaming Apps

One of the biggest transitions you will need to make with cord cutting tailgating is finding all of the content you want. If you tailgate a single sport, this is often a lot easier. If you are like many of us – where tailgate is a lifestyle – you’ll find yourself needing to streaming a number of different sports at different times of the year. Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult. In in most instances, you won’t need a traditional cable subscription to do so.

Pro Football (NFL) Tailgate Streaming

Pro Football (NFL) tailgate streaming is by far the most popular. It can also be among the easiest. The NFL is generally streaming friendly, but there are a few exceptions that can make it more complicated. For the vast majority of tailgating of the local team, or popular Sunday games, you need few paid services or even none.

For your local team only, assuming they sell out – you simply need an antenna. There are local services like AirTV and Locast if you need an assist. Otherwise, a good old fashion HD antenna will serve your needs. Even when the game appears on a streaming only service like Amazon or Monday Night Football on ESPN, a local TV station will still broadcast it. This is true of home and away games as well.

For All Games Of The Weekend – if you want to be able to watch other games while tailgating besides your local team you have a few options. Fox and CBS still primarily carry Sunday games, along with NBC Sunday night. An antenna or local channel streaming service will cover you. However, if you want out of market games you’ll need NFL Sunday Ticket. However, this doesn’t mean you need DirecTV. NFL Sunday Ticket is available as an OTT (over the top) streaming subscription service. You can also get additional games streamed via CBS All Access (now Paramount+).

ESPN and Amazon Games – Monday Night Football when not involving a local team in your TV market will streaming exclusively on ESPN. Amazon Prime also recently picked up more of the Thursday night games, and will be going full excusive starting next year. You’ll need an ESPN subscription through your cable provider or SlingTV to watch the game. ESPN+ subscription does not include access to the Monday Night game. If you don’t have cable anymore, check out our tips and tricks on how you can use SlingTV to get access to ESPN channels and apps. For Amazon games there are no work around. You’ll need an Amazon account with access to prime to stream the games.

College Football Tailgate Streaming

The service or services you need for college football streaming likely depends on which conference your team plays in. The vast majority of Power 5 conference football appears on ESPN or Fox, along with ABC and CBS via local channels. Nearly every CFB game that appears on ABC is available via the ESPN app. ESPN+/ESPN3 also carry dozens of Group of 5 games every week from other conferences. Also, Pac-12, ACC, SEC, Texas (Big 12) and Big 10 all have dedicated channels.

The good news is SlingTV offers streaming options that provide access to all of these CFB networks, in addition to ESPN and Fox. You can also get most of these channels via DirectTV Now, Hulu TV and YouTube TV. However, be sure your specific conference channel is carried by your chosen streaming provider. A note that ESPN+ subscriptions generally do not include the premiere college football conference games, but do include a number of Group of 5 games.

In some rare instances some games will only appear on a regional sports network (RSNs). RSNs generally have had poor streaming support. DirecTV Now and SlingTV both carry some RSNs, but you’ll want to check on the specific RSN for your local area before committing to a full cord cutting.

Major League Baseball (MLB) Tailgate Streaming

MLB with it’s varied streaming and TV rights contracts enters the world where tailgate streaming gets a little more tricky. Unlike NFL where local broadcast channels and national rights ensure a pretty consistent tailgate streaming needs, MLB will vary dramatically based on whether you are looking to stream your favorite team or other teams.

For your local team only, Almost all MLB teams bulk games are televised via a Regional Sports Network (RSN). The games are generally available for streaming two ways: The most popular is to sign up with a streaming version of AT&T/DirecTV Now and stream the linear channel. The second is in many markets, Fox Sports Go app will allow you to stream games. However, the Fox Sports Go app will require a pay TV provider login with the proper RSN subscription. Some RSNs (like the Yes! Network) are not affiliated with Fox and are not available via the Fox Sports Go App.

For All Games Of The Day/Weekend – For out of market games MLB makes this very easy. With a subscription to MLB.TV you can stream most out of market games anytime. Some games, even when out of market, that are on ESPN and other national networks will not be available via MLB.TV. In addition, MLB Extra Innings which is available with many cable subscriptions includes access to MLB.TV.

ESPN and Fox Games – You’ll need an ESPN subscription through your cable provider or SlingTV to watch the game. ESPN+ subscription does not include access to the MLB games. If you don’t have cable anymore, check out our tips and tricks on how you can use SlingTV to get access to ESPN channels and apps. For Fox games you’ll need an antenna. FS1 games will require a service like SlingTV or a cable subscription in order to stream.

National Basketball Association (NBA) Tailgate Streaming

NBA has varied streaming and TV rights contracts much like MLB does. You’ll need to decide whether you want access to only your local team, national games of interest or all games.

For your local team only, Almost all NBA teams bulk games are televised via a Regional Sports Network (RSN). The games are generally available for streaming two ways: The most popular is to sign up with a streaming version of AT&T/DirecTV Now and stream the linear channel. The second is in many markets, Fox Sports Go app will allow you to stream games. However, the Fox Sports Go app will require a pay TV provider login with the proper RSN subscription. Some RSNs are not affiliated with Fox and are not available via the Fox Sports Go App.

For All Games Of The Day/Weekend – For out of market games NBA makes this very easy. With a subscription to NBA League Pass you can stream most out of market games anytime. Some games, even when out of market, that are on ESPN and other national networks will not be available via NBA League Pass.

ESPN and TNT Games – You’ll need an ESPN subscription through your cable provider or SlingTV to watch the game. ESPN+ subscription does not include access to the NBA games. If you don’t have cable anymore, check out our tips and tricks on how you can use SlingTV to get access to ESPN channels and apps. For TNT/TBS games you’ll a subscription to a service like DirecTV, YouTube or HuluTV.

College Baskbetball Tailgate Streaming

The service or services you need for college basketball streaming likely depends on which conference your team plays in. The vast majority of major conferences basketball appears on ESPN and Fox or CBS via local channels. ESPN+/ESPN3 also carry dozens of mid-major games every week. Also, Pac-12, ACC, SEC, Texas (Big 12) and Big 10 all have dedicated channels.

The good news is SlingTV offers streaming options that provide access to all of these networks, in addition to ESPN family of networks and Fox. You can also get most of these channels via DirectTV Now, Hulu TV and YouTube TV. However, be sure your specific conference channel is carried by your chosen streaming provider. A note that ESPN+ subscriptions generally do not include the premiere college basketball conference games.

In some instances games will only appear on a regional sports network (RSNs). RSNs generally have had poor streaming support. DirecTV Now and SlingTV both carry some RSNs, but you’ll want to check on the specific RSN for your local area before committing to a full cord cutting.

Motorsports Tailgate Streaming

Tailgating at Motorsports events is a traditional that has existed since racing began. In fact, in many ways tailgating during races is one of the most appealing because you can watch the event while tailgating, unlike many stadium centric sports where you tailgate before (and after) the actual event.

While we have developed a complete guide for Watching Motorsports When Traveling, many of the key streaming services are vital for tailgating motorsports while cutting the cord.

NASCAR Tailgate Streaming

For NASCAR you will need an existing cable subscription with access to NBC networks. If you do, you can download the free NBC Sports app and stream NASCAR races to anywhere in the US. The best part is it is free with your existing cable subscription.

Key races are also televised on NBC, as well as USA Networks and CNBC. You can use an antenna or local TV streaming service to get the NBC races, and a OTT cable service to get USA and CNBC. Expect some races to also be available on Peacock, which is ComcastNBCs streaming offering if you don’t want an OTT cable service.

IMSA WeatherTech Series Tailgate Streaming

IMSA officially partners with NBCSN for both TV and streaming. You can watch IMSA WeatherTech series using NBCSN’s Trackpass serivce for $20 for the year or $2.99 a month for just the IMSA series. You can also get the “All-Access” pass which includes NASCAR, ARCA, Whelen Modified and American Flat track in addition to the IMSA races.

Key races are also televised on NBC (including the Petit Le Mans), as well as USA Networks and CNBC. You can use an antenna or local TV streaming service to get the NBC races, and a OTT cable service to get USA and CNBC. Expect some races to also be available on Peacock, which is ComcastNBCs streaming offering if you don’t want an OTT cable service

F1 Tailgate Streaming

ESPN is the official US TV provider of F1 thru 2022. In addition F1 offers their own direct OTT offering for $79.99 annually. You’ll need an ESPN subscription through your cable provider or SlingTV to watch the game. If you don’t have cable anymore, check out our tips and tricks on how you can use SlingTV to get access to ESPN channels and apps. For Amazon games there are no work around.

IndyCar Tailgate Streaming

IndyCar officially partners with NBC NBCSN for both TV and streaming. You can watch all of the remaining Indy Car series using NBCSN’s IndyCar Pass. However, don’t confuse this with the Track Pass, which is a separate service.

Tailgate Channel Cheat Sheet

If your team or the game you are interested is on a specific channel, here is a quick cordcutters cheat sheet on how to get access to it. Note in some cases the game or race is available from alternative sources, but hopefully this guide gets you pointed in the right direction.

If the game/race is onYou can get access by:Comments
ESPNGet SlingTV and stream plus you’ll get a login to the ESPN app. ESPN is also available via YouTubeTV, HuluTV and DirecTV Now.You can start/stop the service as needed.
FoxWith antennaSee below for FS1/FS2
CBSWith antennaCheck CBS All Access/Paramount+ for additional streaming availability
NBCWith antennaCheck Peacock for additional streaming availability
TNT/TBSTNT/TBS is available via SlingTV, YouTubeTV, HuluTV and DirecTV Now.
USAUSA is available via SlingTV, YouTubeTV, HuluTV and DirecTV Now.Check Peacock for additional streaming availability
RSNsRSNs vary by provider. DirecTV Now has the most complete offering, but some RSNs are available via SlingTV and YouTubeTV as well.Availability varies by specific provider.

Do This, Not That – Tailgating Tips and Tricks

If you are looking for a quick cheat sheet for an experience tailgater, here are some options to consider.

If You HaveDo This InsteadWhy?
DirecTV/Dish For CableGet SlingTV and stream. It’s cheaper and you can stop the service when it’s not in use. Plus there is no dish to setup at each location.
Phone Hotspot For Streaming InternetGet a dedicated hotspot. It’s better than being teethered. Plus, cell signal can get crowded at tailgates but many stadiums are now offering WIFi in premium tailgating spots. The smartest hotspots will use either, or even both, to ensure you have no trouble streaming the game.
Streaming directly off of your phoneGet a streaming stickRather than relying on your phone, which means you are tethered, you can get a streaming stick for $40 or less.
Cable Subscription for ESPN App AccessSwitch to SlingTVSlingTV is one of the view OTT (over the top) streaming providers that give you logins to major apps like ESPN/WatchESPN. The advantage is that you can use their native apps to more easily access content.
Carry SlingTV or Cable TV year round for seasonal sportsSwitch to SlingTVOne thing we really like about SlingTV if you need access to more traditional cable channels is the ability to start and stop your service. It’s perfectly acceptable to start it in September and turn it off end of January when football season is over, for example – saving you money for more important things.

Go Connect Travel WiFi Products Are Perfect For Tailgate Cord Cutters

Go Travel Pro

If you want to enusre you will have reliable WIFi when tailgating then the Go Connect Go Travel Pro is the device for you. Public WIFi may not be available, leaving you to do with cellular. Or, cellular may be crowded and unreliable. Go Connect Go Travel Pro is the only device that will easily use either, and even both automatically, to help ensure you have a reliable game day connection. Go Connect devices are really easy to use. In fact, if you can cut the cord, you can use our devices.