Watching Football In Your Hotel Or Airbnb
Traveling for work or vacation but want to keep up with your favorite football team? In years past the same games you could see at home would be available with cable TV in your hotel room or whatever basic cable was available at your Airbnb. However, that paradigm has changed dramatically in the last few years.
2021 marks a significant change in how football is consumed. Notre Dame, one of the most popular college football programs is playing a game that will ONLY be available via streaming. Amazon recently won the rights to be the exclusive provider of Thursday night football.
The challenge for travelers wanting to keep up with their favorite teams is that hotel TV offerings are behind the pace with how much content we consume via streaming. And with something like football, there is simply not substitute.
However, all is not lost. If you are a cordcutter – or at least willing to embrace cordcutting options – you can catch every one of your teams favorite games regardless of the offerings at your hotel, Airbnb or other travel location.
What You Need To Watch Football Anywhere
TV with HDMI port– Most hotel room TVs offer HDMI ports. In most cases you’ll be able to easily connect, but we’ve got some tips and tricks if you have any difficulty.
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 travel, check out our list of best streaming devices for travel.
Streaming Services – You’ll need streaming services to get the cable based games. Streaming services are pretty crucial for college football and now some pro football.
Internet Access – You should be able to get this at most hotels or Airbnbs. However, you may have issues connecting streaming devices to the WiFi. We’ve got a few work arounds, or recommend you consider bringing a travel router or hotspot to make it a lot easier.
Finding Your Favorite Team Via Streaming Apps
Thankfully many hotels and Airbnbs are beginning to offer internet TVs with basic services. This makes catching streaming only games easier. However, even if your hotel or Airbnb offers an internet TV you may not find all of the services you need available. And for services not provided by the hotel or host, where you need to enter your own credentials – there can be significant security concerns.
Pro Football Streaming
Pro Football (NFL) 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 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.
Football 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 is on||You can get access by:||Comments|
|ABC/ESPN/ACC Network/SEC Network/Pac-12||Get 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.|
|Fox/FS1/FS2/Big Ten Network||Fox should be available in most hotels and Airbnbs, SlingTV has options for FS1/FS2||See below for FS1/FS2|
|CBS||should be available in most hotels and Airbnbs||Check CBS All Access/Paramount+ for additional streaming availability|
|NBC||should be available in most hotels and Airbnbs||Check Peacock for additional streaming availability|
|RSNs||RSNs vary by provider. DirecTV Now has the most complete offering, but some RSNs are available via SlingTV and YouTubeTV as well.||RSNs may soon be available direct|