Best apps for streaming NFL on Apple devices


Score these apps to stream NFL games, starting with preseason matchups this Thursday.
Score these apps to stream NFL games, starting with preseason matchups this Thursday.
Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr CC

By Chris Brantner

During the fall and winter, football fans across the United States devote entire Sundays to diligently following all the NFL action. But you don’t need to wait: The football action gets underway Thursday when the NFL preseason games begin.

If you’re one of the many people who love both football and Apple devices, you’re in luck. You can easily combine the two to stream NFL games during the entire season, whether you have cable or not. A bunch of different apps let you watch the NFL on Apple devices, so let’s take a look at some of the best ones out there.

How to stream NFL games

During the NFL preseason, games will be broadcast on CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN. These are the exact same channels that will air pro football games during the regular season. If you make sure you can stream all the preseason games, you’ll be set for the season.

Here are the options from which you can choose if you want to stream NFL games on iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV.

CBS All Access

The standalone streaming service, CBS All Access, will let you watch the two preseason games broadcast on CBS. The service costs $5.99 per month (or $9.99 per month, if you choose to remove commercials). You also gain access to a huge on-demand library of popular TV shows and movies. CBS All Access can be streamed on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV or right on your Mac. Try the seven-day free trial if you want to test CBS All Access before committing to a subscription.

Fox Sports Go

This service is available to anyone, whether they pay for cable service or not. You can sign into Fox Sports Go with either your cable TV login or credentials from several streaming services. Then, you can live-stream the sporting events Fox broadcasts, including two NFL preseason games. The app can be downloaded on iOS devices; if you want to stream on your Mac, you can use the Fox Sports Go website.

NBC Sports

NBC Sports is similar to Fox Sports Go: You can sign in with your streaming service or cable TV credentials. The preseason games NBC broadcasts will be available to live-stream on all Apple devices. You can watch these games regardless of your location, which means even if your streaming service doesn’t offer NBC live, it may still offer full access to the NBC Sports app and website.


ESPN owns the broadcast rights for some preseason football games as well. WatchESPN is available whether you pay for cable or not. You can access the service on all Apple devices and live-stream the games for no additional costs. This is a great option to stream tons of sporting events, just as it was during the NFL Draft.


fuboTV is one of the streaming services that will get you access to the above apps and websites. It’ll also offer live-streaming options on its own service, since CBS, FOX and NBC are available for live streams. The full availability depends on where you live, but it would come as part of fuboTV’s $35-per-month package in some areas. Even if you don’t get these channels live, you’ll still get access to the Fox Sports and NBC Sports apps. You can try the service free for a week with fuboTV’s free trial.

PlayStation Vue

Sony’s streaming service, PlayStation Vue, could be another source to stream some of the preseason games. This is the only option to watch every single preseason game in one place, since all the channels are available in certain locations. ESPN can be streamed everywhere, while the availability of NBC, CBS and Fox is more limited. The service is compatible with all Apple devices and offers a five-day free trial.

Stream NFL games all year on Apple devices

Clearly, you’ve got some great options to stream NFL games during the preseason on your Apple devices. The good news is this carries over into the regular NFL season. All of the apps above will offer live streams of games all year long.

The best one for you will depend on your preferences. For example, getting streaming access to CBS games probably would be critical for a fan of an AFC team, so they should use CBS All Access, fuboTV or PlayStation Vue. If you’re a fan of an NFC team, Fox Sports Go will prove incredibly useful, just like it is for soccer fans. But, you can still potentially stream Fox games through the fuboTV and PlayStation Vue apps as well.

NBC and ESPN have the big weekly football events. NBC owns Sunday Night Football and will broadcast one of the best games each week during the regular season. You’ve got some great choices to watch, including the NBC Sports app (for those with or without cable) and fuboTV or PlayStation Vue. You can watch Monday Night Football on ESPN through either WatchESPN or PlayStation Vue.

Since Apple products are compatible with so many services, you can choose from several ways to watch each channel. It’s a great problem to have (and one of the many benefits of owning an Apple device).

Chris Brantner founded Cut Cable Today, a website for cord cutters.