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NFL Streaming Options Go Haywire in Week 1, Enraging Fans, Putting Pressure on Prime Video on Thursday

Ben Bowman

If you thought NFL kickers had a rough week, they had nothing on the various streaming services showing the games.

YouTube TV's billing page choked, preventing some users from purchasing NFL RedZone.

The new NFL+ frustrated users with fast-forward malfunctions on game replays. Some accessing NFL RedZone from the mobile app, or trying to authenticate a TV provider couldn’t.

Some Sunday Ticket subscribers couldn't sign in, while others faced errors claiming the viewer was actually inside an NFL stadium. Some Sling TV and YouTube TV subscribers encountered error messages preventing them from viewing RedZone as well.

With all these failures, the spotlight grows even hotter for Prime Video and its first Thursday night exclusive NFL game on September 15. The service held up in the preseason, but we will see on Thursday if the first streaming-only NFL game will overwhelm the system.

While technical glitches are nothing new, these frustrating incidents highlight an ongoing problem in the streaming industry. Whether it’s HBO fans losing out on the live stream of the “Game of Thrones” season premiere or a rash of fumbles on the 2022 NFL opening weekend, these stories are all too common. CBS All Access fans even endured the crash of the live stream of the Super Bowl last year.

The problems are always technical, of course. Platforms may not be properly braced for the amount of traffic they receive. Technical infrastructure may not be able to keep up with demand. It only takes one small flaw to wreak havoc.

But if live TV streaming services really want to leapfrog cable as the bulletproof solution they claim to be, high-profile incidents like these won’t help.

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