This is Why You Couldn’t Stream Your Team’s NFL Preseason Game This Weekend
The Markets That You Could and Couldn’t Stream NFL Preseason Games in 2019
While many streamers were excited to watch their favorite team kick off the NFL preseason — some were greeted to a message that the game was “unavailable to stream” in their area. During the Regular Season, AFC teams mostly air on CBS, while NFC teams mostly air on FOX. It’s slightly different during the preseason where each team partners with a local affiliate to air their preseason games.
During the regular season, ever since Verizon’s mobile exclusivity ended in 2017, there are no blackouts of games carried on your local affiliates. However, during the preseason blackouts can occur if your local channel hasn’t secured streaming rights to NFL preseason games.
And whether they have secured the rights is quite random. There are affiliates owned by the same affiliate owner (e.g. Sinclair, Nexstar, etc.) that may not have the rights to stream preseason games. There are times where the same game may air in an affiliate in one market, but not another. For example, the Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills games streamed in WBKI in Louisville, but didn’t on WXIN in Indianapolis.
Thanks to our readers, we identified five teams that weren’t able to stream in their primary market.
- Indianapolis Colts (WXIN)
- Carolina Panthers (WSOC)
- Cincinnati Bengals (KCTV)
- Arizona Cardinals (KPNX)
- Kansas City Chiefs (WKRC)
Outside of their primary markets, some teams had their streams blacked out in secondary markets like the Buffalo Bills (WROC), Chicago Bears (WTVD), Green Bay Packers (KETV), Houston Texans (KFDM, KAGS), Los Angeles Chargers (KGMB), Kansas City Chiefs (KMOV, WIBW), New York Jets / New York Giants (WTIC), New England Patriots (WWLP), Tennessee Titans (WPMT), and Washington Redskins (WRLH, WYTV).
Unfortunately, this isn’t a matter of jumping between streaming services or devices to get around the blackouts. If it is not carried on YouTube TV, it also won’t work on PlayStation Vue. This year, some NFL teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams, this season are streaming games on their website in their local markets — without blackouts. You could AirPlay or Cast from your computer if you want to watch it on your big screen.
Hopefully, as time goes on this becomes less of an issue as local affiliates renew their deals to carry NFL preseason games. But for now, if you want to guarantee that you’ll be able to watch your team’s preseason games — you should buy a cheap indoor antenna — since there are no blackouts for OTA telecasts.