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The Aquilian

Touchdown or fumble? Evaluating NFL+’s debut season


For the first time this year, the National Football League (NFL) decided to take its first steps away from television deals to step into its world of streaming. In the past, the NFL has made its biggest profits from television deals. In 2021, the NFL renegotiated its TV deals, making a massive deal for $110 billion to give the rights to broadcast the NFL back to ABC, CBS, NBC and for the first time, Prime Video. This groundbreaking changed the landscape of the NFL forever as Thursday Night Football transitioned to be a streaming-only game, the first of its kind for the NFL. With this massive change, the NFL had some concerns entering 2022 about viewership; however, they were quickly appeased as viewership not only stayed level but went up across the board, continuing the NFL’s dominance in the American market. 

This then set the stage for the NFL to start their streaming service when in the summer of 2022, they announced it would premiere for the 2023 season. Now, unlike most other services, NFL + wasn’t simply for streaming games as they happened. NFL Plus was meant as a home for die-hard football fans. With a subscription, a customer got access to all prime-time games (Sunday and Monday Night Football), local broadcasts, NFL RedZone, and the groundbreaking “All-22” film and condensed replays. These had never before been offered to the average NFL fan and took the fan film to a new level. So, as the avid NFL fan that I am, I decided that was an easy decision for me to subscribe to, and as the second year of NFL + quickly approaches, the question lies in, was it worth the money? So what must first be understood is there are two levels of the subscription, NFL + and NFL + Premium. The regular version costs $7 a month, and Premium costs $15. 

With regular NFL +, you get access to everything listed above except the groundbreaking things, so you get NFL RedZone and prime-time games all for $7 a month. This, to me, is a fantastic deal, as NFL RedZone alone costs $50 from a cable company for a year; however, that is $10 a month considering RedZone is only during the regular season which is 18 weeks, so if you were going to buy RedZone anyway, you might as well gain the ability to stream it anywhere anytime, not just when you are next to the cable box. 

Now with NFL + Premium, you get the groundbreaking NFL “All-22” film. So what is the All-22 film? It is the ability to watch a game while seeing every player but where it gets cool is the different angles you can watch from. One especially interesting view is the quarterback view. This angle puts a camera about five feet behind and ten feet above the QB; it allows you to see what the quarterback sees and understand why he might have missed an open receiver. However, for double the cost of the regular plan, I would only suggest it if you are a massive fan. These views are extremely interesting; however, if you simply want to watch the games on the weekend, then this adds nothing for you for double the price. 

For its second year, there are some things that NFL + needs to refine. It has a horrible tendency to crash; every around 45 minutes of watching, the stream crashes, and that can be infuriating when it happens at important moments; however, it instantly boots back up so it’s relatively a minor inconvenience. The bigger problem, however, is that the stream is around two minutes behind cable, and while that’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, it’s aggravating when your phone tells you a touchdown has happened and on your screen, the team is on the 20-yard line. Overall, though, the two-minute delay is a low price to pay when you can watch wherever and whenever you want. 

That is the real reason to purchase NFL + for the average viewer; it’s a key to watch anywhere. As a whole, NFL + is a game-changer for many like me who want to watch the film of teams to better understand and be able to talk about teams; however, for the common fan I would recommend, NFL + as more of an ability to mobilize something that you only used to be able to watch on TV not a game changer of the actual viewing. 


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