After months of doubt and worry, the NFL season is back and is going ahead almost as normal. There might not be any games taking place in London this year, but here’s how fans this side of the pond can watch the NFL on TV and online.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and a number of players opting out of the season due to it, there are now more options for UK based fans to watch the football than ever before. Sky, for example, has a dedicated NFL channel and some games will even be back on Channel 5 to watch for free.
When is the NFL season 2020?
The 2020/21 season kicks off on 10 September with the Kansas City Chiefs vs Huston Texans.
There were no pre-season games but the regular season is still scheduled for the full 17 weeks and the Super Bowl for 2021 will take place on 7 Feb.
Which NFL games are on UK TV?
We’ll explain how to watch the NFL in the UK via various providers below. But first, let’s take a look at which games will be shown on UK TV.
Here are the games for week 11 in UK times and dates (note that time differences to the UK mean dates might differ to the official schedule as games are in the middle of the night).
Teams on the left are at home and we’ll update this each week with the up-to-date schedule – although some may get rescheduled due to covid.
Fri 20 Nov
- Seahawks vs Cardinals – 1:20am – Sky Sports
Sun 22 Nov
- Ravens vs Titans – 6pm – Sky Sports
- Colts vs Packers – 9:25pm – Sky Sports
Mon 23 Nov
- Raiders vs Chiefs – 1:20am – Sky Sports
Tue 24 Nov
- Buccaneers vs Rams – 1:15am – Sky Sports/Channel 5
Watch NFL on Sky Sports
As you might have guessed already, Sky is the main place to watch NFL in the UK this season. After many years of continued growth, the broadcaster now has a dedicated Sky Sports NFL channel.
Along with plenty of general coverage for the sport, the channel will show a minimum of five live games each week consisting of the following and additional coverage:
- First-pick exclusive game on Sky Sports NFL in the 6pm and 9pm slot every Sunday
- Every Thursday Night, Sunday Night, and Monday Night Football game
- NFL RedZone (on Sky Sports Mix)
- Every minute of every playoff game, Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl live
However, Sky has other ways of watching if you don’t want to be a full-on satellite customer. You can watch on a wide range of devices including smartphones and consoles via Now TV with a Sky Sports pass.
These start at £9.99 for a Day Pass (24 hours) but you’re better off getting the Month Pass if you plan to watch lots of games. It’s £33.99 per month but is on offer at the moment for £25pm for 12 months.
Note that you’ll need Now TV Boost (£3 per month) to watch in Full HD quality along with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. It also takes the number of devices you can stream on simultaneously to 3 (normally 2).
Watch NFL on BBC
For 2020, the BBC will only be showing the Super Bowl live and coverage isn’t as broad as usual.
There’s now just a weekly showing of The NFL Show on Saturday nights, available at 9pm on the Red Button or varying times on BBC One. You’ll also be able to find it on BBC iPlayer.
It’s still presented by Mark Chapman along with Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell (who is on Strictly Come Dancing this year), but the NFL This Week highlights show is gone.
Watch NFL on Channel 5
Anyone who’s been following NFL from the UK for a long time will remember watching games on Channel 5.
After a hiatus since 2009, the channel is once again showing live American Football. You will have to get the coffee ready though as it will only be Monday night games with coverage starting at midnight.
Still, you can put it on record if you don’t fancy splashing out on Sky, since Channel 5 is free-to-air.
At a more sociable hour is a new show called NFL End Zone. This will air on Sunday mornings at 11.30am presented by American actress and singer, Cory Yarckin who will “delve deeper into the culture behind America’s greatest sport.”
Channel 5 will also show the Super Bowl live.
Live Stream NFL on Game Pass
The NFL Game Pass is the sport’s official online streaming service – a bit like Netflix just for American Football. It allows you to watch games live or on-demand throughout the season and available on the web or via various devices with the app.
You can use it for free but you’ll only get a small amount of content such as ‘Sunday in 60’ and highlights of each game in five minutes.
The Essential Plan is £39.99 for the season and includes things like NFL RedZone, game highlights condensed to 40 minutes and NFL Original shows.
If you want to watch live games, full games on-demand and coaches film then you’ll need the Pro subscription. It’s £149.99 for the season or you can pay £14.99 weekly. Note that games shown on Sky will be blacked out on Game Pass and unavailable to watch live.
View all the plans on the NFL Game Pass website. You can also make use of a 7-day free trial for the Pro account.
Watch NFL in the UK with a VPN
Services like Sky Go and BBC iPlayer are geo-restricted outside the UK, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch the NFL when you’re overseas.
All you need do is download and use VPN service such as NordVPN that will mask your IP address and make it appear to the app that you are in fact in the UK. You can then browse Sky’s services in your web browser and watch whatever you like.
Read our guide to what a VPN is and what the best VPNs are.