How to Stream at a Tailgate (Free Services Included)

How to stream at a tailgate

A common question on google is, how do I stream at a tailgate. There are a plethora of streaming services available for football games. However, there are two best practices for streaming at a tailgate.

How do you stream at a tailgate?

If you are looking for college football then ESPN Watch is the way to go. They have an abundance of games and it is a free service within the ESPN app. If you want to stream NFL games, NFL Sunday Ticket is the best option despite the price tag.

I have also listed an excessive amount of options for streaming football games just in case you wanted to compare streaming services. I understand why you would not want to pay for NFL Sunday Ticket so I included as many quality free options as I could find.

Free Platforms

Having the game on at a tailgate is a great addition to the festivities, but not the primary focus. That is why I made it a point to include free streaming services for a tailgate. So, how do you stream at a tailgate for free?

ESPN Watch

ESPN Watch is in a league of it’s own for one reason. This is by far the best option for college football. ESPN streams just about every live sport and will give you plenty of games to choose from at your tailgate. Also, majority of football fans at a tailgate will already have the ESPN app. All you have to do is log in and choose which game to stream. The only caveat is that you need to have an account with a valid TV provider. Again, if you are a football fan, this should not be an issue.

Yahoo Sports

Yahoo is the first streaming service to provide access to NFL games with no-cable authorization. Anyone will have access to all local and prime-time games. While this service would be ideal, it is really only good for special occasions. For example, if games are being played in London while you are tailgating for a 1:00 Kickoff. In that scenario, the London game is able to be streamed on Yahoo because it is considered a prime-time game. That game should still be going on during your tailgating festivities. You need to be on a phone or tablet to stream Yahoo Sports games. Even devices like Roku and Apple TV cannot stream these games.

Fox Sports Go

Fox Sports Go is a free streaming service but requires cable authorization. As long as you have Fox, you can watch any game covered by their network on any device. They have an easy to use app that you can throw on while enjoying your tailgate.

  • NBC Sports streams all Sunday Night Football games with cable authorization. This is not very relevant as far as tailgating goes but is worth noting.

Paid Platforms

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Sunday Ticket is by far the most valuable streaming service for professional football. They offer every live out-of-market game as well as some phenomenal features you cannot get anywhere else. RedZone is a channel where they show all the action and cut to the teams closest to scoring. They also update you on all of the biggest plays around the league. They even have a channel for Fantasy Football where all the content is focused around showing fantasy relevant plays. You can easily watch NFL Sunday Ticket on any device including TV.

The only issue with NFL Sunday Ticket is the availability of the service. If you are not a DIRECTV member than it is a complicated process to get your hands on the the best streaming service available. If you live in areas where DIRECTV does not provide service than you will be eligible. More commonly, they allow college students to have a discounted deal. To see if you are eligible click here.

If you are a big football fan, I suggest finding a way to get this service. It can be quite the upgrade to your game day experience. This is our sites streaming service of choice, and frankly there is no close second.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV does not have the same features as NFL Sunday Ticket, but is the best bang for your buck. At $49.99 a month, YouTube TV is a cord cutters dream. The service provides over 70 channels and allows for six accounts per household. That means your family can still watch TV at home while you stream at the game. YouTube TV has a bunch of features but this is purely about steaming at a tailgate. You can download the YouTube TV app and watch any game you would be able to watch at home, from your device.


Hulu Plus is offering almost the exact same service as YouTube TV. They offer over 65 channels for $54.99 a month. They have all the main networks like FOX and CBS so you will have access to all the live football games you would be watching at home. As far as streaming football games, YouTube TV offers the same service at a slightly cheaper price.

CBS All Access

CBS All Access is a streaming service that should be at the top of the charts. They cover a lot of games and have great broadcast teams. My issue with them is there lack of awareness. The NFL is now allowing places like Yahoo to stream for free because they know the importance of allowing the younger audience to buy into the product. Fox and NBC allow for free streaming with cable authorization. CBS meanwhile charges $6 a month for the same service. There is no need to pay for CBS All Access when Fox has games streaming at the same time for no additional cost.

Wrap Up

If you plan on tailgating college football, ESPN Watch is the clear cut favorite. Almost every football fan has ESPN and there is no additional cost. For the NFL fans, it gets more complicated. The best service is NFL Sunday Ticket. It is also the hardest to acquire and most expensive. YouTube TV offers the better price for a service with multiple games to choose from.

How would I stream at a tailgate?

If nobody in my tailgate group has NFL Sunday Ticket, I would go directly to Fox Sports Go. This streaming service will only have one game that is being played in your area. However, I only need one game to throw on while we are tailgating, and Fox Sport Go is completely free with cable authorization.

If you liked this article on “how to stream at a tailgate,” check out some of our other articles on our tailgating page!

Scott Neville

Scott covers the MLB and NFL on and is a co-founder of Improve Your Gameday.

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