NFL 2012/2013 – An Analysis for the Cord Cutting Sports Fan
For die-hard NFL fans cutting the cable cord presents a real challenge.
Although there is plenty of over the air and streaming content, many of the games are available only on cable network channels. As a guide to the fan considering cutting the cord, I present this case study. To make it real I’ll consider the point of view of a Chargers fan living in my home town of San Diego, first for his local team and then for the entire set of NFL games.
NFL Preseason W: 3 L:1
Checking with the 2012 San Diego Chargers schedule I find three out of four games are on local TV. I can watch these for free with just an antenna. Unfortunately preseason game number one is on ESPN. I’ll need to buy a ticket or go to a sports bar to see that one.
NFL Regular Season W: 13 L:3
I will miss three of the sixteen regular games that are on NFLN or ESPN. The other thirteen are available on local free broadcast. Note that home games are subject to black-outs if the tickets are not close to sold out, a fact that continually irks the local fan base. Here in San Diego count on missing at least one game due to black-outs. Don’t blame that on cord-cutting though. The only way to see those games is attend live or go out of town (or possibly get creative with a sling box).
NFL Post Season W: 11 L:0
At the time of this writing the 2012/2013 post season TV schedule is not available, so I’m basing this on what happened in 2011/2012. Good news! I won’t miss a single game as every one shows up on either CBS, NBC or Fox, including the Superbowl.
All NFL Games W: 96 L: 160
There are a total of 256 games in a regular season (32 teams = 16 match-ups x 16 games) . I refer to the 2012-2013 schedule posted here. The bad news is Monday night games seems to be all on ESPN this year so forget about those. And most of the Thursday games are on NFL Network. What’s left for the cord cutter? NBC, CBS and FOX will all be showing games on Sunday. Counting both the 10am and 1pm games yields 6 games per Sunday. The total games available in the regular season is roughly 96.
What About NFL Sunday Ticket?
NFL Sunday Ticket is a package from DirecTV that offers all the regular season games . Whether or not it is a cord-cutter tool for 2012/2013 remains to be seen. Last year we rejoiced when NFL Sunday Ticket came to Playstation without requiring a DirecTV subscription.
The good news for 2012 is a big price reduction from over $300 to only $199. The bad news is it looks like you can only get the package with at least a basic DirecTV subscription.
For the fan worried about watching the local team, cord cutting is not too bad. You’ll only miss a few games. But for the die-hard NFL fan, you will be missing many of the games, especially Monday night and probably some key match-ups that will be on ESPN or NFLN.
Xbox Live solves some of the issues with Monday night football.