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For college football fans, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Starting with the New Orleans Bowl and culminating with the national championship, there will be 40 bowl games over a span of 24 days, giving you countless reasons to ignore whatever holiday obligations might be on your schedule.
The majority of this year’s bowls will be on ESPN or ESPN2, while there will be the occasional game on ABC, CBS, CBS Sports Network, Fox or Fox Sports 1 (you can find the complete bowl schedule here). Fortunately, if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, all of these channels can be watched online, on your phone or on a streaming device by signing up for a cable-free, live-TV streaming service such as DirecTV Now–the cheapest way to watch every bowl game–or Sling TV–the cheapest long-term option if you just want something basic. While these services boast different pros and cons, they also both offer a free 7-day trial, allowing you to test them out–and watch a handful of bowl games at no cost in the process.
With all of that in mind, here’s a complete rundown of what each service includes, how to sign up, and how to start watching bowl games instantly:
DirecTV Now offers four different channel packages, and most of them include everything you’ll need to watch all the postseason games this year (note that CBS and Fox are only included in select markets. You can check here to see what local channels are available in your area). Here’s a look at what each bundle includes in regards to the channels that will broadcast a bowl game:
|Live a Little||$35/mo||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Gotta Have It||$70/mo||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Moreover, if you want to keep this beyond the free trial but the price point seems too steep, there are two potential deals when signing up that could make it worth your while: You can either get $25 off your first month when you enter promo code “BDAY2017”, or you can get a free Roku Streaming Stick when you prepay for one month. Here’s everything else you need to know about DTV Now:
Total Channels Included: Live a Little: 60-plus, depending on local channels available | Just Right: 80-plus | Go Big: 100-plus | Gotta Have It: 120-plus | You can find the complete channel list right here.
Extras: Watch on two different devices at the same time; DVR is in Beta stage; free Roku Premiere Streaming Media Player if you prepay one month.
How to Sign Up: Head to the DirecTV Now website and select “Start your free trial now.” After creating an account, select your channel package and then add the free Roku if you want to prepay a month (this deal can’t be combined with the $25 off “BDAY2017” promotion). You’ll need to enter your payment information, but if you cancel your subscription within seven days of signing up, you won’t be charged.
How to Watch: If you want to watch on your computer, simply return to the DirecTV Now website and navigate to the channel you want to start watching on your browser. If you want to watch on your phone, tablet or other device, you can do so via the DirecTV Now app, which is free to download for the following devices: Amazon Fire TV or TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android phones and tablets 4.4 and higher, and iPads and iPhones with iOS 9 and higher. You can read here for more information on compatible devices.
Note for ABC Games: ABC games can’t actually be watched on the DirecTV Now platform, but you can use your DirecTV Now credentials to sign in to WatchESPN–either desktop or their app–and watch the games via ESPN3.
The first to dive in to the cable-free, live-TV streaming service, Sling TV remains the lowest price point if you’re planning on keeping a service for the long term. As such, if you just want the cheapest way to watch ESPN and ESPN2 for the next several months, this is going to be your best option. But if you simply want to watch every bowl game, DirecTV Now offers the cheaper route to do that. Here’s a look at Sling’s bundles include in regards to the bowl game channels (Note that Fox is only available in select markets. You can check here to see what local channels are available in your area):
Total Channels Included: Sling Orange: 25-plus | Sling Blue: 45-plus | Sling Orange + Blue: Everything from both Sling Orange and Sling Blue | You can find the complete channel list right here
Price: Sling Orange: $20 per month | Sling Blue: $25 per month | Sling Orange + Blue: $40 per month
Extras: Watch on one device at once with Sling Orange, or three devices at once with Sling Blue; 50 hours of cloud DVR is $5 per month extra (restrictions with certain channels)
How to Sign Up: Head to the Sling TV website and select “Watch Now 7 Days Free.” After creating an account, select your channel package and any extras if you want. You’ll need to enter your payment information, but if you cancel your subscription within seven days of signing up, you will not be charged
How to Watch: If you want to watch on your computer, just return to the Sling TV website and start watching on your browser. If you want to watch on your phone, tablet or other streaming device, you can do so via the Sling TV app, which is free to download for the following devices: Amazon Fire TV or TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android phones and tablets, iPads and iPhones, Fire tablets, and Xbox One. You can read here for more information on compatible devices.
Note for ABC Games: ABC games can’t actually be watched on the Sling TV platform, but you can use your Sling TV credentials to sign in to WatchESPN–either desktop or their app–and watch the games via ESPN3.