After Reddit banned its popular NFLStreams page, which offered free links to streaming video of football games, fans have been finding some alternatives ways to watch NFL matchups streaming live on the internet.
As Yahoo News reported earlier this week, the NFLStreams subreddit had been a "go-to destination" for football fans to find live coverage of games, especially those not being shown in their local markets. But the site moved to ban the subreddit, saying it violated its Copyright Repeat Infringement Policy, as a vast majority of the links were not hosted legally for viewers within the United States. The website had also banned the equivalent page that offered options for NBA contests as part of a wider crackdown against illegal content being hosted on the link-sharing site.
The subreddit's ban got a new round of attention as the 2020 NFL season kicks off, with many viewers taking to social media to ask where NFLStreams had gone and sought other ways to watch. Many were disappointed that the consolidated list of links to football contests was now gone.
"Reddit banned the NFL Streams Sub Reddit. That's crazy," one person tweeted. "Was easily the best way to watch the NFL for free."The league has already taken measures to combat illegal streams of contests. As Fox Business reported, the NFL sent multiple notices to Google earlier in the year to remove VPN-related URLs intended to bypass geographical restrictions and allow viewers to see live streaming coverage not otherwise available to them.
As the report added, there is a lot at stake for the NFL and plenty to lose through the prevalence of illegal streaming videos.
"The NFL does not disclose the total value of its contracts with TV networks for the rights to broadcast in-season games, but Forbes reported that Fox, CBS and NBC will pay roughly $3 billion each year to broadcast, with a total of $27 billion from 2013 to 2022," the Fox report noted, adding that the league also made an estimated $400 million in advertising revenue from the Super Bowl in 2018.
While there have been a number of other alternatives to the now-defunct NFLStreams that offered streams that also did not appear to be legal, it seems that the league and individual teams are working to provide more free alternatives this year for fans unable to tune in on television. The Buffalo Bills are offering streaming video of the season opener against the New York Jets on the team's mobile app, for example.