The death of Reddit's NFLStreams is still hitting fans hard, but the NFL itself seems to be countering the crackdown of illegal streams of games with more legal -- and free -- options for fans.
In Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season, many fans used to turning to the subreddit that listed a series of streaming links were surprised to find it was shut down, and the subreddit's name became a trending topic on Twitter as they asked where it had gone. As the Sporting News reported, the link-sharing site shut down the NFLStreams subreddit with a notice that it was banned for "violations of Reddit's Copyright Repeat Infringement Policy." The league has undertaken efforts to crack down on illegal streams, though Reddit did not say in its statement whether there was any pressure from the NFL.
As The Inquisitr reported last week, many viewers learning about the removal of the NFLStreams site for the first time were left searching for alternatives. But as the NFL has led efforts to take down streaming sites not sanctioned by the league or which aren't legal in many countries, it has also expanded its own services.
Earlier in the year, the NFL announced a multi-year extension to stream Thursday Night Football and add another viewing option on Twitch, a site better known among gamers.
"Additionally, the NFL and Amazon announced an agreement to exclusively stream one regular season game globally on Prime Video and Twitch, which will be played on a Saturday in the second half of the 2020 NFL regular season," the announcement at the NFL site read. "In keeping with the NFL's long-standing commitment to make contests available on free, over-the-air television, the game will also be televised in the participating teams' home markets."
The league has also offered some different options for watching games online. As Variety reported, the league-sanctioned Yahoo Sports app introduced a new "Watch Together" function that allows viewers to invite up to three people to watch live local and primetime contests on their mobile phones using a synchronized livestream. The new feature helped those used to watching with friends but are now unable to do so during the coronavirus pandemic.
As the Variety report noted, the league already took a major step forward in expanding online offerings by signing a five-year, $2 billion deal with Verizon back in 2017 for the streaming rights to a number of games. While the options may be more limited than the days of NFLStreams, it allows viewers to watch in-market and national contests on mobile devices throughout the regular season and playoffs, including the Super Bowl.