The new NFL season kicked off on Thursday, marking the football league’s first season with newly released streaming service NFL+. But consumers as of late are encountering technical difficulties trying to watch games via the app.
Numerous NFL+ users tweeted about being unable to watch live matches on their mobile devices. Instead, users said they were only getting the option for audio of the games.
NFL+, which debuted in July, touts access to audio of out-of-market games, with live local and primetime regular season and postseason matches available on phones and tablets. The base subscription costs $4.99 per month, while NFL+ Premium costs $9.99 per month and includes full game replays.
Some users have been encountering technical glitches since the app’s release, as this Twitter thread shows. And some users couldn’t log into NFL+ at all. A Reddit user recently had issues fast-forwarding games on NFL+ Premium.
NFL viewers also ran into issues this weekend when trying to watch the Sunday Ticket via DirecTV. Multiple Twitter users reported DirecTV gave them an error message saying they are “in or near a stadium,” meaning they were unable to stream the game on their devices.
DirecTV’s rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket are set to expire next year, with the program headed to a streaming service. Apple, Amazon and Disney are the top contenders for the distribution rights – which the NFL reportedly wants to sell for over $2.5 billion annually.
Amazon, which last year obtained the rights to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, is set to stream the first game of the regular season on September 15.
Consumer issues with accessing the NFL games are also indicative of a fragmented sports streaming landscape. Eric Sorensen, a senior contributing analyst with Parks Associates, noted in July how current NFL programming is spread out across various services and channels like Amazon, NBCUniversal, ESPN and more.
“The newly minted NFL+ app opens the possibility that all games could be streamed direct-to-consumer in the future, but the long-term nature of rights deals means an aggregated fan experience is unlikely in the near term,” Sorensen wrote.
With fragmentation comes a lower quality user experience, media analyst Dan Rayburn told Fierce Video last week, as sports leagues focus on expanding their audiences.
Some cord-cutters have actually switched from streaming to linear for sports, according to a TiVo report from earlier this year. Around 29% of respondents said they did so because they think traditional pay TV is the best way to watch live sports as well as events like the Super Bowl.