The Hidden Risk of Streaming Your Favorite NFL Team for Free on Reddit

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Denver Broncos fans watch a football inside a bar in Denver, Colorado.
Denver Broncos fans watch their team play the Seahawks during the first half of the Super Bowl, inside Jackson's, a sports bar and grill in Denver on Feb. 2, 2014. Brennan Linsley, File/AP Photo

It’s that magical time of year once again.

In just a few days, the NFL season kicks off, and hope is in the air — unless you’re a Jets or Browns fan. There’s hope for your favorite team and possibly even your fantasy team.

If you’re an NFL fan like I am, you can’t wait for Sunday afternoons filled with football, time with friends and possibly a good brew or two. That’s part of the beauty of Sundays during NFL season: It’s the one day when you can totally thrust yourself fully into the passion of the sport. OK, there are Monday and Thursday night games, but they’re like bonus time. The true feast is still on Sundays.

But the beauty of NFL games on Sundays can quickly turn to frustration.

For instance, I’m a Dolphins fan living in Tampa Bay. I get to see most Dolphins game on network TV, but if the ‘Fin’s game happens to clash with the Buccaneers, I’m out of luck. That may mean heading to your favorite sports bar to spend far too much money on food and drinks while cheering on your team.

Or it could mean sifting through the shady backwoods of the internet to find a free streaming source to get your NFL fix.

Many fans have turned to Reddit for just this purpose, but is it your best bet?

Can You Actually Watch Games Through Reddit NFL Streams?

Yep.

All it takes is one person getting the livestream of the game and hooking up with Reddit to allow numerous other users to piggyback on that feed. There’s even a subReddit dedicated to NFL streaming. If you simply Google “NFL streaming,” you’ll find an abundance of websites boasting how they offer the best streaming for free. Proceed at your own risk.

Is that legal? Nope. But, like sharing your Netflix password, people do it anyway. The difference is that while Netflix and HBO may see it as free advertising to get viewers hooked, the NFL and other sports networks see it as stealing their product.

So why should you care? Let’s face it: We live in a country with some pretty cool sports. However, these sports do rely heavily on broadcast income to create the product they deliver.

We’re talking about the league that in 2007, brought down the thunder against a Baptist church in Indianapolis for holding a Super Bowl party and charging admission to recoup its food costs. More recently, it’s banned teams within the league from taking video of games and posting it on their own social media channels. Why? They want all video shot in stadiums to go through official team websites so it remains under NFL control.

In other words, if illegal streaming continues, it is very likely that the NFL will crack down, making things more expensive and more difficult for everyone. I can hear your mother screaming right now, “This is why we can’t have nice things!”

Stream Your Favorite Team Legally and on the Cheap

The NFL does offer high-quality streaming during the regular season, but only through DirectTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. The standard package starts at $69.99 per month, which would cost $279.96 for the entire four-month season.

Here’s the catch: You also have to qualify to get access to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket online streaming service. Basically, if you live overseas, somewhere without DirectTV availability, in certain areas of large cities, or in an apartment complex or other rental that does not allow satellite dishes, you qualify.

If you are a college student, you’re in luck. DirectTV has a special student deal for just $24.99 per month. That’s $99.96 for the four-month season. Even if you only watch your favorite team’s 16 games, that’s just $6.25 per game, which is a lot cheaper than going down to the local sports bar every week.

If you aren’t in college and $69.99 per month for four months seems a bit steep, consider going in with a friend or two and hosting NFL Sundays at your house each week. They provide the food and drink or even pitch in a little financially.

Still not convinced? Ask yourself how much you really love your team. Maybe it’s worth a little side hustle or learning how to use one or more of these awesome money-earning apps to offset the price of streaming. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to come up with an extra $70 per month.

Whether you’re a cheesehead or a member of the Dawg Pound, you owe it to yourself to watch your favorite team each week in that oversized jersey and those fuzzy logo socks.

Football season comes but once a year, and it’s time embrace it with open arms and guarded wallets.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He’s a Dolphins fan who actually believes in Cutler… sort of. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.