Super Bowl LI, pitting the New England Patriots against the Atlanta Falcons, is coming up Sunday, Feb. 5, and in anticipation of the massive audience there are options for both pay-TV subscribers and cord cutters to stream the game live.
According to Sports Video Group, CBS saw 3.96 million unique viewers livestream last year’s Super Bowl, and Fox is expecting that number to grow this year.
The number of viewers could stand to increase dramatically for Fox because the broadcaster is electing to use an non-authenticated stream for the Super Bowl, which means that anyone can watch the big game via the Fox Sports Go app.
The Fox Sports Go app works with both Android and iOS devices, as well as on connected devices like Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire and Xbox One. The stream is also available online at FoxSportsGo.com.
Viewers looking for something a little more immersive have the option of downloading the Fox Sports VR app and watching the game from a virtual suite. The app, which works in 360-degree mode or with a VR headset like Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard, will also offer views from down on the field. For the VR experience, viewers will need a pay-TV account to authenticate the stream.
Viewers going with the livestream will also get access to Field Pass, which will offer up less-produced footage of the field leading up to the game.
Even though Fox made the Super Bowl stream free for everyone, like CBS did last year, the broadcaster will still be under the gun to provide a high-quality experience for viewers who tune in online.
“The quality of the livestream becomes even more scrutinized when it’s delivered exclusively, such as Fox’s stream of the big game. When cord-cutters and other OTT-only viewers don’t have another option for watching the game, they expect a broadcast-quality experience, and that demands that the provider have the information required to detect and address issues as fast as possible, before the stream failure becomes tomorrow’s big news story,” said Kurt Michel, IneoQuest’s senior director of marketing, in a statement.
One thing that may make the Super Bowl livestream seem a little more relevant this year for viewers across the country will be Fox dynamically inserting local ads.
Fox Sports has teamed with 170 local Fox affiliates to sell ad inventory for the livestream. The ads will be dynamically inserted into the livestream based on the location of viewers.
“Our pioneering collaboration with our affiliates to allow streaming local ad insertions will make commercials even more relevant for viewers and help make this year’s game even more of a personal experience for every fan,” said Fox Sports President Eric Shanks in a statement.