Super Bowl will be streamed live online free to cable subscribers
Only Verizon customers can live stream the game on mobile devices
Social media will provide alternate commentary, jokes
The Super Bowl has gotten so big it’s outgrown the trusty old television. Today’s fans can enjoy the bloated spectacle on computers, mobile devices, Twitter and more.
For most, crowding around a TV with salty snacks, cold beer and good friends is still the classic way to experience America’s biggest sports event. Fox has secured exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the game, with the telecast beginning officially at 6 p.m. ET Sunday, although pre-game coverage will start four hours earlier.
Fox is adding a splash of high-tech wizardry to this year’s event – being played outdoors in chilly northern New Jersey – with infrared cameras that will show the players’ body temperatures.
You can employ your own tech tools to enhance the Super Bowl viewing experience – especially if you can’t get near a TV set. Here’s a tech primer to enjoying Sunday’s festivities:
Stream the game online
Both NFL.com and SuperBowl.com will direct viewers to Fox’s live stream of the game, hosted by Fox Sports Go. The FoxSportsGo.com website and iPad app will have a free stream of coverage available to any viewers on a computer or iPad in the U.S., starting Sunday morning at 12AM Eastern Time and ending at 3AM Monday morning. Outside of that 27-hour window, only people who already pay for cable with a select group of providers (AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Optimum, Comcast Xfinity, Midcontinent Communications, Suddenlink and WOW!) can tune in using the service.
If you’re on an Android tablet, there is no app for streaming the game, but you can attempt to view it through the Fox Sports Go site in a browser.
Interestingly, if you are in MetLife Stadium, you won’t be able to view live streams of the game. Officials said they will block live streaming over Wi-Fi and cellular networks in the East Rutherford, New Jersey, stadium because it eats up too much bandwidth.
Watch it on (some) smartphones
Fox and the NFL have made some interesting distinctions between smartphones, tablets and computers. While you can stream the game through the Fox Sports Go website on a computer and tune in with the mobile app on an iPad, you can’t do the same on a smartphone.
The NFL is streaming the game through its official smartphone apps, but there are a couple of catches. To see the game live on a smartphone you have to be a Verizon customer and also pay $5 a month for the premium features. The free app is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices and will show scores and push custom alerts to people who aren’t premium subscribers.
If you try to work around the system by visiting the Fox Sports Go site from a Web browser on your smartphone, it will automatically redirect you to a landing page for the app.
Follow along on social media
If you are more interested in crackling social commentary than in Joe Buck’s play-by-play call, tune into Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for banter, smack talk and memes.
The official Super Bowl Twitter account, @SuperBowl, is already posting news, photos and weather updates. The event’s official hashtag is #SB48, but you can also follow #Broncos or #Seahawks (or #UnitedinOrange or #12thman). Check this Twitter blog post for more examples and suggestions.
Both teams have official Instagram accounts (Broncos, Seahawks), and the same hashtags will apply. You also may want to follow @NFL, @FOXsports or such outspoken players as the Broncos’ Eric Decker or the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman.
The NFL is blocking live streaming inside the stadium in part to make it easier for attendees to share photos and commentary. Let’s hope that will mean lots of real-time, insider updates from the sidelines and stands.
Listen instead of watch
If you’re in a place where you can’t watch the game – say, at work – but can wear discreet earbuds, Fox has two official options for listening. If you’re a Sirius XM Radio subscriber you can listen to a free live stream of the game. Another option is to drop $9.99 on an NFL Audio Pass, which will stream live audio to computers and tablets. It will be blocked on smartphones, however.
To listen to local sports radio stations, you can use a service such as I Heart Radio to tune in from a computer or mobile device. Or, you know, dust off a radio.
Pricey ads and puppies
For many viewers the game is just filler between splashy commercials, the halftime show (it’s Bruno Mars this year) and clever counterprogramming on other channels.
Many of the best ads are already online, where companies try to make their multimillion-dollar pitches go viral. You can see which brands are planning big ads and get updates as they air, on AdWeek, which follows Super Bowl commercials like ESPN does sports.
Twitter also is a good starting point to follow ads. And YouTube is turning the ads into a competition with its AdBliz site. YouTube will post the commercials shortly after they air and ask people to vote on their favorites.
Fans of the Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s annual celebration of canine cuteness, can tune in beginning at 3 p.m. ET Sunday to get their doggie fix. If you can’t wait that long, the channel is live streaming little pooches on its Puppy Cam ahead of the game.