We’re still more than four months away from the start of the 2021 NFL season, but the league is already getting its streaming ducks in a row.
On Tuesday, the NFL announced a multi-year deal with Hulu that will bring both NFL Network and NFL RedZone to the live streaming service.
However, don’t expect to watch NFL Network’s draft coverage on Hulu: the network won’t be added until, at the latest, August 1st, per the release.
NFL Network and RedZone have not been widely available on streaming platforms, but they have both increased in carriage in recent years. In addition to the newly announced Hulu agreement, NFLN and RedZone are available on Dish (after a summer off), YouTube TV, and fuboTV, though AT&T TV is still a holdout following a bitter carriage dispute two years ago.
However, with Thursday Night Football’s full shift to Amazon starting with the 2023 season, NFL Network isn’t as essential a part of a fan’s portfolio as it has been in recent years. Sure, the network will still have exclusive games, so fans will need it somehow in order to watch every game, but if we’re talking mid-single digit exclusive games, it’s not the must have of all must haves.
With all that being said, it’s refreshing to see a streaming service actually add sports networks in 2021 instead of cutting them. However, don’t be surprised if your Hulu bill increases by another $5 or whatever this summer. That’s typically the next natural step in these situations.