The Super Bowl is by far the biggest event in American sports. More than 100 million people tune in to watch the big game live on TV in the US alone, many millions more also do so from elsewhere in the world.
The country gets Super Bowl fever in the weeks leading up to the game, with companies running “big game” promotions, news outlets reporting on the preparations, and fans following closely so they can make informed bets on the game.
Even non-football fans get involved. The Super Bowl halftime show is a big draw, seeing major names from the music industry performing their greatest hits. In the past, artists like Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Nelly, and Shania Twain have all performed. In 2021, Super Bowl LV’s halftime show will be headlined by the Canadian R&B artist The Weeknd.
Here in the UK, things are a little more sedate. You won’t find big Super Bowl promotions in your local Tesco store or see the evening news lead with the game as their main story. But that doesn’t mean NFL fans have to go without. There are several options available for American football fans to follow the action live.
If you watched the Rams and the Patriots go head to head in Super Bowl LIII or the Chiefs beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, then you’ll find the coverage options in the UK are mostly the same this time around. Take a look.
The BBC continues to provide free coverage of the NFL and the Super Bowl. The Beeb will broadcast highlights and live-action from playoff games in the run-up to the big game. Each Saturday, BBC One will broadcast the NFL Show, providing coverage and expert analysis of each game.
The Super Bowl itself will also be shown live on BBC One, with radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds app. If you’re unable to follow either of these, perhaps due to work, you can access live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app which will be updated in the build-up, throughout, and after the game.
The Super Bowl coverage will begin at 11 PM on BBC Two, before moving to BBC One for the game itself at 11:30 PM. If you don’t want to stay up until 3 AM on Monday morning, then you can watch the game on BBC iPlayer instead.
If you want even more in-depth coverage, then Sky Sports is likely the way to go. In August 2020, Sky Sports launched its own dedicated NFL channel after signing a new five-year broadcasting deal with the league. The company has been covering the Super Bowl for 25 years and from this season has been airing at least five live games each week, as well as creating a range of analysis programmes.
If you’re not already a Sky Sports subscriber, you’ll need to create an account. The lowest you’ll pay is around £25 per month, and you’ll likely be tied into a contract for either 12 or 24 months. Alternatively, you can get a NowTV Sky Sports Pass for either £9.99 for a single day or £33.99 for a month, which doesn’t tie you into a long-term contract.
Exact details of Sky Sports’ coverage plans have not yet been revealed, but it’s safe to assume it’ll be similar to previous years. The company has provided more than an hour of build-up and has more pundits than the BBC.
NFL Game Pass
You could also cut out the middleman and go straight to the source. The NFL’s own streaming service, which is known as NFL Gamepass, offers live coverage of all playoff games, as well as on-demand highlights of other games and the NFL’s own programming. You’ll also be able to watch the Super Bowl live.
There are two packages available for this year: “Pro” for £29.99, which gives you access to its content until 31st July, or “Playoffs + Super Bowl”, which grants you 50-day access to live games and highlights, including the big game.
So, no matter which team you’ll be cheering on this year, NFL fans have an abundance of options when it comes to watching the Super Bowl, including quality coverage that’s free from the BBC and more in-depth analysis from Sky.