Well, training camp is here and the preseason is just around the corner. It's fair to say that it's an exciting time to be a fan of the NFL. And more importantly, it's a great time to be a Chicago Bears fan. So what better time to take a look at all the ways we can track our beloved team this season, as we endeavour to find out how you will be following the monsters of the midway this year.
For those who didn't already know, I live in the UK, and American Football (as most Brits like to call it) is still very much a niche sport, especially as it has to compete with the Premier soccer league, which seems to dominate the TV. Having said that, the NFL has been covered pretty well by various channels over the years, and we are able to watch several live games each week, some of them on free-to-air channels.
Obviously, the time difference can be a bit of a problem, especially when trying to watch a night game, but the hardcore British NFL fans think nothing of staying up till five in the morning and then going to work a few hours later.
For me, as a Bears fan in the UK, I will once again be subscribing to NFL Gamepass. For just £100, I can watch every NFL preseason and regular season (unfortunately not the post season) game live on my computer in great quality. If I miss a game or it's on too late for me, I can catch up with it whenever I want as they archive all the games as well. It also offers coaches film, an NFL Network stream and condensed games, meaning I can watch every play of an entire game in about 30 minutes or so. I think it offers great value for money, but is not available to residents of the US or Mexico.
Are there any other WCG readers that have used Gamepass in the past or are looking forward to using the service this season?
There are other services that enable you to follow the Bears, such as NFL Audio Pass. Similar to Gamepass, but at a much cheaper price, this offers live and archived radio coverage of every preseason and regular season game. I have used this service in the past, and is well worth current price of $24.99 for full season coverage.
British radio broadcaster BBC 5 Live also cover some of the games, which gives us UK fans an option that doesn't cost us a penny.
So, as most of our WCG readers reside in the US, what are the main ways you will be following our boys this coming season?
Obviously, I know that prime time games are available on the big channels for free. But does it depend on where you live as to what game you receive coverage of? I know that DirecTV offer the NFL Sunday Ticket, which seems to offer a similar service to GamePass, but obviously this is delivered right to your TV through your cable connection. Do many people here use the Sunday Ticket service, and what are your thoughts on it?
I assume there are many amongst us that intend on catching a game live at Soldier Field. This remains one of my things to do before I die, and I must say how insanely jealous I am of anyone attending a game this year, but I also hope you have a great time.
What about locals living in the Chicago area? Do many people go to bars to watch the games? Do most places show the games, and what's the atmosphere like? Watching soccer and other sports in bars and pubs over here in the UK is hugely popular, and places can get very full up. Is that same in the US?
For obvious reasons, I have neglected to mention other specific ways for NFL fans to get their fix of football. I am sure the league and SB Nation would not look kindly on me pointing out the many 'illegal' ways there are to watch football. But we have to acknowledge their existence and for many people around the world, it is the only way, or more likely the preferred way, for them to follow their team.
We live in a time where coverage of the NFL is constantly expanding. I think the league does a good job in giving the fans as much access as they can, and I for one am hugely grateful for services such as GamePass.
So, let's get talking, and tell us how you intend to follow the fortunes of the Chicago Bears this season.