While the television landscape has changed immeasurably over the past decade, the Super Bowl remains the undisputed champion of the programming calendar.
Roughly 40 million total people tune in for the NFL’s final game every year when all the ways it can be viewed these days are combined. If you compare that to the average audience numbers for the most recent Academy Awards (roughly 16 million in 2022), the College Football Playoff National Championship (23 million in 2020-2021) and NBA Finals (12 million in 2022), it’s clear the Super Bowl is still the television event most people get excited about every year.
And while TV content has become increasingly segmented, with major shows and events being locked behind subscription-based services like cable, satellite and premium streaming, the Super Bowl can still be watched without you needing to pay an extra dime. In fact, that is likely one of the key reasons for its continued dominance in the ratings.
If you have cable or satellite, you can obviously watch pro football’s signature game on your Fox station, but if you want to know how to watch the Super Bowl for free, keep reading for a few pro tips.
Use An OTA Antenna
At The Free TV Project, we love over-the-air antennas, and why wouldn’t we? They are still the most reliable and accessible way to watch the biggest events in TV without paying any subscription fees. If you don’t know by now, an OTA antenna gives you access to all the broadcast signals being carried through the air in your area, including your local ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS stations, just to name a few.
The 2023 Super Bowl is being broadcast on Fox on Feb. 12, which means you’ll be able to watch it for free in all its 4K glory virtually anywhere in the U.S. After you’ve picked out the right antenna and set it up, simply scan for channels using your TV’s setup menu and tune to your local Fox station. You can use the FCC’s handy online digital TV map to see what channel number Fox broadcasts on in your market (as well as the other channels you can expect to get with an antenna).
Set Up A Streaming Trial
If you don’t want to shell out the one-time cost of an OTA antenna — or you just prefer streaming your live TV in general — and are wondering how to watch the Super Bowl for free, there’s a workaround that will let you enjoy the big game over the web legally and at no cost.
The 2022 Super Bowl was aired over NBC channels and could be accessed on its Peacock service for a $4.99 premium subscription price. Now that Fox Network has the game in 2023, you can stream the Super Bowl for free by signing up for a free trial for some of the myriad live TV streaming services that offer Fox.
For instance, FuboTV offers a seven-day trial period and includes Fox among its streaming lineup, while DirecTV Stream offers a five-day free trial for new users. YouTube TV also offers a free trial to new users, but it varies in length depending on the subscription they try out.
To watch the Super Bowl for free using one of these streaming services, be sure to sign up and time the window so you can watch the game on Feb. 12 and cancel your subscription before you get billed. Otherwise, you might end up paying up to $60 just to stream a football game that you could watch free with an antenna!
Find A Sports Bar Or Restaurant That’s Showing It
Bars and restaurants that are filled with huge TVs and projection screens are some of the best places to watch major sporting events because of the lively atmosphere and endless supply of food and drinks. While these places often charge at the door for entry during pay-per-view sporting events like fights or pro wrestling events, the Super Bowl is often one that’s free to watch, provided you get there early enough to find a table.
In this case, watching the game will technically be free, but you’re almost certain to spend some money on drinks, wings and other tasty goodness while you enjoy what will certainly be a four-hour broadcast.
Go To A Super Bowl Party
The most fun way to watch the Super Bowl for free might be finding a friend who is hosting a party and joining it. All it might cost you is a case of beer, a bag of chips or a tray of cookies from the supermarket bakery! Super Bowl parties are still a common way for friends to enjoy the game and spend some time together in the middle of the winter doldrums. Put out some feelers on social media and see if any of your pals are having people over for the game this year.
No matter how you decide to watch the Super Bowl, have fun taking in one of the last truly must-see live TV events left on the calendar every year!