This Sunday, February 7, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers head to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California for the fiftieth Super Bowl game. While you’re busy making your party plans Sunday, we’ve made you a handy guide of how to watch the game — on TV, on the Internet, and via smartphones and tablets — so you can focus on that seven-layer dip instead.
Each year, one of the three big networks — ABC, NBC, and CBS — get their turn at broadcasting the big game, and 2016 happens to be CBS’ turn. CBS has expanded their streaming rights to allow for the game to be watched on television, online in web browsers, and on certain streaming and mobile devices. There are also options for those hoping to catch the game on their smartphones. We’ve covered each of these methods in this guide, so you can catch the entire game on your preferred device.
First and foremost, catching the game on television will likely yield you the best results in terms of quality, stability, and unhindered access to those oh-so-important commercials. For those of you with a cable or satellite television subscription, simply find your local CBS channel and tune in at 6:30 EST or 3:30 p.m. PST.
If you’ve cut cable, instead opting to catch television signals for free over your indoor antenna, check the local listings for your area here.
If watching in your browser is your goal, then head to CBSSports.com for a free stream of the game provided directly from CBS. You can stream the game this way on any device able to access the page, with the exception of smartphones. Watching online this way is the recommended method by CBS for those who are not watching on TV, however the picture quality of the stream will be dependent on your connection, and the stream can be prone to stability issues like stuttering or lag if your Internet connection is spotty. You also will likely miss out on some of the commercials. As with streaming on the CBS Sports App, watching the game in your web browser is free.
For those looking for a Spanish language stream, ESPN Deportes’ broadcast will be available at WatchESPN.
Tablets and Set-top Boxes
CBS offers the free CBS Sports App for streaming the game on a myriad of different devices including Xbox One, Fire TV and Fire TV stick, Apple TV, Roku and Roku Stick, Chromecast, iPad, Android tablets, and Windows 10. You don’t need a cable or satellite subscription in order to watch; just download the app from the applicable app store for your device, install, and begin watching.
Much like with the Web Browser stream, ESPN Deportes’ Spanish language stream of the game is available through the WatchESPN app.
So, virtually every device has free access to streaming the Super Bowl on Sunday thanks to CBS’ streaming rights. However, if you’re looking to catch the game on your smartphone, there is one major caveat. Due to Verizon’s exclusivity deal with the NFL, smartphone streaming is limited to phones on Verizon’s network. That means that none of the above methods will work on your smartphone; instead, you will need to download Verizon’s NFL App, which is available only to Verizon customers. Still, if you do happen to be on Verizon’s network, you’ve got yet another method for free streaming on Sunday.
Since CBS and Verizon will be streaming the Super Bowl for free through the various methods above, it shouldn’t be hard to follow along with the Broncos and Panthers this Sunday. However, if for whatever reason the apps and streams are unavailable to you, there are other methods of watching. While we do not condone piracy and won’t be detailing any such methods or locations to find such streams, a simple Google search or browse through Reddit will likely yield the results you’re looking for. A word of warning: you will almost certainly be bombarded by ads and pop ups asking you to install “required” plugins or drivers. Do not install these. Any browser already capable of watching a YouTube video or Twitch stream can watch one of these streams. Still, considering the unfettered access to Super Bowl 50 CBS and Verizon are offering, it simply isn’t worth the potential risk to your hardware, and we advise caution.