Every first Sunday in February, a sizable chunk of the world stops and turns their collective eyeballs towards the nearest television in order to see who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl. It’s a global event now, and even those in countries with little-to-no understanding of the game we Americans have determined is a better heir to the title of “football,” tune in for the pageantry and spectacle, not to mention the possibility of the odd wardrobe malfunction.
The Super Bowl doesn’t quite reach the heights of an event like the Olympics, which tends to get around one billion viewers or more – or roughly one-seventh the planet – but year over year the numbers are incredible. Last year over 111.3 million people tuned in, making it the sixth most watched Super Bowl in history, and the most watched in 26 years. Roughly 70 percent of all TVs in use in America were watching the Giants beat the Patriots.
But not everyone will have the chance to watch the game on a TV. Maybe you are a cord-cutter with a bad air signal, or maybe you are in a location without a TV. Maybe you won’t be in the US during the game, or perhaps you lost the coin toss in your house and your family elected to watch the far less competitive, but infinitely cuter Puppy Bowl (see image on the right and you’ll understand). Whatever the reason, for those looking to watch Super Bowl XLVII online, here are some places to check it out.
This is an easy one. CBS, the host of the Super Bowl on TV, will be airing the game live and free on its website. You can even head there any time leading up to the game and check out a massive amount of video content, including interviews and analysis. This feed should also include all the national ads that you either love or hate, as well as the halftime show with Beyonce, who totally won’t lip synch this performance (probably). It will also offer multiple camera angles and plenty of extras like stat tracking. You really can’t go wrong with this one, it will be the same experience (if not better) that you find on TV… with one, very important exception.
Those that have tried to use this feed in previous years, or really any online feed, can attest that more people watching means a good likelihood of video freezing from time to time, or at least suffering image degradation. NBC faced this problem repeatedly with the Olympics, as people flooded the servers. There is a very good chance – even a high probability – that this feed will face issues. If that’s the case, and assuming you must watch every single down, there are other sites to fall back on. This should be your first stop though.
An international site that offers a bit of everything, including American football. The Super Bowl will feature prominently, and it will offer multiple links if one goes down. A good site for anyone, but this is especially solid for people outside of the US looking at ways to keep up on the game. You will have to deal will numerous popups, and it won’t be as slick as CBS’ presentation, but it will offer an online way to watch the CBS TV broadcast at no cost. If you get bored you can also flip through the huge number of feeds and check out something else.
Like First Row Sports, this is an international site. It has a huge list of international sporting events, but it will feature multiple Super Bowl streams broadcast from around the world. It’s a good site for people that continue to run into limitations caused by too many people watching the same feed. The interface is almost identical to that of First Row Sports, so again, you will have to watch out for many, many popups, but unless you download something (pro tip: don’t), it’s just a minor hassle and not a risk to your computer.
UStream is a platform that hosts the content that its users put up, so whether or not the Super Bowl is broadcast here will come down to if someone decides to host it. Odds are someone will. Odds are several somebodies will. The quality will also be hit or miss, but it is a good option in a pinch. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the annoying popups, and the user interface is simple and easy to use.
Sites to watch leading up to the Super Bowl
The official site of the NFL actually links to the CBS feed for the game itself, but leading up to it, the video section is absolutely crammed full of commentary, video clips, and live shows. If you are looking for analysis, then this may be the one and only site you need to hit.
During the Super Bowl, ESPN tends to give up. The networks airs something that is a polar opposite to the Super Bowl brutality of football. In the past it has been things like poker, figure skating, and gymnastics. ESPN is a sports site denied the right to broadcast the biggest annual sporting event in the world. Odds are 99 percent of the people working at ESPN will be tuned in to their competitor on Sunday, but leading up to that, there aren’t many sites that can offer nearly as much pre-game info. Both online and through the Xbox app, ESPN has more video clips and analysis than anyone.
If none of these sites work for you, check out our original list about where to stream NFL games, and if pro football isn’t your thing but you are interested in checking out sports online, hit up our guide about where to watch NCAA games (and more) online.