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Out-of-Market San Francisco 49ers Games: How to Watch Them in 2023

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San Francisco 49ers fans have had quite a bit to cheer about in recent years, but they do not get to see their favorite team on TV nearly as much as they used to. That is because the networks only air one or two national games each week, and they reserve most of that valuable airtime for a handful of top stars and teams.

In a hurry? NFL Sunday Ticket is the best option for US football fans to watch the NFL out-of-market games. Fans in other locations have a couple of options:

  • ExpressVPN: Get the games you deserve while securing your privacy. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • NFL Sunday Ticket: Available only through a satellite plan (mostly), but it is the easiest way to watch the whole NFL regular season.
  • FuboTV: Although it won’t provide you with all out-of-market NFL games, it does give you 120+ channels including all those that you need to enjoy the season live. FuboTV allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.
  • DIRECTV STREAM: A great cable-replacement service with all of the NFL with the Choice plan. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
  • Sling TV: If you are looking for a low-cost way to live stream most games, this service is a great choice. Save with Sling TV!

If you’d rather talk to someone about NFL Sunday Ticket, a support person at DIRECTV Satellite can walk you through the process. Just call 877-432-7840.

  • DAZN Canada is streaming every NFL game live, which means preseason, regular games, playoff games, and of course the Super Bowl.
  • ExpressVPN: Get the games you deserve while securing your privacy. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • NFL Game Pass: Watch any game live for NFL fans outside the US.

The 49ers were one of those teams when Joe Montana was throwing the ball to Jerry Rice, and they could be one of those teams again if Trey Lance and Deebo Samuel become the driving force for a new dynasty. Until that day arrives, 49ers fans will have to dig a little deeper than the major TV networks if they want to see all of the action every Sunday.

Out-of-Market Games

To understand why 49ers games are not on TV as much as they used to be, you first have to know how networks operate. There is a flagship station that broadcasts nationwide, and then there are affiliate stations around the country that air the national broadcast mixed with local news, sports and current events. Broadcasting agreements require these affiliate stations to air local NFL games, so the Fox affiliate in San Francisco shows all 49ers contests live.

If you live in a different part of the country and want to watch some NFL football, you will find games on CBS if the local team plays in the AFC and on Fox if the local team plays in the NFC. Both of these networks will also air at least one premium contest that is usually billed as a game of the week. These are the contests that network executives think will draw the biggest audiences, which means they either involve top teams or are attracting a lot of media attention for some reason. The networks call these contests out-of-market games, and the 49ers appear in them often because they reach the playoffs consistently and play in a division filled with stars.

Out-of-Market San Francisco 49ers Games Options

This means that out-of-town 49ers fans get a lot of chances to watch their favorite team play, but they cannot rely on network TV if they want to see every game. Baseball, basketball and hockey fans have no problem seeing out-of-market action thanks to services like MLBTV, NBA League Pass and NHL Center Ice, but the NFL is yet to emerge from the cable box and satellite dish era. If you want to watch the 49ers but don’t live in San Francisco, here are some of the options you have:

  • NFL Sunday Ticket: Installing a satellite dish, signing up for DIRECTV and then buying the NFL Sunday Ticket package is the only way to watch every NFL game from anywhere in the United States legally. This is not an inexpensive solution as a Sunday Ticket subscription coats almost $300 alone, but its probably your only choice if you want to watch every 49ers game live and you don’t want to move to the Bay Area. (NFL Sunday Ticket review)
  • DIRECTV STREAM: DIRECTV’s streaming service offers NFL Sunday Ticket, but only to fans who live in buildings that do not allow satellite dishes or in areas where satellite service is unreliable.
  • NFL+ Premium: The NFL’s streaming service allows fans to watch games on laptops, tablets and phones as long as they are being broadcast by their local networks. Fans looking for out-of-market action have to make do with highlights and live SiriusXM audio, but the service only costs $9.99 per month and a 7-day free trial is available. (NFL+ review)
  • NFL RedZone: If you want nothing but action, you will love NFL RedZone because it shows every touchdown and there are no ads. The channel also shows replays of every change of possession and all major incidents. Most cable TV providers and streaming services offer NFL RedZone but don’t expect to see the 49ers unless they score or get a turnover. (NFL RedZone Out-of-Market)
  • SiriusXM: Listening to live NFL games is a lot easier than watching live NFL games. You will be able to find audio feeds of San Francisco 49ers games on SiriusXM and NFL+ Premium.
  • NFL Game Pass International: This is a service that allows football fans outside the United States to watch NFL games live.
  • VPN: A virtual private network won’t provide you with content like a streaming service or TV network, but it could help you to watch broadcasts that are available online in certain regions only. (VPNs for Out-of-Market Viewing)
  • Friends and sports bars: If you have a friend with a DIRECTV subscription, ask them about splitting the cost of a Sunday Ticket package if you want to watch the 49ers each week. If that is not an option, there is probably a sports bars in your area where fans like to gather each Sunday.

NFL RedZone

During a typical NFL broadcast that lasts for roughly three hours, the ball is actually in play for only about nine minutes. If you would rather watch touchdowns than beer commercials, NFL RedZone has you covered with nonstop highlights and no commercials. You can order NFL RedZone from most satellite and cable TV providers, and the channel is also offered by the following streaming services:

  • FuboTV: FuboTV also costs $74.99/mo, and its sports add-on costs even more than Hulu’s. However, it does include another 27 sports channels. (FuboTV review)
  • Hulu + Live TV: Hulu’s service is pretty pricey at $69.99/mo, and you will have to come up with another $9.99 for the sports add-on that includes NFL RedZone. (Hulu + Live TV review)
  • Sling TV: The Sling TV sports package costs $11 per month and comes with 11 channels inlcuding NFL RedZone. (Sling TV review)
  • Vidgo: You will have to select the Premium Package for $79.95/mo if you want to watch NFL RedZone on Vidgo. (Vidgo review)
  • YouTubeTV: If you subscribe to YouTubeTV, you can order a Sports Plus package for $10.99 per month that includes beIN SPORTS, Fox Soccer Plus and FanDuel TV as well as NFL RedZone.

VPNs

When you use a VPN, any website you visit will see the VPN’s IP address and not yours. This means that you and the VPN are in the same place as far as the website is concerned. This can be very useful for 49ers fans who want to watch games on NFL+ Premium or NFL Game Pass International that are only available to audiences in certain markets. Just make sure that the VPN you pick has servers in these markets.

Learn how to stream out-of-market games with the VPN guide.

Unblock Your Favorite Events & Teams With a VPN

If you can’t watch your favorite events or teams because of your location, a VPN will allow you to get the access you are entitled to, plus extra security and unequalled privacy. Check out our VPN Guide for everything you need to know, including our top pick ExpressVPN.

Get ExpressVPN Today

Devices to Live Stream Out-of-Market San Francisco 49ers Games

If you want to watch NFL games included in the Sunday Ticket package, you will need a TV set hooked up to a DirecTV satellite dish. If you want to watch pro football action on a streaming service like NFL+ Premium or Hulu + Live TV, you will be able to use just about any desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. These services want to cater to everybody, so you should be fine no matter which operating system you use.

Wrapping Up

It seems odd that one of the world’s most popular sports leagues expects fans to subscribe to a satellite service and shell out hundreds of dollars each day just to watch out-of-market games, but that is how the chips have fallen. If you don’t have DIRECTV and don’t live in San Francisco, you will have to settle for highlights and the odd network game of the week. You could also use a VPN to get around region restrictions.

FAQs

Are VPNs legal?

VPNs are legal as long as you don’t use them to do anything illegal, and you probably won’t have to worry about a knock at the door if all you are doing is watching football.

Can I get Sunday Ticket if I can’t sign up for DIRECTV?

If you live in a part of the country where DIRECTV service is unreliable or unavailable or you move into a building or community that has banned satellite dishes, you can still enjoy NFL games by signing up for DIRECTV STREAM. You will still have to pay for the NFL Sunday Ticket package, but you won’t have to install a dish.

Can I choose which highlights I see on NFL RedZone?

No, you cannot. NFL RedZone switches to games whenever possession changes or a team crosses the 20-yard line. So there is no ways for fans to pick and choose the action they see. You can be sure however, that you won’t miss any touchdowns.

How do I watch other out-of-market games apart from the 49ers?

Below is a detailed guide on how you can watch out-of-market games for every NFL team.

AFC East AFC North AFC South AFC West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Houston Texans Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Los Angeles Chargers
New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers Tennessee Titans Las Vegas Raiders
NFC East NFC North NFC South NFC West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants Detroit Lions Carolina Panthers Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers
Washington Commanders Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers Seattle Seahawks

More Info on NFL Without Cable

If you still have questions, these resources should help:

Sharon Amondi
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