The 2016 NFL Draft takes place from Thursday, April 28 – Saturday, April 30 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. The event will air live in its entirety on two channels — ESPN and NFL Network, with plenty of legal ways to watch an NFL draft live stream available, like Sling TV which carries ESPN and offers a free 7-day trial.
Here’s a quick overview of the NFL draft TV schedule:
Thursday, April 28 Round 1 (8 p.m. ET)
Friday, April 29 Rounds 2-3 (7 p.m. ET)
Saturday, April 30 Rounds 4-7 (Noon ET)
Want to watch the NFL Draft online? While you can catch many regular season NFL games free with your over-the-air antenna, cable has a stranglehold on NFL draft coverage. In fact, up until last year, there was no legal way to watch the NFL Draft online without cable. Luckily, you can now watch the 2016 NFL Draft live stream on a multitude of devices with several different streaming apps. We’ll detail all of these options below.
Live outside of the US and looking for international options to watch the NFL draft online? Click here for your options.
Sling TV Offers Free NFL Draft Live Stream
The NFL is sharing rights to broadcast the draft between the NFL Network and ESPN. While there is no way to legally stream the NFL Network coverage without cable (except through Verizon Wireless, which I’ll touch on later), there are now some legal options to watch ESPN’s coverage online. Sling TV is one of the most popular live streaming services that broadcasts a selection of cable channels over the web, including ESPN. This is the exact same ESPN channel that airs over cable and satellite television. The basic package is $20 a month with no contract (or just $14 a month if you’re a T-Mobile customer), but Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial that will let you watch the NFL draft online at no cost.
Sling TV is available on a variety of devices, including streaming players/gaming consoles (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Android TV), iOS and Android phones and tablets, and computers. Check out our Sling TV review for more info on the service.
PlayStation Vue Offers Another Way to Watch NFL Draft Online (with Some Drawbacks)
Another option similar to Sling TV is PlayStation Vue. This is another live streaming service, which was recently launched nationwide, that includes a bundle of popular channels, acting as an alternative to traditional pay TV. Vue includes ESPN in its basic “Access Slim” package, which means it’s another way to watch the 2016 NFL draft online.
However, there are a few important differences you’ll notice in respect to Sling TV:
- Vue is $29.99 per month starting out, costlier than Sling TV’s basic package
- It is only available on PS3/PS4, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast streaming devices
- Vue is available on iPhones/iPads, but there are mobile streaming restrictions if you try to watch outside your home network
To learn more about Vue, read our review here.
NFL.com/LIVE Offers Complementary Draft Coverage
There is one more option for watching the NFL draft online free that’s worth mentioning. If you head over to NFL.com/LIVE, you’ll see that the site offers “complementary NFL Draft coverage featuring user-generated discussion alongside NFL expert predictions and reactions.”
Note: This is not the same draft coverage shown on ESPN and NFL Network, but rather, it seems to be positioned more as supplemental coverage for those following the draft. However, it definitely allows for more free streaming options.
NFL Mobile: Another Way to Watch NFL Draft Online Exclusive to Verizon Wireless Customers
Verizon customers do have one other option to watch the NFL draft online, although it’s limited. If you’re a Verizon Wirless customer with the More Everything plan, you can get NFL Network draft coverage on your phone at no extra cost and enjoy an NFL draft live stream on your mobile devices. For those Verizon customers that don’t have the More Everything plan, you can also get NFL Mobile on other Verizon plans by paying an extra $5 per month. However, you cannot stream to your computer or television, regardless of which plan you choose. It’s small screen or nothing.
Still Have Cable? Here are Your NFL Draft Live Stream Options
If you still have a cable TV subscription, but find yourself needing to watch the NFL draft online, you have a couple of potential options. First of all, you can get the ESPN coverage by downloading the WatchESPN app to your tablet or smartphone. Then login with your cable provider information to see all the live coverage. You can also login and stream through your web browser here.
If you have the NFL Network, you can go over to the draft section of NFL.com or access the NFL app on your mobile device or Xbox 360/Xbox One gaming console. Simply log in with your cable provider information, and you can catch all of the NFL Network’s draft coverage live as it unfolds. As the NFL’s website says, “you must receive your television services through one of the providers listed above. If your TV provider is not listed, NFL Network and/or NFL RedZone is not offered as part of your TV subscription.”
For those who live outside of the US and want to watch the NFL draft online, the best available option is NFL Game Pass International. Subscribers to Game Pass International will get full live coverage of the entire NFL draft, so you don’t have to miss a single pick. You’ll see each pick live as it happens, streaming to your streaming player or mobile device.
Check Out the Complete Guide for Watching Sports without Cable
It’s easier than ever to get rid of cable and still get the sports coverage you want. Whether it’s NFL, NBA, MLB…whatever sport you can think of, there are plenty of options available to you. Click here for my complete guide to watching sports without cable TV.
Have questions about how to watch the NFL draft live stream without cable? Comment below and we’ll help you out!