The Best Television Sports Packages

Sports. We love them. By we, I mean Americans. But really, I could mean the entire globe. Indeed, love of sports might be one of the few things that every continent can still agree on. That, and the new “Star Wars” movies are pretty cool.

Sure, the sports we like might be different. A matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots means less than nothing to the people of India. On the flipside, one of the biggest causes of brain aneurysms in America is trying to understand the rules of cricket (source: the Sam Joseph Journal of Medicine).

Regardless, there’s no segment of the globe you can visit where you can’t find rabid sports fans. And it’s a great time in world history to be a rabid sports fan.

Thanks to constantly evolving and improving technology, fans have more access to amazing sporting action than ever before. 20 years ago, the idea of living in rural Nebraska and getting to watch an NFL game that wasn’t on national television was absurd. Today, a Nebraskan does not have to drive to Denver to watch the Broncos play; they have the ability to watch them from the comfort of their own home.

This is because there are now a plethora of amazing television packages that give fans extraordinary access to a whole host of the best international sports leagues.

In this post, we plan on highlighting the five most exciting sports packages that any real sports fan will appreciate.

NBA League Pass

I don’t think it’s a hot take to say that the most recent NBA finals were a little bit of a disappointment. Unless you’re part of Dubnation, you probably wanted more than a five game series. That said, if you think it’s a boring time to be a basketball fan, you simply couldn’t be more wrong. Talent around the league is quite possibly at an all-time high. Offenses are running up points like Mike Tyson runs up debt. And there’s no better way to get all of the scoring action than NBA League Pass.

With NBA League Pass, you get about 40 out-of-market games from the National Basketball Association every week, the majority of which can be enjoyed in high-definition. League Pass also comes with NBA TV, the official network of the NBA. If you’re looking for detailed analysis, interviews, and in-depth player profiles, NBA TV is as good as it gets.

MLB Extra Innings

The days of baseball as “America’s pastime” are over. Anyone who really still believes that to be true has probably said this:

Hopefully they said this without the rifle.

That said, television ratings for baseball are up, despite what many think. The ratings for the 2016 World Series were through the roof. That might have been more to do with the storyline of the Chicago Cubs finally winning their first Series since 1908 rather than the game itself, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s also worth mentioning that for the first time in a decade, Major League Baseball has actual stars (Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, Mike Trout).

That’s why Extra Innings is a premiere sports package. With Extra Innings, you get approximately 100 out-of-market games a week. That’s 900 innings of the best in the Majors. Obviously, that’s *a lot* of peanuts and crackerjacks. That’s also *a lot* of baseball action to keep track of. Fortunately, Extra Innings comes with the MLB Network, which provides up-to-the-minutes, scores, highlights, and news from around the league.

NFL Sunday Ticket

Unlike the other packages featured on this list, Sunday Ticket’s availability is a little bit more limited. Whereas aforementioned packages can be ordered through Dish Network, Sunday Ticket is exclusive to Directv and its subscribers. If you are one of those subscribers, Sunday Ticket is the Super Bowl of sports packages; a must.

With Sunday Ticket, you get access to every single out-of-market game every weekend. Obviously given the NFL’s nature, a lot of these games are competing against each other. Even for the most ardent NFL fan it’s impossible to devote full attention to each game. That’s why the Red Zone Channel–part of Sunday Ticket–highlights every scoring drive from every game. Instead of watching a team struggle to get past the 50, you can watch every touchdown.

Of course when it comes to football, reality can be overrated.

There are millions of fans who are as obsessed with their fantasy team as they are with their local team. For those fantasy fans, Sunday Ticket comes equipped with the Fantasy Zone Channel, a channel devoted to tracking the stats and fantasy scores of every player.

MLS Direct Kick

Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changin’.” Admittedly, he was talking about political unrest and social upheaval, not so much about soccer. But the fact is that the time really are a-changin’, and soccer is on the precipice of being one of America’s favorite sports. A recent ESPN poll found that soccer is the second favorite sport for people between the ages of 12 and 24. And this trend will most likely continue with the rise of American phenom Christian Pulisic. As a consequence, it’s easy to see a future when Major League Soccer becomes a top-notch league in the context of international soccer. This is why MLS Direct Kick is growing in popularity.

Direct Kick broadcasts over 200 games from the MLS season. And that’s just the regular season. The feature that sets Direct Kick apart from other sports packages is that you get playoff games as well. If you’re a true soccer fan, that should get you more excited than even this announcer.

NHL Center Ice

What’s the biggest gripe you usually hear about watching hockey on television? It probably has to do with the ability to keep track of the puck, right? It’s a valid grievance, one that wasn’t helped by the infamous “glow puck.”

Sorry, I thought we were watching hockey. Didn’t realize this was “Star Wars: Attack of the Canadians.”

I’ve personally always felt this sentiment to be misguided. Sure, it’s not always easy to follow the puck, but there’s much more intense, physical play taking place on the ice beyond the puck action. NHL Center Ice brings all of that action right into your living room, without the chill emanating from the ice.

With Center Ice, hockey fans get up to 40 games a week from the National Hockey League. Not only do you get all of these exhilarating games, you get to watch them the way you want to. Unlike other sports packages, Center Ice has a feature that allows you to switch between the home team’s or the away team’s broadcast.