Once again, Auburn’s first game of the football season will not be on traditional television — and fans should make sure they’re ready to watch.
Auburn vs. Mercer on Saturday will only be available for streaming through SEC Network+ or ESPN+.
Last year, Auburn’s opener against Akron was placed on the same platforms, though that was the first time since 2008 that Auburn football’s season opener hadn’t been featured on traditional television.
Fans who have streamed through SEC Network+ in the past, to watch Auburn football or other Tiger sports, should be all set for Saturday. Those who haven’t until kickoff to make sure they’ll be able to watch.
Here’s a guide for Auburn fans who are new to digital streaming through SEC Network+ and ESPN+:
What do I need to stream Auburn vs. Mercer?
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To stream Auburn’s game with Mercer, fans will essentially need three things:
» An internet connection;
» A login to get into the stream.
In short, a streaming device is anything that can get you to ESPN’s app or website, from a computer to a gaming console.
Login credentials for SEC Network+ come from cable or satellite providers who offer SEC Network as part of their packages. For this game, an ESPN+ subscription can also get fans into the steam. Television contracts will prevent ESPN from making the game an ESPN+ exclusive for at least another year.
The stream will be found on the ESPN app on your streaming device, or on a web browser at WatchESPN.com.
Do I need anything new?
Many households already have devices capable of streaming from the ESPN app, and everyone in the area with cable TV should have SEC Network as part of their package.
Streaming devices can include: A computer, a phone, a tablet, a PlayStation, an Xbox, a Roku, a Chromecast, an Amazon Fire Stick, or a “smart TV.” For the full list of ESPN-capable devices, click here.
You have access to Saturday’s stream through SEC Network+ so long as you have access to SEC Network through your cable or television provider. The game won’t be on the actual television channel, but if you prove to ESPN that you pay for a package that gives you SEC Network, you can get into the stream. Most do that by logging in with the same credentials they use to pay their bill with their cable provider.
In the Auburn area, if you have a cable package through Charter/Spectrum or WOW!, you can log in using the information you use to access your account online.
If you pay your bill through the mail and don’t have an online login with your cable or satellite provider, you have until kickoff to contact them and get one.
What if I don’t have cable?
New services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and Sling also offer access to SEC Network, and by extension to SEC Network+. They work here in the same way as a cable or satellite package.
If you don’t have any of those and you don’t have a cable or satellite package with SEC Network, you can also get a login for this game by buying a subscription to ESPN+. The Auburn vs. Mercer game will be available for those who can access it through either SEC Network+ or ESPN+.
ESPN+ subscriptions start at $9.99 per month.
Which streaming device should I use?
Many households already have a capable device of getting a viewer to the ESPN website or app. Most computers with a solid internet connection should be able to stream the game. Computers can hook up to most modern TVs with a hard wire like an HDMI cord, turning the living room TV into a computer monitor.
But certain media players are designed to be more intuitive and easier to navigate. If your household doesn’t already have a modern gaming console like a PlayStation or Xbox, three cheaper streaming devices are readily available for around $30: The Roku, the Amazon Fire Stick, and Google’s Chromecast.
The Roku and Fire Stick plug into the back of your living room TV, then connect to your home WiFi. Inside the device’s software, viewers would then navigate to the ESPN app.
The Chromecast allows viewers to project the broadcast from a phone or computer up to the living room TV.
If you’re completely new to streaming, make sure your household doesn’t already have a streaming-capable gaming console, and see if you can connect a laptop or computer to your TV using an HDMI cord. If you don’t have those things, these streaming devices make for affordable options with user-friendly instructions.
How do I watch the game on the ESPN app?
Once you’re online and can get to the ESPN app or the ESPN website, you can log in to access the stream with your TV provider credentials, or with an ESPN+ subscription.
When you pull up the stream, you’ll be prompted to choose your provider — where you’ll choose Spectrum or WOW! or whatever your provider is. Then you’ll log in with the same username and password you use to pay your bill.
If you’re using YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV or something similar, you’ll use that same login on the ESPN app.
If you’ve never streamed a game online before through ESPN, try to get behind the paywall ahead of time by watching what’s on at the time, or by finding a replay. Auburn’s recent soccer matches have been streamed through SEC Network+. If you can get into those replays, you should be good to go for Saturday’s football game.
What is the difference between SEC Network+ and ESPN+?
SEC Network+ is a complementary online offering available to viewers who can prove they pay for SEC Network through their cable package. Through SEC Network+, the SEC Network can offer additional program on top of what’s on the regular television channel.
Meanwhile, ESPN+ is a direct-to-customer service available for a subscription fee, like Netflix.
For Saturday’s Auburn vs. Mercer game, the stream will be available through both avenues. This will change in the future, thanks to the $3 billion deal struck between ESPN and ABC last offseason.
The deal gives one non-conference football game for each SEC team to ESPN to put on ESPN+ exclusively starting in 2022-23 — in a bid to drive up subscriptions and make more fans consider ESPN+. Several men’s basketball games will also move exclusively to ESPN+ starting this schoolyear.
This game, though, remains available through SEC Network+ as well as through ESPN+.
Auburn’s second game against San Jose State is set to be televised on ESPNU before the third game against Penn State is broadcast nationally on CBS. Broadcasting for the rest of the schedule is still to be determined.
For Auburn vs. Mercer, consider signing up for ESPN+ only after you’re sure you can’t access the game through SEC Network+.
For more information on SEC Network+ from the SEC, click here.
For a guide from ESPN on how to stream ESPN+, click here.
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