With the 2022 football season now coming to an end, it’s a good idea for Hawkeye fans to prepare for the changes that are coming to how they’ll watch Iowa football in 2023. In case you haven’t heard, the Big Ten signed a new television deal for the 2023 season, and that means some of the networks that televise Iowa football will change in 2023.
For the Hawkeyes and the Big Ten, it means a lot more money rolling in for television rights. For the average Hawkeye fan, it means new streaming services and channels to make sure you have in your lineup if you want to watch every Iowa game in 2023 and beyond. Here are a few things you need to know about watching the Hawkeyes online moving forward!
How Can I Watch Iowa in the Music City Bowl?
Before the new television deals take effect, Iowa still has one more football game to play. The Hawkeyes will take on Kentucky in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., and the game will be played on ABC.
That means that if you’ve got public television in your home, you don’t need to do a thing. Your local ABC affiliate will carry the Hawkeyes’ game with the Wildcats. If you pay for your local channels through cable or a streaming service, you’re also covered.
If you don’t currently use a streaming service to access ABC, you’ll want to look into options such as FuboTV, Vidgo, Hulu Live, Sling TV Orange and YouTube TV.
All of these streaming services carry ABC, and all are easy to cancel or pause on a monthly basis, so if you don’t need ABC after the Music City Bowl, you can cancel in January and only pay for one month of service.
Some services even offer free trials, so you could choose one streaming partner for the game and then cancel it without paying for the rest of the month. If you want to make sure you don’t miss Iowa football, you have plenty of options.
We're heading to Nashville!
Tune in to the Transperfect Music City Bowl Press Conference ⤵️
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) December 4, 2022
What Channels Will I Need For Iowa Football in 2023?
For the past several years, Iowa football fans have needed three main sets of channels to follow the Hawkeyes: Big Ten Network, Fox and FS1 and ABC and the ESPN family of networks. The good news is that two of those networks aren’t changing, so the majority of Iowa fans won’t need to do anything to follow the Hawkeyes.
Fox and Big Ten Network Will Still Carry Games
If you’ve gotten used to Big Noon on Fox (which is actually 11 a.m. in Iowa), that won’t be changing. Fox will maintain a large presence in the Big Ten’s new television deal, and with USC and UCLA set to join the Big Ten in 2024, Fox will start broadcasting late-night Big Ten football. Fox has regularly shown Pac-12 games in that time slot, so with the Big Ten expanding its footprint, Big Ten football can now be played for more than 12 consecutive hours on Saturdays.
Any games that aren’t picked up by Fox or another television partner will air on Big Ten Network. Usually, the games with the least amount of prestige get shoved to BTN, so Iowa doesn’t often show up on this network. But when the Hawkeyes play lesser foes like Rutgers or Indiana and no rivalry exists, BTN will likely snag that game.
CBS and NBC Are Adding Big Ten Content
For years, if you’ve turned on your CBS affiliate at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays, you’ve seen an SEC football game during football season. That’s about to change. CBS’ contract with the SEC expires after next season, and the network opted to replace the SEC with the Big Ten.
Starting in 2024, up to 15 games a year from the Big Ten will air on CBS after a limited package shows up in 2023 to get around SEC windows. If Iowa isn’t picked for the Big Noon game of the week on Fox, there’s a good chance the Hawkeyes will occasionally land on CBS.
NBC will serve as home to Big Ten night games as part of its package, usually broadcasting one Big Ten game a week. Like the CBS 2:30 time slot, this will be a prime game that’s sure to draw a lot of attention.
If Iowa plays in one of these games, not only will it mean plenty of exposure for the Hawkeyes, but fans can find them simply by turning on their local television stations. Outside of games on FS1 and Big Ten Network, you’ll be able to watch the Hawkeyes nationally without spending a cent on cable or streaming services most weeks.
If you do choose to pay to ensure you get every game, most channel streaming services that simulate cable packages will give you access to the networks you need. FuboTV, Hulu Live and YouTube TV all offer access to Fox, CBS and NBC, and while Vidgo doesn’t provide access to CBS, streaming options can pair with it to give you access to the key networks where Iowa will be shown.
CBS and NBC join Fox in landing Big Ten media rights that will pay the soon-to-be-expanded college sports conference more than $1 billion annually, two sources familiar with the deals told Axios.https://t.co/jeNftmkGaL
— Axios (@axios) August 18, 2022
How Will Streaming Services Come Into Play?
If you’re new to the world of streaming services, there are two that you need to get familiar with quickly as an Iowa football fan: Paramount+ and Peacock. With the addition of CBS and NBC to the lineup, each channel’s streaming service will also show a handful of Iowa games each season.
Paramount+ is CBS’ home for most of its streaming library, as well as European soccer matches. When a game appears on CBS, Paramount+ always carries the game live on its streaming service. So if you don’t have access to CBS normally, using Paramount+ to follow the Hawkeyes is a viable option.
None of the games shown on Paramount+ will be exclusive to the service; it’s just a bonus way for fans to watch Iowa and other Big Ten action.
Grab your leftovers and settle in for a college football doubleheader on CBS and @paramountplus.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 25, 2022
That makes Paramount+ a luxury if you have CBS through another package. But you’ll need to make sure to get Peacock, which is NBC’s streaming service. Peacock has shown occasional Notre Dame games when the Irish play at home, and they’ll show every Big Ten game that NBC shares over the air. In most cases, that means the weekly evening game.
But that’s not all that Peacock entails. Starting in 2023, eight Big Ten games per season will be shown exclusively on Peacock.
That means the streaming option is required for any true Iowa fan, because if the Hawkeyes end up in one of those games, Peacock will be the only option that televises those Iowa football games. If you order no other streaming service, Peacock is the one to sign up for. Without Peacock, you might occasionally miss Iowa football action.
What About ESPN?
If you’ve paid close attention to this piece so far, you’ve probably noticed that ESPN hasn’t been mentioned, nor has ABC. And that’s because ABC and ESPN did not submit a successful bid to carry Big Ten football, and as such, no Big Ten home games will appear on these channels. When Iowa takes on Kentucky on ABC in the Music City Bowl, that’s going to mark the end of an era for Iowa football on ESPN.
Notably, Iowa could still appear on ESPN moving forward under the right circumstances. But it’s pretty unlikely that will happen in future seasons. For Iowa to play on ESPN in the regular season, the Hawkeyes would need to play a road game at a school whose conference has a television contract with ESPN. And since the Big Ten expanded the schedule to nine conference games in 2016, Iowa doesn’t play those types of games.
The only Power 5 opponent the Hawkeyes have faced since the Big Ten made it nine league games is Iowa State. Iowa wants to play an FCS opponent, a Group of 5 teams and Iowa State every year, with the Hawkeyes going to Ames in years where they get five Big Ten games at home. That ensures Iowa plays seven games at Kinnick Stadium every year.
It also means the only way the Hawkeyes can play on ESPN is in a bowl game or when they play at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State and the Big 12 has an agreement with ESPN, so the Hawkeyes could play there when Iowa State hosts the Battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy. But when the Cyclones come to Iowa City, ESPN won’t have access to the game.
How About Bowl Games?
Bowls deal with networks on their own, so there are possibilities for Iowa to play on ESPN or another network in the postseason in future seasons.
The Rose Bowl and the College Football Playoff are contractually tied to ESPN for the next three seasons, so if Iowa makes it to the top 12, the Hawkeyes will appear on ESPN or another network in the ESPN family. That would mean another streaming service for Iowa fans, but it’s likely that nobody will mind.
What Do I Need to Have to Watch Iowa?
The main networks to have are Fox, FS1, Big Ten Network, CBS, NBC and Peacock’s streaming services. Iowa’s scheduling philosophy of seven home games per season actually makes it very easy to predict what network will show the Hawkeyes in most weeks.
As long as you make sure that you have access to those six options, you’ll never miss a minute of Iowa regular season football between 2023 and 2030.