It might have been frustrating and stressful at times, but it ended up being a good night for Eagles fans as the team held off a late comeback attempt by the Atlanta Falcons to win their season opener, 18-12, in the first game of the NFL season.
But for the early part of the game, fans attempting to stream the matchup for free on the NFL app didn't have nearly as much fun.
This is the first season the NFL is allowing fans to stream in-market and primetime games for free without a cable authentication as the league looks to increase viewers amid the growing trend of cord cutting. According to media research firm Kagan, cable and satellite companies lost 860,000 subscribers over the second quarter of 2018, the second-largest quarterly decline on record.
But it appears the app may have a ways to go to keep up with the increase demand. Last night, as I attempted to watch the game on the free stream offered by the NFL Mobile app, I frequently lost the signal during the first half, and received the error message: "Fumble! Looks like there was a problem with the video."
My experience wasn't unique. Social media was flooded with complaints from fans upset over the quality of the stream.
NFL games are also available for free this season on the Yahoo Sports app, which did not experience any significant issues during the game Thursday night.
The NFL acknowledged technical issues impacted the live stream of the season opener, and corrected the error during the early part of Thursday night's game. No issues are expected to impact the quality of games offered on the app Sunday, the league said.
Streaming numbers from the NFL, Yahoo and NBC weren't available as of Friday afternoon.
Thursday night's glitches also aren't preventing the NFL from rolling out new features for the app, including an all-new Game Center and live access to the NFL Network without a cable subscription.
The league is also expanding two of its digital shows. The Checkdown, hosted by a rotating cast of personalities including NFL Network host and Philadelphia native Colleen Wolfe, will stream every Thursday and Sunday from 7:45 to 8:15 p.m. Around the NFL, hosted by Dan Hanzus, Gregg Rosenthal, Marc Sessler, and Chris Wesseling, will launch a new weekly live show that will air Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m.
Despite the growth of cord cutting, streaming numbers remain a small part of the league's overall viewing audience. While the Eagles-Falcons game garnered disappointing overnight TV ratings, sports consultant Lee Berke doesn't think the NFL has any immediate concerns when it comes to overall interest in watching games.