Skip to main content

The only thing harder for a football novice than keeping track of schedule changes for the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers is figuring out the difference between the NFL RedZone and the Red Zone Channel, two staples of Sunday football that do nearly the same thing.

The NFL RedZone has been available since 2009

The NFL RedZone originates from the studios of the NFL Network and offers whip-around coverage of Fox and CBS games that kick off in the 1 o’clock and 4:05/4:25 p.m. ET windows. Despite the name, NFL RedZone doesn’t limit itself to plays from inside the 20-yard line and takes viewers to the most significant action and with no commercial interruptions. It shows all the day’s touchdowns.

The NFL RedZone launched in 2009 and is available on many cable and satellite television systems that also carry the NFL Network, the league’s round-the-clock news, talk, and highlights channel. Users with subscriptions can stream NFL RedZone on mobile devices.

Scott Hanson, who played college football at Syracuse University, hosts the show, and it’s a marathon day made longer by the lack of commercial breaks. Typically, all the early games will reach halftime at approximately the same time, giving Hanson a chance to recap what’s happened on the day thus far. Other than that, it’s wall-to-wall live action and scoring replays through 8 p.m. or so.

After that, the lights go out on the service until the next football Sunday.

Red Zone Channel on Direct TV

The better known of the two Red Zone channels has been a near-exclusive option for subscribers to the NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. The appeal of Sunday Ticket is that it allows fans to see out-of-market games, meaning that a Cincinnati Bengals fan living in Oregon can watch his or her favorite team without it being a nationally televised game.

Rights to NFL Sunday Ticket and the accompanying Red Zone Channel belong to DirecTV through the 2022 season in a $1.5 billion annual deal. As is the case with its rival, Red Zone Channel is available to subscribers on their streaming services.

Andrew Siciliano is the host of the Red Zone Channel each Sunday. Like Scott Hanson of the NFL RedZone, Siciliano is a Syracuse University graduate. Siciliano, who works for NFL Network during the week, moved to Fox Sports Radio in 2000 and helped launch Red Zone Channel in 2005, when the start-up operation only held rights to show highlights from games carried by Fox Sports.

The first few seasons originated from a studio at Fox. Production was later moved to a studio at DirecTV.

Interestingly, the inspiration for the Red Zone Channel came from Serie A soccer in Italy, where Sky Sports used a similar format for showing key action.

Who owns the NFL RedZone and the Red Zone Channel?

Although they operate independently of each other, the two Red Zone channels with nearly identical formats are the property of the National Football League.

The key distinguishing characteristic is that NFL RedZone customers of DirecTV have access to full games via NFL Sunday Ticket, while the NFL RedZone is easily accessible through streaming services like Fubo and YouTube TV.


Did ESPN Fire Keith Olbermann?