HawgBeat - HawgBeat Answers: How can I watch Arkansas-Rice?
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HawgBeat Answers: How can I watch Arkansas-Rice?

Arkansas opens the 2021 football season Saturday against Rice.
Arkansas opens the 2021 football season Saturday against Rice. (Nick Wenger)

FAYETTEVILLE — An internet connection will be required to watch Arkansas’ 2021 season opener.

As part of the SEC’s new agreement with ESPN, which was announced in December, the Razorbacks’ matchup with Rice at 1 p.m. CT Saturday will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus and ESPN-Plus.

Neither of those options are broadcast on traditional television, meaning they must be viewed on ESPN3.com or the ESPN app via smart TVs, streaming devices, smartphones or tablets.

A monthly subscription to ESPN-Plus costs $6.99, while an annual subscription is $69.99. It can also be bundled with Hulu and Disney-Plus for just $13.99/month.

However, access to SEC Network-Plus is free for those who have SEC Network as part of their cable package. All that’s needed is a cable provider’s log-in credentials, much like SEC Network-Plus games during basketball and baseball season.

It will be the first time in eight years an Arkansas football game hasn’t been on traditional television. That was a War Memorial Stadium matchup with Samford that was available only via pay-per-view. The last time the Razorbacks played and it wasn’t on any kind of television - PPV or otherwise - was 2008, when it traveled to Starkville, Miss., for an SEC matchup with Mississippi State.

The new 10-year agreement between ESPN and the SEC is set to begin in 2024-25, but the streaming aspect begins immediately. That deal gives ESPN-Plus the rights to up to 14 non-conference football games, with no more than one per school.

This year’s game will also be available via SEC Network-Plus as a way to essentially ease fans into that agreement. Eventually, even those with a cable package that includes SEC Network will need to purchase an ESPN-Plus subscription for those games.