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How to Watch ESPN Without Cable: 6 Great Options to Consider

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Want to watch ESPN without cable but don’t think you can? We share 6 options to watch your favorite ESPN shows without a nasty cable contract.

Is losing access to sports preventing you from cutting the cord? If you love college football or the NFL you need ESPN. Thankfully, there are six legit streaming services that let you watch ESPN without cable or satellite.

You can also stream some content on-demand through the ESPN+ app if you wish. In this article, we’ll assist you in deciding which option is best for your needs.

How to Watch ESPN Without Cable

 

An expensive cable contract ins’t necessary to watch SportsCenter, Pardon the Interruption, or First Take. There are multiple ways to get ESPN without cable, at a fraction of the cost.

If you like to watch Fox Sports 1, many of the same providers also carry that channel.

ServiceCostStreamsLocalsDVROn DemandFree Trial
Hulu Live$64.992YesYesYes Try Free
Sling TV$351YesYes Yes Try Free
Vidgo$39.993NoNoNo Try Free
FuboTV$59.992YesYesYes Try Free
AT&T TV Now$50+10MaybeYesYes Try Free
YouTube TV$653YesYesYes Try Free

 

1. Hulu Live

 

Hulu Live is perhaps the closest to the cable experience and a terrific way to stream ESPN online. You receive ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, the ACC Network, and the SEC Network.

You don’t need to add special tiers to receive those channels. They’re all a part of the base package, which costs $64.99 per month. Hulu Live also includes other sports channels, including:

  • CBS Sports Network
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NBC Golf
  • The Olympic Channel

Explore all Hulu channels here.

You’ll enjoy compelling original content like the critically acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale series, along with access to live content on local networks and cable standbys like FX, Food Network, and TBS.

A 7-day free trial lets you test drive the streaming service and see just how easy it is to watch ESPN without cable risk-free.

Hulu Live at a Glance

InfoData
Pricing & Packages$64.99
Channels50 - 70 + locals
Supported DevicesiOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV + more
Simultaneous Streams2 - Free / unlimited - $9.99
DVR50 hrs. - Free / 200 hrs. - $9.99
On-demand libraryYes
Try Hulu

 

2. Sling TV

 

Sling TV is another excellent way to watch ESPN without a TV provider. It’s the oldest streaming service in the market and a quality option for people who love watching live sports.

Sling TV is a little different than other streaming services. It offers its channels in two base packages – Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Both cost $35 per month.

Each package comes with different sports channels. If you want to stream ESPN without cable, the Sling Orange package is best for you.

Sling Orange offers the following ESPN networks:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • 30+ other channels

Sling Orange gives you access to 6,200 live and original hours of programming across 65 different sports. This includes exclusive access to Monday Night Football, NBA games, College Basketball games, College Football games, and the College Football Playoffs.

Sling Blue DOES NOT include ESPN but does offer 13 channels of sports including:

  • Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
  • Fox Sports 2 (FS2)
  • NFL Network
  • NBC Sports (NBCSN)

Sling Blue also offers access to Fox Sports regional networks. If you want more live sports without cable, Sling TV offers a Sports Package that you can add on to your Orange or Blue subscription for an extra $11 per month.

That add-on will get you NFL RedZone, NBA TV, NHL Network, the PAC 12 Network and more. The provider also offers Fox and NBC in some markets so you can watch sports content on those channels.

Check out our guide on the Sling TV packages to see how you can further customize your sports content.

You can stream Sling TV numerous devices. It works with smartphones, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, Apple TV, and more. Sling Orange lets you stream on one device at a time. Sling Blue gives you the ability to stream on three devices at once.

If you want all of the sports channels in both packages, you can purchase both Sling Orange + Blue for $50 per month. This option also offers the ability to stream content on up to four devices at once.

The one drawback to Sling is its weak DVR offering. They offer a free DVR that allows users to record 50 hours of content. You can upgrade to 200 hours, for $5 per month. However, you can’t use it to record Disney-owned channels, including ESPN.

Sling TV at a Glance

InfoData
Pricing & PackagesOrange - $35 / Blue - $35 / Orange + Blue - $50
ChannelsOrange - 30 (ESPN) / Blue - 30 / Orange + Blue - 45
Supported DevicesiOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV + more
Simultaneous StreamsOrange - 1 / Blue - 3 / Orange + Blue - 3
DVR50 hrs. - Free / 200 hrs. - $5/mo.
On-demand libraryYes
Try Sling

 

3. Vidgo

 

Vidgo is a newer player in the cord-cutting space. The streaming service focuses on encouraging social interaction while watching TV. It does this by letting users watch shows with friends and family.

You can do real-time polls, do live-react videos, drop memes in shows you’re watching, and more. Vidgo is largely mobile based, but you can watch shows from your smart TV like any other steaming platform.

Vidgo offers two core packages: Core and Plus. You receive 60+ channels for $39.99 per month with Core, and 80+ channels for $49.99 for Plus.

Both platforms let you get ESPN and FS1 and FS2. It also carries ABC and Fox networks. You can access Vidgo via most streaming devices. The one drawback to Vidgo is they do not currently offer a DVR, though have one planned for the future.

Vidgo at a Glance

InfoData
Pricing & PackagesEnglish & Spanish - $55
Channels85+
Supported DevicesiOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV + more
Simultaneous Streams3
DVRNot yet
On-demand libraryNot yet
Try Vidgo

 

4. fuboTV

 

fuboTV is a sports-first streaming platform. However, the service did not include ESPN until August of 2020. This now makes fuboTV one of the top choices for people who want a wide variety of sports.

The one drawback to fuboTV is price. The two core packages are Family and Ultra. Family has 95+ channels for $59.99 per month and Ultra is 165+ channels for $84.99 per month. At that price you’re saving little over cable, albeit without a contract.

Despite the cost you receive the full-suite of ESPN and Fox Sports channels. You also get channels like the NFL Network, NBC Sports, and MLB Strike Zone. Local networks depend on where you live, but don’t include ABC.

The provider has roughly ten different specialty add-ons if you like sports like tennis, soccer, or cycling. It also has a DVR, free of charge.

Explore all fuboTV channels here.

FuboTV at a Glance

InfoData
Pricing & PackagesFamily - $64.99 / Elite - $79.99
Channels95 - 165+
Supported DevicesiOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV + more
Simultaneous Streams3
DVRFamily - 500 hours/Elite - 1,000 hours
On-demand libraryYes
Try Fubo

 

5. AT&T TV Now

 

AT&T TV Now (formerly known as DirecTV Now) provides both live streaming and a variety of on-demand content.

What makes AT&T TV Now unique is its six different channel packages. Those are:

  • Plus: 45+ channels for $55 per month
  • Max: 60+ channels for $80 per month
  • Entertainment: 65+ channels for $93 per month
  • Choice: 85+ channels for $110 per month
  • Xtra: 105+ channels for $124 per month
  • Ultimate: 125+ channels for $135 per month

For ESPN, choose the Plus package. This package also includes ESPN2 and FS1. If you want additional channels from the ESPN and Fox Sports families, choose Max.

If you’re concerned about getting local channels, AT&T TV Now includes them in some markets for free. If you’re not in one of those markets, you can easily get your local channels for free by purchasing a Mohu Leaf antenna for a low, one-time cost.

AT&T TV Now at a Glance

InfoData
Pricing & Packages6 packages. Plus - $55 / Ultimate - $135
Channels45 to 125+
Supported DevicesiOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV + more
Simultaneous Streams3
DVR500 hours
On-demand libraryYes

 

6. YouTube TV

 

YouTube TV is the final way to stream ESPN without cable. It costs $64.99 per month for 80+ channels, including local networks.

With this package you get ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN News. The provider also offers additional sports channels, including:

  • FS1
  • FS2
  • The MLB Network
  • The Tennis Channel
  • NBA TV
  • NBC Sports

You can watch ESPN online through YouTube TV on an unlimited number of devices. It’s possible to stream YouTube TV via iOS, a few smart TVs, any web browser, Roku, Chromecast, AppleTV, and more.

You can simultaneously stream on three devices at once with YouTube TV. If DVR capability is important to you, YouTube TV is a standout. They offer unlimited recording, and you can keep content for nine months.

Lastly, YouTube TV lets you create six individual user accounts. These features make the price tag a little easier to swallow.

YouTube TV at a Glance

InfoData
Pricing & Packages$64.99
Channels85+
Supported DevicesiOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV + more
Simultaneous Streams3
DVRNo limit
On-demand libraryYes

 

If you’re interested streaming ESPN without cable through YouTube TV, they offer a free 7-day trial.

How to Stream ESPN Online

 

Aside from the ways mentioned, you can watch ESPN online through ESPN+ . For $5.99 per month (or $59.99 annually), ESPN+ offers you a way to watch live sports without cable.

While it doesn’t give you a way to watch ESPN without cable, it does offer additional sports content that isn’t available on the channel for a low monthly fee.

ESPN+ lets you watch:

  • MLS live
  • One NHL game a day
  • One MLB game per day
  • Original programming like 30 for 30
  • Lots of on-demand sports events

In addition, you can watch live boxing (including PPV events), cricket, rugby, and tennis. If you don’t need access to all ESPN live sports content, ESPN+ might be a good option.

Read more about the platform in our ESPN+ review.

If you want to watch ESPN without cable, Hulu Live, DirecTV Now, Sling TV or one of the other options mentioned are a better bet. When you consider that cable subscribers pay $7.21 per month for ESPN and $9.06 for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and the SEC Network), paying $20 – $40 per month for a streaming service makes more sense.

Another option for how to watch ESPN online is with a Watch ESPN subscription. However, it requires a cable subscription.

If you cut the cord, that option won’t work for you. However, you’ll have nearly $70 per month that you’re not spending on your expensive cable contract so you can go see a game live and in person if you want!

Can You Watch ESPN on Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, or Roku?

 

The short answer is yes.

All of the streaming providers have apps for the major devices.

YouTube TV works on Roku, AppleTV, and Chromecast.

If you have a Nvidian Shield, you can watch ESPN without cable through Hulu Live, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

Additionally, all of the streaming platforms here have apps that work with iOS and Android and most Mac and Windows-based computers.

Can You Watch ESPN Online Free?

 

Every sports fan wishes the answer to this question were yes. However, there’s no legitimate way to watch ESPN online for free.

Sites that do claim to let you stream ESPN free are full of spam, malware, or are illegal. All of the providers in this post offer free trials. You can use those in a pinch to catch a game, if you wish.

 

Summary

 

If you are tired of paying for cable, but losing access to live sporting events scares you, you have options.

From Sling Orange at $35 per month to Hulu with Live TV for $64.99, there are excellent, contract-free ways to watch ESPN without cable. Both offer reliable service, for far less than your cable contract.

If you want to watch SportsCenter without cable and other sports content, a high priced bill is no longer necessary. Pick a streaming provider you like and pocket the savings.

 

What are your reservations about watching ESPN without cable? Which streaming platform do you like best?

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

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