How to Watch ESPN Online Without Cable


Watch ESPN Free Online

You don’t need cable anymore to watch ESPN online or live stream games on an iPhone, Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV.

The number of people cutting the cord has given rise to more ways to watch ESPN shows and live sports online in 2018 than ever before. What’s the best live TV streaming service to watch ESPN live? Right now, your two best deals are Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV.

Here’s why.

Hulu with Live TV is the best option for most people at $40 per month. It has a robust, 60+ channel lineup, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU and other must have sports networks like FS1 and FS2.

Hulu carries more local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX stations than any live streaming competitor in the U.S.

You get 50 hours of Cloud DVR, and unlimited access to Hulu’s on-demand library that people pay $7.99 and up for. So you’re essentially getting two streaming services in one. And you’ll be able to sign in to 35 apps. That includes the WatchESPN app and FOX Sports Go app. Hulu’s Live TV service works on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, smartphones and even Nintendo Switch. Hulu has a free 7-day trial with no obligations.

Sling TV is your cheapest option for an ESPN live stream. The Sling Orange plan gets you 30 networks including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and entertainment networks like A&E and TBS. That costs $25 per month. You pay another $5 per month if you want 50 hours of Cloud DVR. Sling TV works on just about any streaming device: Roku, Firestick, Apple TV and your PC.

Sling TV has a 7-day free trial. There are no hidden fees or contracts if you decide to keep the service. You can even use your subscription to log in to the WatchESPN app on any device.

Even without these two streaming services, you can easily watch all your favorite sports live: college football, NCAA basketball, NBA games and playoffs, Monday Night Football, MLB Playoffs – whatever – without Comcast or Spectrum.

Here are some more choices to consider.  

DirecTV Now: ESPN Live Stream Without Cable

DirecTV Now lets you live stream ESPN with the entry-level “Live a Little” package. You’ll get 65+ live channels for $40 per month. You’ll also get ESPN2, FS1 and entertainment channels like A&E, FX and  TBS. ESPN is offered in all four of DirecTV Now’s channel lineup. You can live stream on two devices at once with DirecTV Now. You can try DirecTV Now with a free trial that lasts a week.

Watch ESPN Online with YouTube TV

YouTube TV has an impressive lineup of 50+ channels for $40 per month. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U, SEC ESPN and ESPN News is part of its channel lineup. You’ll also be able to watch Nat Geo Wild, BBC America, Golf Channel and FXM.

Unlimited Cloud DVR is included with a subscription. And you can create up to 6 profiles for a household per account.

The nice thing about YouTube TV is that you can watch ESPN online at home, or on your smartphone when you’re not at home.

But be aware that you won’t be able to watch YouTube TV on Fire TV or Firestick because of Google’s ongoing spat with Amazon. The service works with Chromecast, NVIDIA Shield TV, Apple TV and Chromecast. Try out YouTube TV free for a week.

PlayStation Vue: Live Stream ESPN without cable

The Access channel bundle on PlayStation Vue will ensure that you’ll never miss an episode of Around The Horn or Mike & Mike. ESPN is among 48+ live channels that you’ll get for $45 per month.

Cloud DVR is part of any subscription, and there’s no limit to its storage capacity. Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and National Geographic are part of this channel bundle. You can stream on up to five devices at once with PlayStation Vue.

I used PlayStation Vue for more than a year and it’s a really dependable service that makes a nice alternative to cable. Try it free for 5-days.

Does ESPN+ include an ESPN Live Stream?

ESPN’s new streaming service called ESPN+ shows daily MLB and NHL games and other programs for $4.99 per month. But there’s no ESPN live stream. You can’t watch ESPN2, ESPN3 or ESPNews on the service.

What’s the best way to watch ESPN without cable?

There’s a lot of choices, and whatever you go with, you may want to also investigate how to get an affordable Internet connection to really save money. But let’s recap my top two picks.

Hulu with Live TVwill be the best deal for most people, especially if you’re a sports fan looking to live stream ESPN, FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network without cable. Hulu’s Live TV service has an edge over competitors because they carry more local FOX, ABC, NBC and CBS stations than any other live streaming competitor. So you won’t have to worry about missing nationally televised games that appear on the big four networks. You’ll get other premium entertainment networks like CNN, Fox News, National Geographic and TNT as part of a 60+ channel bundle. Subscribers get 50 hours of Cloud DVR included and full access to Hulu’s on-demand library, which usually runs you $7.99 per month. That includes Hulu Originals like “Castle Rock”. So you’re getting two streaming services for the same price as Hulu’s competitors. You can look over the channel lineup in your area, or try out a free 7-day trial.

Sling TV is a solid budget option because you can get ESPN for $25 per month under the Orange plan. For more regional sports networks you’ll want to add the Sling Blue bundle as well, which doubles your channel lineup for $40 per month. You can get a free Roku Express if you sign up for two months. Or just check out a free 7-day trial to see if Sling TV works for you.

The best thing about live streaming is that – unlike cable – you can easily cancel online anytime without any penalties or obligation. What’s your favorite way to watch ESPN online or live stream sports without cable? Tell fellow readers in the comments below.

* Note: This guide was originally published on Nov. 9, 2017 and updated to reflect new prices and streaming services. 

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1 Comment on How to Watch ESPN Online Without Cable

  1. I just switched from PSVue to YouTubeTV because, well, it’s $10/month cheaper.
    I decided that savings was worth the hassle of having to “cast” from my laptop or tablet or phone to one of my Chromecast, since while my FireTV boxes and PS4’s had apps for PSVue, no such app exists yet for YouTubeTV. I find this silly since FireTV runs Android, Google owns YouTubeTV and produces Android, it would be nothing for them to submit a YouTubeTV to the Amazon app store like Sony, Hulu, DirectTV, etc. all have.

    One note about YouTubeTV: If you have “old” original Chromecast’s like I do, you’ll get a warning message when you start casting to them. So every “live” show takes 10-15 seconds to start playing. After your first paid month Google is supposed to offer you a free current gen Chromecast, so I’ll stand by to get that offer from Google before I judge too harshly that my Chromecast hardware is out of date.

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