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 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 $44.99 per month. It has a robust, 65+ 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 $5.99 and up for. So you’re essentially getting two streaming services in one. 

And you’ll be able to activate 38 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. You can look over Hulu’s channel lineup for live TV to see what local and regional sports channels are offered in your area.

Sling TV is your cheapest option for an ESPN live stream. The Sling Orange plan gets you 34 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.  

AT&T TV Now: ESPN Live Stream Without Cable

AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) lets you live stream ESPN with the Plus channel package. Subscribers can watch 45+ live channels for $50 per month, including NBC, CBS, ESPN and HBO.

ESPN2, FS1 and entertainment channels like A&E, FX and TBS are included on the Plus channel bundle.

You can live stream on two devices at once with a subscription. AT&T TV Now offers a free trial that lasts seven days.

Watch ESPN Online with YouTube TV

YouTube TV has an impressive lineup of 50+ channels for $49.99 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 $49.99 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.

There will be a huge number of exclusive college football games and UFC events. 

This year, ESPN+ will live stream 300 college football games from 12 conferences.

So if you’re a college football fan or want to see a UFC event in the near future, trying out ESPN for just $4.99 per month is pretty good deal. Once you sign up, you can watch all your ESPN+ sports and docs like 30 for 30 in the ESPN app.

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 TV will 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. A subscription costs $44.99 per month and includes Hulu’s on-demand service. 

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. So you’re already paying for Hulu on-demand, getting two streaming services for the same price as Hulu’s competitors makes a lot of sense.

You can look over the channel lineup in your area, before deciding if its the right fit for your sports watching needs.

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 or heavily discounted streaming device if you sign up for a brief subscription. 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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3 Comments on How to Watch ESPN Online Without Cable

  1. There is no mentuin of fubo tv here. I am on a 7 day free trial and the only drawback is no espn…. the cheapest way to get espn is sling at 25$ but, with sling tv you have to get an antennae to watch local tv. Its a hard bargain

  2. Be aware. I signed up for ESPN+ but it’s not the same as ESPN on TV. Many events are blacked out. For example, the USOpen Tennis at night requires you to validate your TV cable provider in order to watch it. Seems very unfair that you have to have cable TV to watch but you still pay the $4.99 service fee.

  3. 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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