UPDATED on January 27, 2021
How to Watch ESPN Without Cable
A number of streaming services now provide live TV and carry the ESPN. They include AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, Vidgo and YouTube TV. The live TV streaming services work on Google Chromecast with Google TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and various Smart TVs.
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 cordhas 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.
Hulu with Live TV is the best option for most people at $64.99 per month. It has a robust, 65+ channel lineup, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNews, 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 41 apps. That includes the ESPN 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.
Hulu + Live TV has a free 7-day trial. Even if you already subscribe to Hulu on demand, you can get the free trial for live TV.
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 $35 per month. Subscribers get 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 3-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 ESPN app on any device. Sling TV will also give you a free streaming device if you pay for a brief subscription.
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.
fuboTV has ESPN Networks
fuboTV added ESPN and a number of other networks to its 100+ channel lineup.
The change means you’ll have ESPN, ESPN2, SEC Network and ACC Network.
fuboTV has local channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in most areas of the U.S.
Food network, HGTV, History, AMC, Big Ten Network and Comedy Central are included in the standard channel package.
Subscribers get 30 hours of Cloud DVR. If you miss a game, you can use fuboTV’s “look back” feature to watch sporting events that aired in the last 72 hours.
A subscription costs $64.99 per month. fuboTV has a library of on-demand movies, and TV shows. Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV devices all have fuboTV apps so you can watch live sport on TV.
There are mobile devices for iPhone and Android, and you can watch on your web browser.
Vidgo: ESPN Live Stream Without Cable
Vidgo lets you live stream ESPN on a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and iPhone.
If you’re someone who like to weigh in online during sporting events, Vidgo’s mobile app is worth a try because you can participate in ‘watch parties’ for TV shows and sporting events.
The live TV service has 85+ channels, including Big Ten Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNU, ESPN2 and ESPNews.
Subscribers get local FOX and ABC affiliates in some markets.
When you sign up for Vidgo, you’ll pay only $10 per month for the first two months. The regular price is $55 per month.
Watch ESPN Online with YouTube TV
YouTube TV has an impressive lineup of 85+ channels for $64.99 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.
The service works with Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield TV, Apple TV and Chromecast. Try out YouTube TV free for a week.
AT&T TV has ESPN and FOX Sports Networks
AT&T TV is the only live TV service that carries ESPN and regional Fox Sports Networks.
The Choice plan, which carries 90+ channels, is $84.99 per month. AT&T TV now offers a no contract option so you can subscribe month to month and cancel whenever you want.
A subscription gets you a free year of HBO Max (usually $14.99 per month), and a free year of NBA League Pass Premium (usually $250).
Subscribers get a wide variety of sports channels including Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, and regional NBC Sports networks.
If you do sign up, you should know that you have to choose the “no contract” option during the account setup process. It’s not automatic.
If you opt for a two year contract, then the price drops to $69.99 per month for the Choice plan.
Does ESPN+ include an ESPN Live Stream?
ESPN’s new streaming service called ESPN+ shows daily MLB and NHL games and other programs for $5.99 per month. But there’s no ESPN live stream. You can’t watch ESPN2, ESPN3 or ESPNews on the service.
But you can watch a hundreds of exclusive college basketball games and UFC events.
This year, ESPN+ will live stream 1500 college basketball games from 17 conferences.
So if you’re a college basketball fan or want to see a UFC event in the near future, trying out ESPN for just $5.99 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 $64.99 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 65+ 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. Hulu + Live TV has a free 7-day trial. Even if you already subscribe to Hulu on-demand, you can still try out Hulu’s Live TV plan free for a week.
(Note: Bundling Hulu + Live TV with Disney+ and ESPN+ saves you $5.99 per month.)
ESPN on a budget
Sling TV is a solid budget option because you can get ESPN for $35 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 $50 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 3-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.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble