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 $54.99 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 $30 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 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.

You can try fuboTV free for a week, or look over the channel lineup for your area. 

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 Core bundle has 68 channels, including Big Ten Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNU, ESPN2 and ESPNews. A subscription costs $45 per month.

Subscribers get local FOX and ABC affiliates in some markets. You can look over the Core bundle’s channel lineup or the 90+ channels on the Plus package

Vidgo offers a free 3-day trial. It has apps for Roku, Apple TV, Fire Stick and Android TV.

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.

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.

There will be a huge number 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 $54.99 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.)

Sling TV is a solid budget option because you can get ESPN for $30 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 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.

For more news on streaming, how-to guides and reviews, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report or follow the CCR on Google News.

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

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  1. I am also a PSVue subscriber, and have been searching for an alternative. I settled on SlingTV. I’ve always used an Antenna for NFL games. My antenna is routed through my Apple TV using an HD Homerun device and the Channels Apps, so switching from streaming to Antenna is seamless. An much better for sports – I’m able to use a cheap $14 flat panel antenna in Centennial, CO. You can also use Locast for local networks.

  2. Is there any service that carries both the NFL Network with the Red Zone and all of the ESPN’s? I’ve tried Hulu, Fubo, etc. and none of them carries both. And with the loss of PS Vue (which we’ve had for a long time) later this month, I’m at a loss. Even if I have to stream ESPN or the NFL Network separately, I would. But they are not stand alone subscription apps. I have ESPN+, which is great, but we just missed an NFL playoff game because ESPN+ doesn’t carry the NFL live stream. And I definitely don’t want to go back to Spectrum in any way (except for WiFi).
    Any advice?

    • Hey Ron,

      I’m pretty sure you can get ESPN, NFL Network and NFL RedZone with Sling TV. You will need to get the Sports Extra bundle. Sling Orange carries ESPN channels. But you may need to combine it with Sling Blue as well to get everything you want. Your cost would be pretty close to what you were paying with PS Vue or fuboTV.

      Keep in mind that most of the remaining NFL playoff games are on CBS, NBC and FOX. Sling TV won’t really help you there. You should use an online tool like AntennaWeb to see if you are within range of broadcast towers, so you can get coverage for local channels. Hope that helps.

  3. There’s no 7-Day Free Trial for Sling TV anywhere on their site. I followed the link you posted, but all they offer is $10 off on the first month’s service, not even close to a free trial…

  4. Hey Vicki, I don’t know what conference games you are trying to watch, but you should use your Hulu Live account to activate the ESPN app on your streaming device. The ESPN app will simulcast a number of games that are broadcast on ABC. Also, ESPN3 — which is in your channel lineup — will carry some games. I would also investigate whether you can get ABC using a TV antenna. Use the antenna guide at the top of the page to figure out whether you can get local channels with a TV antenna. Good luck!

  5. I need help. We have Hulu + Live. When we cut the cord we were to get all the major networks which was important because of sports. After we cut the cord, we found that we can not get ABC in our area for some reason. There are many college games that are carried on ABC. I know ESPN and ABC are affiliated. Can we stream live ABC games from the ESPN website? Thanks!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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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