UPDATED January 3, 2022
There are a number of ways for cord-cutters to watch ESPN without cable TV or a satellite service.
Hulu with Live TV now includes ESPN+ and Disney+ for $69.99 per month. So you don’t have to go through the process of bundling them anymore.
Table of Contents
- How to Watch ESPN on Roku, Fire TV or Smart TV
- Is ESPN on YouTube TV?
- Does ESPN+ include ESPN?
- What’s the best way to watch ESPN without cable?
How to Watch ESPN on Roku, Fire TV or Smart TV
A Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Fire Stick or Apple TV will do the job. Most of these services have a free trial that lasts a week without any obligation.
Just remember to cancel before the trial ends if you decide that the streaming service isn’t for you.
Sling TV: Watch ESPN on the cheap
A subscription 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.
There are no hidden fees or contracts if you decide to keep the service. You can even use your subscription to activate the ESPN app on any device. Sling TV will also give you a free streaming device if you pay for a brief subscription.
fuboTV: Stream ESPN, ESPN2 live without cable
Subscribers get 250 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 Smart TVs all carry the fuboTV app.
Fubo has mobile apps for iPhone and Android so you can watch ESPN live on your smartphone. Subscribers can also watch live TV through their web browser.
Hulu with Live TV (now with ESPN+ and Disney+)
Hulu with Live TV has 75+ live TV channels, including FOX, ESPN, A&E, History, TBS, TNT and USA.
You can watch live TV on up to two screens at once.
Hulu with Live TV comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR so you can record sports, news, movies or whatever else you want.
With a recent price change of $69.99 per month, a subscription now includes Disney+ and ESPN+.
So you’re getting more than just live TV channels to watch.
Hulu’s channel lineup also has local NBC, ABC and FOX stations across the U.S. Hulu no longer offers a free trial for live TV, but you can look over the channel lineup before deciding whether to sign up.
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.
DIRECTV STREAM: ESPN and Bally Sports Networks
DIRECTV STREAM is the only live TV streaming service that carries ESPN and regional Bally Sports Networks. Across most of the U.S., that combination of sports networks is important if you’re a fan of your local Major League Baseball team.
The Choice plan, which carries 90+ channels, is $84.99 per month. When you sign up, you can subscribe month to month and cancel whenever you want.
A&E, ESPN2 and USA Network are included in the channel lineup. You get 20 hours of Cloud DVR and 40,000 on-demand movies and shows. You can watch live TV on up to 20 screens at once.
Subscribers get three months of HBO Max, Showtime, Cinemax and EPIX for free before the monthly rates kick in.
DIRECTV STREAM works on Roku, Android TV, Fire TV devices, Apple TV and smartphones and tablets. Subscriptions run month to month and so you can cancel whenever you want.
Is ESPN on YouTube TV?
Yes. ESPN was among a dozen Disney-owned channels that were briefly removed from YouTube TV on Dec. 18 due to a contract dispute. A day later the contract dispute was resolved and the channels were restored.
YouTube TV has 85+ channels for $64.99 per month.
ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network are 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 ESPN?
No. ESPN+ is a standalone streaming service that has daily MLB and NHL games and other programs for $6.99 per month. The service does not get you the ESPN cable networks, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 or ESPNews.
But you can watch a hundreds of exclusive college basketball games and UFC events.
What’s the best way to watch ESPN without cable?
There’s a lot of choices out there. So 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 carries local FOX, ABC, NBC and CBS stations. So you won’t have to worry about missing nationally televised games that appear on the big four networks.
A subscription costs $69.99 per month, and includes Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu’s on-demand service.
You’ll get other live TV channels, including 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.
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 discounted streaming device if you sign up for a brief subscription.
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