UPDATED Aug. 27, 2021
How to Watch ESPN Live Without Cable
ESPN is available on a number of streaming services, including Hulu+Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV STREAM, Vidgo and fuboTV.
You don’t need cable anymore to watch live sports on ESPN.
There are a number of ways for cord-cutters to stream ESPN without cable TV or a satellite service.
Hulu with Live TV has a robust, 65+ channel lineup, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNews, ESPNU and other must have sports networks like FS1 and FS2. A subscription costs $64.99 per month.
Hulu carries local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX stations across the U.S.
Subscribers 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 TV Everywhere apps. That includes the ESPN 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.
Table of Contents
- How to Watch ESPN Live Without Cable
- Does ESPN+ include an ESPN Live Stream?
- What’s the best way to watch ESPN without cable?
- ESPN on a budget
Sling TV: Streaming ESPN on the cheap
Sling TV is your cheapest option for an ESPN live stream. The Sling Orange plan includes 34 channels including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and entertainment networks like A&E and History.
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 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.
fuboTV: Stream ESPN, ESPN2 live without cable
fuboTV carries ESPN and harder-to-find regional sports networks such as NESN.
The “starter” channel package has 120 channels, including local ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in most areas of the U.S. Food network, HGTV, History, AMC, Big Ten Network and Comedy Central are part of the starter bundle.
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 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.
YouTube TV: Watch ESPN Online
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.
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.
Subscribers get a wide variety of sports channels including Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, and regional NBC Sports networks.
The Choice plan includes three months of HBO Max free before the $14.99-per-month rate kicks in.
Does ESPN+ include an ESPN Live Stream?
ESPN’s new streaming service called ESPN+ shows daily MLB and NHL games and other programs for $6.99 per month. But there’s no ESPN live stream. You can’t watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 or ESPNews on the service.
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, 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 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 $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 $6.98 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 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