There are a number of ways for cord-cutters to watch ESPN without cable TV or a satellite service.
Table of Contents
- How to Watch ESPN on Roku, Fire TV or Smart TV
- Sling TV: Cheapest way to watch ESPN
- fuboTV: Stream ESPN, ESPN2 live without cable
- Hulu with Live TV (now with ESPN+ and Disney+)
- Vidgo: ESPN Live Stream Without Cable
- DIRECTV STREAM: ESPN and Bally Sports Networks
- Is ESPN on YouTube TV?
- Does ESPN+ include ESPN?
- Can I watch ESPN live on Amazon Prime?
- Can I live stream ESPN for free?
- 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: Cheapest way to watch ESPN
Sling TV is currently your cheapest option to watch ESPN live through streaming. The Sling Orange plan includes 32 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 activate the ESPN app after you sign up for service.
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 $69.99 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 unlimited Cloud DVR so you can record sports, news, movies or whatever else you want.
A subscription costs $69.99 per month, and 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 110+ 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 $89.99 per month. You can sign up for a free 5-day trial without any obligations.
Subscribers can get three months of HBO Max, Showtime, Cinemax and EPIX for free before the monthly rates kick in.
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.
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.
You can look over the different channel lineups before deciding whether to sign up.
Is ESPN on YouTube TV?
Yes. YouTube TV has 85+ channels, including ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU for $64.99 per month.
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.
Can I watch ESPN live on Amazon Prime?
No. ESPN is available only through a cable provider, or a live TV streaming service. DIRECTV STREAM, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, Vidgo and YouTube TV all include ESPN in their channel lineups.
Can I live stream ESPN for free?
ESPN, the cable network, is not free. The ESPN app (formerly the WatchESPN app) is free to download. However, you need to activate the app as a cable subscriber or through a live TV streaming service to watch live sports.
ESPN+ subscribers also get specific live sporting events that are exclusive to the service.
What’s the best way to watch ESPN without cable?
Sling TV is the cheapest way to watch ESPN and it is an overall solid budget option at $35 per month. ESPN is available under the Sling Orange plan. You can check the latest offer Sling TV is making to new and returning customers.
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.
For MLB fans who need a regional Bally Sports network, DIRECTV STREAM is the a better pick for the 2022 season. You can sign up for a free 5-day trial and see if the service is a good fit.
The best thing about live streaming is that – unlike cable – you can easily cancel online anytime without any penalties or obligation.
* 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