How to Get ESPN and ESPN Plus Without Cable

Explore ESPN and ESPN Plus subscriptions for live sports coverage. Our guide covers ways to watch NHL, MLB, UFC, and soccer on Smart TVs and devices like Roku.

college football on espn+
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Sports fans who want all the live sports and in-depth game analysis from ESPN and ESPN Plus have a variety of cost-effective alternatives, bypassing a pricey cable TV subscription.

This guide aims to break down all your options, but gives some weight to the idea that you may want to watch your favorite sports from the entire family of ESPN networks, or other networks.

The ESPN family of networks includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, SEC Network, SEC Network+, ACC Network, ACCNX, ESPN3, Longhorn Network, and ABC.

How to Get ESPN and ESPN+ Together

For sports fans primarily interested in ESPN and ESPN Plus, and considering cost-effectiveness, Sling TV (Orange plan) is the lowest priced option for getting ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3. Sling Orange is $40 per month. You can get ESPN+ as a standalone subscription for $10.99 per month, and still come out ahead of a cable bundle by paying the lowest price.

However, if a viewer values a more comprehensive package including entertainment and news channels, Hulu Live TV could be a better option despite its higher price, as it includes ESPN, ESPN Plus, and a diverse channel lineup.

OptionServiceMonthly CostKey Channels IncludedTotal Monthly Cost
Budget-FriendlySling TV Orange + ESPN+Sling TV Orange: $40 & ESPN+: $10.99ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, A&E, TNT, Exclusive ESPN+ content (UFC, soccer leagues, NCAA events)$50.99
ComprehensiveHulu Live TV$76.99ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPNews, Disney+, ESPN+, Local channels (NBC, ABC, FOX), CNN, TNT, USA, Unlimited Cloud DVR$76.99
  1. Budget-Friendly Option (Sling TV Orange + ESPN+): For budget-conscious viewers, combining Sling TV’s Orange plan with a standalone ESPN+ subscription offers a balanced approach.
    • Sling TV Orange: At $40 per month, it includes ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3, along with other channels like A&E and TNT. This plan allows streaming on one screen at a time.
    • ESPN+: Adding ESPN+ at $10.99 per month brings exclusive coverage of various sports, including UFC events, soccer leagues, and additional college sports.
    • Total Monthly Cost: $50.99
    • Key Channels Included: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, A&E, TNT, exclusive ESPN+ content (UFC, soccer leagues, NCAA events).
    • Optional Add-On: Sports Extra package for an additional $11 per month for channels like SEC Network, SEC Network+, and ESPNU.
  2. Comprehensive Option (Hulu Live TV): For those seeking a wider range of content including the ESPN family and willing to invest more, Hulu Live TV is a robust choice.
    • Hulu Live TV: Priced at $76.99 per month, it offers a vast array of ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPNews), over 90 other channels, and includes Disney+ and ESPN+.
    • Total Monthly Cost: $76.99
    • Key Channels Included: ESPN networks, Disney+, ESPN+, local channels (NBC, ABC, FOX), CNN, TNT, USA, and unlimited Cloud DVR.

You could combine a standalone ESPN+ subscription with other live TV streaming services, but at a higher cost. Here are all of the live TV streaming services you can combine with ESPN+ to maximize your sports coverage:

I have thoroughly tested every major streaming service available, analyzing their offerings from the perspective of a sports enthusiast. My expertise is grounded in hands-on experience, ensuring you get reliable insights into the best ways to enjoy ESPN and ESPN Plus without cable.


  • Live NCAA football
  • Out-of-market NHL games
  • Live soccer from Serie A, LaLiga
ESPN+$10.99/moHD/1080p – 3 devices
Disney Trio Basic
(with ads)
$14.99/mo.Disney+ up to 4K/Dolby Atmos
Hulu up to 4K
ESPN+ HD/1080p
Disney Trio Premium
(only ESPN+ with ads)
$24.99/mo.Disney+ up to 4K/Dolby Atmos
Hulu up to 4K
ESPN+ HD/1080p
Device support: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast with Google TV along with Smart TVs by Samsung, VIZIO SmartCast, Sony Bravia, PlayStation, XBox, Xfinity Flex and Xumo TV.

ESPN+ offers a diverse range of live sports content, including exclusive coverage of various sports and leagues. ESPN+ is $10.99 per month on its own. 

college football on espn+
College football on ESPN+. (Photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

College sports are well-represented on ESPN+, featuring live broadcasts of football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and more, including NCAA events and conferences. Additionally, the service streams Top Rank Boxing events, providing access to live boxing matches promoted by Top Rank Boxing.

For hockey fans, ESPN+ offers a robust lineup of out-of-market NHL games, including over 1,050 games during the 2023-24 season. Subscribers have the option to choose between two live streams with home or away team commentary. While ESPN+ covers a significant number of NHL games, ESPN itself carries 22 exclusive regular-season NHL games.

One of its prominent offerings is pay-per-view UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) events, where subscribers can watch live fights, and preliminary bouts. 

Subscribers can also stream UFC Fight Nights. Soccer enthusiasts can enjoy live matches from leagues such as the English Championship, Serie A, FA Cup, and MLS, along with original soccer programming.

Baseball enthusiasts can access daily out-of-market MLB games on ESPN+, making it a great choice for keeping up with the baseball season. In addition to these live sports events, ESPN+ provides coverage of select tennis tournaments, including Grand Slam events like the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

While ESPN+ offers a wide range of live sports content, it’s essential to keep in mind that the availability of specific events and programming may vary based on your location and any changes in licensing agreements. 

So, it’s advisable to check the official ESPN+ website or app for the most up-to-date information on the sports content they offer. For the sake of being comprehensive, it’s also worth noting that ESPN+ is available to in two bundle options that don’t include live TV: 

  • Disney Bundle Trio Basic subscription has Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN+ (all with ads) for $14.99 per month.
  • Disney Bundle Trio Premium subscription has Disney Plus and Hulu (no ads) with ESPN+ (with ads) for $19.99 per month.

Hulu + Live TV

  • Sign up & get Disney+ and ESPN+ included
  • Unlimited Cloud DVR (9 mos.)
  • Two simultaneous streams
Hulu + Live TV$76.99/month90+
Device support: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast with Google TV along with Smart TVs by Samsung, VIZIO SmartCast, Sony Bravia, PlayStation, XBox, Xfinity Flex and Xumo TV.

Hulu with Live TV gives you access to ESPN3 and over 90 live TV channels.

To start watching ESPN3 with Hulu Live TV, you need to use the ESPN app. The Live TV plan with Hulu includes ACC Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and ESPNews.

There are plenty of other live TV channels that you would find on cable TV as well. CNN, TNT and USA are included. 

You can stream live TV on up to two screens at once. A subscription costs $76.99 per month, and now includes Disney+ and ESPN+. Hulu with Live TV comes with unlimited Cloud DVR so you can record sports, news, movies or whatever else you want.

Hulu Live TV caters to a wide audience with its blend of sports, entertainment, and news, including ESPN networks. While Hulu Live TV offers a comprehensive package, DIRECTV STREAM might appeal more to those seeking regional sports networks. 

Hulu’s channel lineup also has local NBC, ABC and FOX stations across the U.S.  

Sling TV

  • Half off for first month
  • 50 hours Cloud DVR
  • Simultaneous Streams: 1 to 3 
Blue$40/month41 (Locals included)
Orange + Blue$55/month88
Device support: AirTV Mini, Amazon Echo Show, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast along with Smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony Bravia and VIZIO SmartCast.

Sling TV is still the cheapest way to watch ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.

Sling TV has ESPN3 within its channel lineup, so you don’t have to activate the ESPN app to start watching a college football or basketball game.

The Sling Orange plan has ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, A&E, History and TNT for $40 per month. Sling Orange has about 31 channels total. Subscribers get 50 hours of Cloud DVR. With Sling Orange, you can watch live TV on one screen at a time.

The Sling Blue plan has 40 channels, including Discovery, NFL Network, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, MSNBC, and Stadium, but doesn’t include ESPN.  

You can combine Sling Orange and Sling Blue for $55 per month and add the Sports Extra package to maximize your channel lineup.

Sports fans get to add more channels into the mix. The Sports Extra package adds 15 channels, including ACC Network, ACCNX, NFL RedZone, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, SEC Network+, MLB Network, NBA TV, and ESPNU for $11 per month.

Sling TV is an economical choice for sports lovers who want essential ESPN channels without overspending. In contrast, YouTube TV provides a larger channel selection but at a higher cost. 

Sling TV has apps for Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One and AirTV Player. Use your membership to activate the ESPN app.

There are no contracts, or extra fees like cable TV. 


  • Free trial
  • 1,000 hours Cloud DVR
  • 10 simultaneous streams
Elite $84.99/month255
Premier$94.99/month264 & Showtime
Device support: Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, Xbox One, along with Smart TVs by Hisense, Samsung, LG, Sony Bravia and VIZIO SmartCast TV. Android, iPhones and iPads with current iOS.

Fubo (formerly fuboTV) lets you watch ESPN when you subscribe to its entry-level Pro bundle. 

The Pro bundle has about 182 live TV channels. You can even access ESPN3 through the ESPN app by using your Fubo account credentials.

ESPN, ESPN2, Food network, Fox News, HGTV, Big Ten Network, Disney Junior, and Comedy Central are part of the Pro bundle. HGTV, AMC, Big Ten Network and ACC Network are included in the Pro channel bundle.

Fubo subscribers also get local channels including ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in most areas of the U.S.

There are numerous add-ons and channel options with a Fubo subscription.

The fubo Extra bundle adds 59 more channels for $7.99 per month. It includes NBA TV, INSP, Tennis Channel, MTV Live, MTV Classic, FXM, Pac 12 Networks, and ESPNews.

The Sports Plus bundle adds 32 more channels and costs $10.99 per month. It includes NFL RedZone, all four Stadium networks, Sports Illustrated TV, Golf TV English, Golf TV Spanish, PAC 12 Arizona, PAC 12 Bay Area, PAC 12 Los Angeles, PAC 12 Mountain, PAC 12 Oregon, PAC 12 Washington, FOX College Sports Atlantic, FOX College Sports Pacific, FNTSY, Fight Network and TyC Sports.

All subscribers get 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR storage. You can watch live TV on 10 screens at once. If you miss a game, you can use fubo’s “look back” feature to watch sporting events that aired in the last 72 hours

There are two other main channel plans. The Elite plan has 255 channels, and costs $84.99 per month. It has about 65 more sports, news and entertainment channels. Elite subscribers get all channels that are included with a Pro subscription along with fubo Extra and the News Extra add-ons.

The Premier plan has 264 channels, including Showtime, for $94.99 per month. Premier subscribers get all of the Pro channel bundle alongside Fubo Extra, News Plus and Sports Plus.

The Sports Plus bundle adds 32 more channels and costs $10.99 per month. It includes NFL RedZone, all four Stadium networks, Sports Illustrated TV, Golf TV English, Golf TV Spanish, PAC 12 Arizona, PAC 12 Bay Area, PAC 12 Los Angeles, PAC 12 Mountain, PAC 12 Oregon, PAC 12 Washington, FOX College Sports Atlantic, FOX College Sports Pacific, FNTSY, Fight Network and TyC Sports.

Fubo has a library of on-demand content, including movies and TV shows. Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV and Smart TVs all carry the fubo app.

Fubo is a great option for sports fans who also enjoy a variety of other content, offering a vast channel lineup including ESPN. Compared to DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo offers similar channel diversity but with more emphasis on sports.

Subscribers get 1000 hours of Cloud DVR. You can watch live TV on three screens at once. A subscription costs $74.99 per month. fuboTV has a library of on-demand movies, and TV shows. 

Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Smart TVs all have fuboTV apps so you can watch live sport on TV. 


  • 5-day free trial
  • Unlimited Cloud DVR
  • Unlimited Screens within household
Device support: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast with Google TV along with Smart TVs by Samsung, Sony Bravia

DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) subscribers can access ESPN3 through the ESPN app. 

The Entertainment plan has more than channels for $79.99 per month. Subscribers can watch live TV on unlimited screens within the home.

The DIRECTV STREAM Entertainment package includes a variety of channels. Some of these are A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BET, Cartoon Network East, CMT, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Disney Channel East, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, FOX News Channel, Freeform, FX, FXX, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, History, HLN, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MSNBC, National Geographic Channel, Nickelodeon East, Paramount Network, Syfy, TBS, TLC, TNT, TruTV, USA Network, VH1, and WE tv.

You get unlimited Cloud DVR for recording sports and TV shows. There are more than 40,000 on-demand movies and shows.

The Choice plan has more than 105 channels for $108.99 per month. In the Choice bundle, several channels are included that are not available in the Entertainment bundle. These are ACC Network, Big Ten Network, Cooking Channel, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, and Travel Channel.

The Ultimate package has more than 140 channels. The DIRECTV STREAM Ultimate package includes several channels not found in the Entertainment or Choice bundles. These channels are Cinemax East, FOX Sports 2, fyi, Golf Channel, LMN, LOGO HD, MGM, Nat Geo Wild, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, Oxygen, Revolt, STARZ (East), Sundance TV, Tennis Channel, TVG, and Universal Kids. The Ultimate package is $119.99 per month. 

The Premier Package has over 150 channels. In the DIRECTV STREAM Premier package, there are several exclusive channels not available in the Ultimate, Choice, or Entertainment bundles. These include channels like Boomerang, Destination America, Discovery Family Channel, Discovery Life, HBO (East), HBO 2 East, HBO Comedy East HD, HBO Family East, HBO Latino, HBO Signature East HD, HBO Zone East HD, Starz Cinema East HD, Starz Comedy East HD, Starz Edge East HD, Starz In Black East HD, and Starz Kids & Family. A subscription is $164.99 per month.

DIRECTV STREAM is ideal for viewers who desire a wide-ranging channel selection similar to traditional cable, including ESPN networks. It’s a more comprehensive but costlier alternative to Sling TV. 

All of these channel lineups are virtually identical to DIRECTV satellite service, but with a slight price difference.

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. 

YouTube TV

  • Free trial
  • Unlimited Cloud DVR
  • Three simultaneous streams
YouTube TV$72.99/month128
Device support: Android TV, Google TV, Smart TVs by Samsung, LG, VIZIO, Hisense, Sharp and Sony; Chromecast, Google TV, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation and Google Nest Hub; Android and iOS devices.

YouTube TV has more than 128 channels, and you can stream ESPN live on your TV by using the ESPN app..

A subscription is $72.99 per month. You can watch live TV on three screens at once. Subscribers get unlimited Cloud DVR.

YouTube TV’s Base plan includes 128 live TV channels, although the exact number of channels available to you may vary depending on your location. This will definitely impact which local and regional sports channels are available in your plan.

Some of the channels in the YouTube TV Base plan are A&E, ABC, ABC News, ACC Network, Adult Swim, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BBC World News, beIN Sports, BET, BET Her, Bravo, Big Ten Network, CBS, CBS Sports Network, CNBC, CNBC World, CNN, Cartoon Network, Cheddar, Cheddar News, CMT, Comedy Central, Comedy TV, Comet, Court TV, Cozi TV, and Dabl.

The YouTube TV base plan carries other key sports channels for fans such as ACC Network, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, TNT, TBS, SEC Network, NFL Network, and MLB Network. YouTube TV carries entertainment networks such as Bravo and Disney Junior.

You can create up to 6 profiles for a household per account. The service works with Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield TV, Apple TV and Chromecast. You can get a free 7-day trial, or look over the channel lineup for your area. 

YouTube TV has apps for Smart TVs, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google TV. New customers can sign up for a free trial.

FAQ on ESPN and ESPN Plus

What is the cheapest way to get ESPN?

The most budget-friendly way to access ESPN is through Sling TV’s Orange plan. Priced at $40 per month, it includes ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3, along with a variety of other channels. It’s an economical choice for those specifically seeking ESPN content without the broader spectrum of channels offered by more expensive services.

To link your ESPN Plus account to ESPN, you need to use the ESPN app. After downloading and opening the app on your device, go to the settings and look for the option to log in with your ESPN Plus account. Once logged in, you will have access to ESPN Plus content within the ESPN app.

Can I watch ESPN if I have ESPN Plus?

ESPN Plus does not include live streaming of ESPN cable channels like ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU. It offers additional content such as exclusive sports events, original shows, and documentaries. To watch live ESPN cable channels, you would need a subscription to a live TV streaming service like Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, or DIRECTV STREAM that includes these channels.

Can you add ESPN to ESPN Plus?

ESPN and ESPN Plus are separate services. You cannot add ESPN cable channels directly to an ESPN Plus subscription. However, you can access both services through certain streaming bundles like Hulu Live TV, which offers live ESPN channels and includes ESPN Plus in its package.

How do I get ESPN and ESPN Plus together?

To get both ESPN and ESPN Plus, consider subscribing to a streaming service like Hulu Live TV, which includes live ESPN channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPNews) and bundles ESPN Plus in its package for $76.99 per month. This option provides a comprehensive coverage of both ESPN’s live channels and ESPN Plus’s exclusive content.

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

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