ESPN on Roku: 5 Best Ways to Watch Live

I’ll walk you through the essentials of getting ESPN on Roku and share some valuable insights that can be particularly useful for those who are already exploring alternative ways to access cable channels, especially sports channels.

Independently owned and reader-supported, The Cord Cutting Report offers in-depth, hands-on testing of TV-related products and services. Learn about our ethics and review process in our review policy and how we may earn affiliate commissions.

Published: December 28, 2024

You can watch ESPN live on any Roku streaming device or Roku TV. 

Streaming ESPN channels through Roku using a live TV streaming service is a wallet-friendly alternative to a traditional cable subscription. I’ve been putting Roku devices to the test with different live TV streaming services since 2016.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the essentials of getting ESPN on Roku and share some valuable insights that can be particularly useful for those who are already exploring alternative ways to access cable channels, especially sports channels. I will also show you how to add ESPN Plus to any Roku device as well.

ESPN is a specialty channel dedicated to sports that launched on September 7, 1979. ESPN provides a diverse range of live sports, including NFL games featuring Monday Night Football, NBA action, MLB matches, and a variety of college sports like football, basketball, and baseball.

Founded by Bill Rasmussen, the network has grown from a small startup into a sports broadcasting powerhouse, now headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut.

How to Watch ESPN on Roku

For now, the house that Rasmussen built remains a pay television channel. 

The good news is that numerous streaming plans now offer specialty channels that were once exclusive to cable and satellite packages.

Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and Fubo all include pay TV networks covering sports, news, and entertainment. These live TV streaming services also feature ESPN2, ESPN3, Longhorn Network, and other networks owned by The Walt Disney Company. A number of these live TV services offer a free trial.

Roku refers to its apps as “Roku channels.” So, after signing up for a free trial or subscription to a streaming service, you’ll need to add the corresponding Roku channel to your Roku device or Roku Smart TV.

Here’s a simple guide on adding a channel to your Roku device:

  1. Navigate to your Roku Home screen.
  2. Scroll and select the “Streaming Channels” option to access the Roku Channel Store.
  3. Browse or use the search function to find the desired channel. You can explore genres, featured channels, or search for it directly.
  4. Once you locate the channel, select it to view more details.
  5. If it’s a free channel or you already have a subscription, you’ll see an option to add the channel. Choose “Add Channel” to install it on your Roku device.
  6. The channel will now appear on your Home screen, and you can rearrange or remove it later as needed.

How much does ESPN cost on Roku?

Currently, ESPN doesn’t offer a standalone subscription on Roku. You can access the sports network through a live TV streaming service. These services, which include ESPN and other specialty channels, start at $40 per month.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to the ESPN+ streaming service and use the ESPN app to enjoy exclusive live sports, ESPN+ Originals, the complete “30 for 30” library, and more.

Sling TV

Sling TV’s Orange plan is the most budget-friendly way to get ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 on any Roku device, priced at $40 per month. 

This package includes A&E, History, and TNT, totaling 31 channels. Subscribers also receive 50 hours of Cloud DVR and can watch live TV on one screen at a time.

(photo credit: The Cord Cutting Report)

For a wider channel selection, the Sling Blue plan offers 40 channels, featuring Discovery, NFL Network, FOX Sports 1 (FS1), FOX Sports 2 (FS2), and MSNBC. The Blue plan exclusively includes local ABC, NBC, and FOX stations.

You can combine both Sling Orange and Sling Blue for $55 per month. 

You can add the Sports Extra package for $11 per month, which includes 15 channels like ACC Network, ACCNX, NFL RedZone, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, SEC Network+, MLB Network, NBA TV, and ESPNU.


Fubo (formerly fuboTV) offers Roku users multiple ways to access content. Their Fubo Pro bundle provides approximately 189 live TV channels for $79.99 per month.

Sports fans get a variety of sports networks in Pro bundle with channels like ESPN, NFL Network, beIN Sports, and Big Ten Network.

In most markets, Fubo provides access to ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Fubo subscriptions also offer various add-ons and channel choices.

New England Patriots
Fubo has a dedicated section for upcoming NFL games. (Photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

For an additional $7.99 per month, the Fubo Extra bundle adds 59 more channels, including NBA TV, INSP, Tennis Channel, MTV Live, MTV Classic, FXM, Pac 12 Networks, and ESPNews.

If you’re a sports fanatic, the Sports Plus bundle adds 32 more channels for $10.99 per month, featuring NFL RedZone, all four Stadium networks, Sports Illustrated TV, Golf TV (English and Spanish), PAC 12 regional networks, FOX College Sports, FNTSY, Fight Network, and TyC Sports.

All subscribers enjoy 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR storage and can watch live TV on up to 10 screens simultaneously. You can also utilize Fubo’s “look back” feature to catch up on sporting events from the past 72 hours.

Fubo offers two other primary channel bundles. The Elite plan, priced at $89.99 per month, has 255 channels and includes approximately 65 more sports, news, and entertainment channels. Elite subscribers receive all the channels included in the Pro subscription, along with Fubo Extra and News Extra add-ons.

The Premier plan, available for $99.99 per month, offers 264 channels, including Showtime. Premier subscribers get all the channels from the Pro bundle, Fubo Extra, News Plus, and Sports Plus.

Fubo also has a library of on-demand content, including movies and TV shows. You can access the Fubo app on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Smart TVs.

Subscribers benefit from 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR and can watch live TV on 10 screens simultaneously. Fubo apps are available on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Smart TVs, making it easy to enjoy live sports on your television.

Hulu Live TV

Hulu with Live TV has been offering ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 on Roku devices since about 2017. The streaming service now has 90 live TV channels in one TV plan. It provides a diverse range of channels catering to various interests in your household, covering sports, news, entertainment, and local programming.

Sports fans get cable networks like ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, CBS Sports Network, and the Big Ten Network. 

Subscribers can simultaneously stream live TV on two screens for a monthly fee of $76.99, which now includes Disney+ and ESPN+. Hulu with Live TV also provides unlimited Cloud DVR, allowing you to record sports, news, movies, or any other content you desire.

To watch ESPN3 through Hulu Live TV, simply use the ESPN app. Hulu’s channel lineup also includes local NBC, ABC, and FOX stations across the United States.


DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) subscribers can access ESPN on Roku through four different plans.

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.

directv stream local channels
(photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

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, and Discovery Life.

A subscription is $164.99 per month.

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

YouTube TV offers over 128 channels, including live ESPN streaming on Roku and Roku TV, all for just $72.99 a month. 

You can watch live TV on up to three screens simultaneously, and subscribers enjoy unlimited Cloud DVR.

The YouTube TV Base plan features 128 live TV channels, though the specific channel lineup may vary based on your location. Local and regional sports channels available in your plan are determined by your location.

MLB Playoffs
(photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

Included in the YouTube TV Base plan are popular channels like A&E, ABC, ACC Network, Adult Swim, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BBC World News, 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. Additionally, you’ll find essential sports channels such as ACC Network, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, TNT, TBS, SEC Network, NFL Network, and MLB Network, along with entertainment networks like Bravo and Disney Junior.

With YouTube TV, you can create up to six profiles for your household on a single account. The service is compatible with Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast. You can even start with a free 7-day trial or check out the channel lineup available in your area.

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

ESPN Plus on Roku

To access the ESPN app and get ESPN+ on your Roku device, follow these steps:

  1. Use your Roku remote to press the “Home” button, taking you to the main menu.
  2. Scroll down and choose “Streaming Channels” from the menu to open the Roku Channel Store.
  3. In the Channel Store, utilize the search function to locate the “ESPN” app. You can type “ESPN” using the on-screen keyboard.
  4. Click on the ESPN app when you find it in the search results to view more details.
  5. On the ESPN app page, select “Add Channel” to install it on your Roku device. You might need to enter your Roku PIN for confirmation.
  6. After the installation is complete, return to the Roku home screen. Find the ESPN app among your installed channels and select it to open.
  7. Inside the ESPN app, you can either log in if you already have an ESPN+ subscription or activate a new subscription. To log in, enter your ESPN+ credentials. If you need to subscribe, follow the on-screen prompts to sign up for ESPN+.
  8. Once successfully logged in or subscribed, you’ll gain access to ESPN+ content, including exclusive live events, original programming, and more.
  9. Explore the ESPN app further to tailor your sports content preferences, set favorite teams, and enjoy the extensive sports coverage provided by ESPN+.


I spend hundreds of hours throughout the year conducting hands-on testing of streaming services, including Peacock, DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV. I do the same rigorous testing for TV antennas and TV-related hardware. Check out the review policy to see how I compare products and services.The Cord Cutting Report is a reader-supported publication, and may earn affiliate commissions when you pick a streaming service through a recommendation. Read our affiliate policy for more information.

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.

1 thought on “ESPN on Roku: 5 Best Ways to Watch Live”

  1. I use ESPN for tennis. ESPN used to be free for Spectrum internet customers. The service degraded over the years with frequent “Media Not Allowed” messages. So a few years ago I signed to ESPN+ during tennis season. Again, ESPN+ degraded. The alternative is a couple of weekend highlight shows on ABC, if you’re lucky!
    T2 is available as a free Roku live channel with tennis games from the previous year BUT plenty of filler (tennis tips & ads) to annoy you, argh!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.