- How To Stream ESPN
- Ranking The Ways To Stream ESPN
- Frequently Asked Questions About Streaming ESPN
How To Stream ESPN
ESPN is currently covering the NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, and Sunday Night Baseball. It’s a must-have channel for any sports fans. This article covers how you can watch ESPN using live TV streaming services instead of cable. All you need is the following.
- An Internet Connect. I recommend 25 Mbps
- A streaming device like a Roku, Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, or smart TV.
- A Live TV Streaming Service that carries ESPN like one of the following
- DIRECTV STREAM – Carries ESPN and offers a risk-free 5-Day Free Trial. Costs $64.99 per month for your first 3 months and $74.99 each month after.. Their Choice channel plan also provides access to regional sports networks.
- Hulu Live TV – Carries ESPN and is the only service to include ESPN+. Hulu Live TV includes Disney+ and ESPN+ with unlimited DVR storage for $69.99/month. (Sign up)
- Sling TV Orange Plan – After a short blackout due to a carriage fee dispute, ESPN is back on Sling TV as the most affordable way to watch ESPN without cable. Sling Orange costs $40 per month and get your first month $10 off
- YouTube TV – Provides a free trial when signing up. the Service costs $72.99 per month after the trial
In this article, I will also cover these options for watching ESPN without cable and others like fuboTV and Vidgo. I rank each streaming service on its strengths to help you find the best streaming service for you or any sports fan that wants to watch ESPN without breaking the bank.
Ranking The Ways To Stream ESPN
The Cheapest Way to Watch ESPN is with Sling TV’s Orange Plan or Vidgo. However, if you are looking for the most ESPN branded channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, etc.), then Hulu Live TV is your best option as they are the only service to include ESPN+ with the ESPN family of channels. However, they don’t have Longhorn Network (LHN.) DIRECTV STREAM and Sling TV are the only streaming services with LHN. DIRECTV STREAM, fuboTV, and YouTube TV provide ESPN and have a free trial, so those are excellent choices to try streaming ESPN. Each service has its strengths. Below, I compare and rank them all in regard to how they stack up to streaming ESPN, ESPN2, and other sports channels.
1. Hulu Live TV
Price: Hulu Live TV includes Disney+ and ESPN+ with unlimited DVR storage for $69.99/month. (Sign up).
We Rank Hulu #1 when it comes to streaming ESPN. A subscription to Hulu Live TV provides live ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ACC Network, SEC Network, and more for $69.99/month. You can also use your Hulu Live TV credentials to watch ESPN3 on the ESPN app. Hulu Live TV is also the only live tv streaming service that includes ESPN+. That was enough to push it to number 1.
Sports Channels on Hulu Live TV
In addition to ESPN, Hulu Live TV’s channel lineup includes ACC Network, BTN, CBS Sports Network, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, Golf Channel, MotorTrend, NFL Network, Olympic Channel, SEC Network, TBS, TNT, and USA Network. A subscription to Hulu Live TV also provides access to ESPN+ and ESPN3 through the ESPN App, which I will explain how to use in the FAQ at the end of this article. Hulu Live TV also includes the following regional sports networks if live in their broadcast area: NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Washington, and SportsNet NY.
Hulu Live TV Features
A subscription to Hulu Live TV includes the following features:
- over 60 channels, including live ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS, in most of the country. You can see all the Hulu Live TV Channels available in your Zip code
- A subscription to Hulu Live TV includes ESPN+ and Disney+
- Unlimited cloud DVR storage. (Recordings save for 9 months)
- stream to two streams at the same time, with an upgrade option for unlimited streams.
- The Hulu on-demand streaming library
- Hulu is available on Android, iOS, Xbox One, 4th Gen Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV and stick.
Why Use Hulu Live TV for ESPN
The inclusion of ESPN+ and Hulu’s vast on-demand library makes Hulu Live TV an excellent option for streaming ESPN. If you live in one of the areas where Hulu Live TV carries a regional sports network, then it’s likely your best streaming service for sports. Please see our review of Hulu Live TV for more information.
2. Sling TV Orange Plan
Price: Sling Orange costs $40 per month. Currently the first month is $10 off (Sign up).
Sling TV’s Orange plan comes in at number 2 due to its affordability. The plan allows you to watch ESPN for a price of $40 per month. Sling’s Orange plan also provides access to ESPN2 and ESPN3. However, if you want access to ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, and ESPNews, you will need to add the Sports Extra add-on Package for an additional $11 per month.
Sports Channels On Sling Orange
In addition to ESPN, the Sling Orange Channel lineup includes Barstool Sports, ESPN2, MotorTrend, TNT, TBS, and Stadium. While the lineup looks a bit light, you can add more sports channels through the Sports Extra channel add-on for $11 a month or get both the Sling Orange and Blue Plans for just $55 per month. That’s still cheaper than any other streaming service that carries ESPN. Adding the Blue plan will bolster your sports lineup with channels like FS1, NFL Network, and USA Network.
Sling TV Features
Aside from being the most affordable way to watch ESPN, Sling also provides the following features:
- access to ESPN, AMC, HGTV, A&E, and many more top channels
- no contract is required, so you can cancel at any time
- Sling TV also offers on-demand when available from a network
- includes 50 hours of cloud DVR storage
- supports Windows and Mac PCs and laptops, Android and iOS devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Nexus player, Xbox One, Apple TV, Chromecast, LG TV, Mi Box, Samsung TV, TiVo, Vizio, and more.
- Sling TV’s Orange Plan only allows you to stream on 1 device.
Why Choose Sling Orange for ESPN
The best reason to use Sling TV’s Orange plan to watch ESPN is affordability. At $40 per month, it’s half the price of Hulu Live TV. However, it doesn’t have its drawbacks, like only providing access to ESPN on one device at a time. The price is amazing, but its affordability doesn’t come without some sacrifices. See our Sling TV review for more details on this service.
3. DIRECTV STREAM
Price: DIRECTV STREAM offers a risk-free 5-Day Free Trial. Costs $64.99 per month for your first 3 months and $74.99 each month after..
Coming in at number 3 is DIRECTV STREAM. ESPN is channel 206 on DIRECTV whether you subscribe to DIRECTV Stream or have a DIRECTV Satellite package. You can watch ESPN and ESPN2 as part of their “Entertainment” package for $74.99 per month. That plan includes local network channels like ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox as well. If you upgrade to their “Choice” package for $99.99 per month, you will have access to ESPNU, ESPNews, ACC Network, ESPN3 (through the ESPN app,) and SEC Network. Direct TV’s biggest selling points are access to nearly every Regional Sports Network on the “Choice” channel plan and allowing you to stream on up to 20 devices on all their channel plans. This will save you a lot of money if you have several TVs in your house and also want to stream on mobile devices.
Sports Channels on DIRECTV STREAM
DIRECTV STREAM’s Entertainment channel plan includes ESPN along with ESPN2, FS1, MotorTrend, TBS, TNT, and USA Network. If you upgrade to the Choice Plan for $99.99 per month, you also get ACCN, BTN, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, MLB Network, NBA TV, SEC Network, and Tennis Channel HD.
DIRECTV STREAM’s Choice channel lineup also adds all the major regional sports networks except for NBC Sports Philidelphia. Therefore, you receive the following RSN channels provided you live in their broadcast area: Altitude, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, Bally Sports Arizona, Bally Sports Detroit, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Great Lakes, Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, Bally Sports North, Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports San Diego, Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, Bally Sports Southwest, Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports West, Bally Sports Wisconsin, Marquee Sports Network, The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), MSG Network, NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, New England Sports Network, Root Sports Northwest, Spectrum Sports, SportsNet New York, and YES Network.
If you are looking for more sports, NHL Network, FS2, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel, the Sportsman Channel, and CBS Sports are available through their “Ultimate Plan” for $109.99 per month
DIRECTV STREAM Features
All DIRECTV STREAM plans include:
- the ability to watch on 20 devices at the same time
- unlimited cloud-based DVR (recordings are kept for up to 9 months)
- channels like ESPN, AMC, HGTV, Discovery, and more
- supported on Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Amazon FireTV, and more
Why Use DIRECTV STREAM for ESPN
While DIRECTV STREAM does a decent job when it comes to streaming sports networks like ESPN, it really shines in its “Choice” Plan. Access to regional sports networks in most of the country provides a way to watch your favorite MLB Team, NBA Team, NHL Team, and MLS Team. It sits at #3, due to its regional sports coverage in its choice plan and its ability to stream on up to 20 devices at once. That could save you a ton of money in a multi-TV/mobile device house. That said, if you live in the Philidelphia area (where DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t carry an RSN) or don’t want your regional sports network, you may be better off going with Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, or even our #4 ranked service. For more information, check out our review of DIRECTV STREAM.
Go To DIRECTV STREAM’s Website
4. YouTube TV
Price: YouTube TV costs $72.99 per month and offers a free trial. They are currently giving $10 a month off your first three months..
YouTube TV comes in at the 4th best way to stream ESPN. YouTube TV has ESPN in its channel lineup along with ESPN 2, ESPNU, ESPNews, and more for a cost of $72.99 per month. YouTube TV provides a slightly better channel lineup than DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu Live TV. While it’s also slightly cheaper, the service didn’t really have anything special like an amazing on-demand section, ESPN+, RSNs, or the ability to stream on 20 devices at once. However, if those things don’t appeal to you, YouTube TV has a better sports channel lineup than any service in the top 3. You can also check your Zip Code on YouTube TVs Website to see the available channels in your area.
Other Sports Channels on YouTube TV
In addition to ESPN, YouTube TV carries ACC Network, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, SEC Network, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, FS1, FS2, Golf Channel, MLB Network, MotorTrend, NBA TV, NFL Network, Olympic Channel, TBS, TNT, and USA Network. Like Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV carries the following regional sports networks if live in their broadcast area: NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston ,NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Washington, SportsNet NY.
YouTube TV Features
A subscription to YouTube TV includes the following:
- access to ESPN, Local Network Channels, and over 70 other channels
- unlimited cloud DVR storage
- stream on three devices at once
- YouTube TV supports Android, iOS, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, and more. The YouTube TV app has also returned to Roku devices after settling a dispute between the two companies.
- Includes YouTube TV on-demand
Why Use YouTube TV to Watch ESPN
If channel lineup is your focus, YouTube TV is likely the best choice. While it sits at #4, it arguably has a better channel lineup than DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu Live TV, and it is slightly more affordable than those services. It doesn’t have something that sets it apart as those services did. That said, it performs much better than its rank at number 4 suggests. It will not disappoint sports fans. Check out my review of YouTube TV for all the details and channels available on the service.
Price: FuboTV costs $74.99 per month and offers a 1-week free trial.
Coming in the 5th spot is FuboTV. Its 5th place showing is mainly due to being priced like a top-tier service (Hulu Live TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and YouTube TV), but under scrutiny, it doesn’t stack up to those services. While fuboTV includes ESPN, ESPN2, ACC Network, SEC Network, and over 90 channels (including local networks) in its Pro Plan for $74.99 per month, it’s missing some key channels like TBS and TNT. However, you to can use your fuboTV login to watch ESPN3 through the ESPN app. FuboTV also throws in ESPNU and ESPNews when upgrading to their FuboTV Elite channel plan for $84.99 per month.
Other Sports Channels on fuboTV
In addition to ESPN, fuboTV’s Pro Plan includes beIN Sports, beIN SPORTS Xtra, beIN Sports Español, BTN, CBS Sports Network, ESPN2, FOX Deportes, FS1, FS2, fubo Sports Network, Galavision, Golf Channel, MotorTrend, NFL Network, Olympic Channel, Origin Sports Network, Pac-12 Insider, Swerve Sports, TUDN, and USA Network.
You can upgrade to the fuboTV Elite PLan to add channels like ACC Network, ESPNU, ESPNews, GINX Esports, MLB Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, Pac-12 Networks, SEC Network, Stadium, Tennis Channel, and Zona Futbol. The cost is $84.99 per month
Below are features included with the FuboTV “Starter” package:
- ESPN and more are available in fuboTV’s channel lineup. FuboTV recently added Bally Sports RSNs
- You can watch on three screens at the same time
- 4K video on certain live events.
- Stream on unlimited devices in the home and 10 devices on the go
- 250 hours of cloud DVR storage
- The FuboTV app is available on major platforms, including Apple TV, AndroidTV, Roku, and Amazon FireTV.
Why Use fuboTV to Watch ESPN
FuboTV ranks one spot from the bottom because its price makes me want to compare it to Hulu Live TV, DIRECTV STREAM, or YouTube TV when its channel lineup isn’t much better than our last-place service. That said, it’s priced higher, so I can’t give it points for value. However, what fuboTV does do well is college sports and world soccer, which I do recommend using fuboTV for. So it does fill a niche. Please check out our review of FuboTV for more details.
Price: Vidgo costs $69.99 per month. (Sign up).
Coming in last place, Vidgo is a newer streaming service that offers fairly competitive pricing over other live streaming services. Vidgo includes ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN2, ESPN3 (through the ESPN app,) and ESPNews in its “English Plus” package, along with over 60 other channels. New customers can sign up for the Core Plan for $69.99 per month.
Other Sports Channels on Vidgo
In addition to ESPN, Vidgo’s English Plus Plan provides ACC Network, beIN Sports, Big Ten Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Galavision, Longhorn Network, MavTV, MLB Network, MOTOR TREND, NFL Network, NHL Network, Pac-12 Arizona, Pac-12 Bay Area, Pac-12 Los Angeles, Pac-12 Mountain, Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Oregon, Pac-12 Washington, Paramount Network, SEC Network, Stadium, and TUDN
A subscription to Vidgo Includes the following:
- Vidgo doesn’t force you into a contract, and you can cancel at any time
- Stream on 3 devices simultaneously
- Over 70 channels, including ESPN
- Vidgo is supported on available on Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV. You can also stream the service on up to 3 devices at the same time.
- DVR is only for a trial basis unless you upgrade to their English Premium package for $72.99 per month
Why Use Vidgo to Watch ESPN
Vidgo sits at the bottom of the list because it lacks a DVR in its basic package, and when you upgrade to the plan with a DVR, they only provide you with 20 hours of storage. They also only carry Fox and ABC, and only in certain parts of the county, so you miss out on CBS and NBC. They are also missing USA Network, TBS, and TNT. That said, if you are looking for a streaming service for college sports, then Vidgo may be your best option. Take another look at their channel lineup, and you’ll notice they are perfect for watching college football. If college sports aren’t a priority, then I would go with one of the higher-ranked streaming services. If you want to learn more, we have the full details on this service in our guide to Vidgo’s live streaming service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Streaming ESPN
Below are some questions that often come up about watching ESPN.
Can I Stream ESPN For Free
While you can’t permanently watch ESPN for free, you can watch ESPN for free for a short time using any of the free trials from streaming services that provide ESPN Right now!
- DIRECTV STREAM – Has ESPN and provides a 5-day free trial
- FuboTV – Has ESPN and provides a free trial
- YouTube TV – Has ESPN and provides a free trial
If you cancel the free trial before it expires, you won’t be charged for your first month of service. Therefore, by juggling the free trials, you can watch ESPN for free, at least for a few weeks.
Is The ESPN App Free
It doesn’t cost any money to download and install the ESPN app on your Roku, Fire TV or other streaming devices. However, the ESPN app requires you to log in with your credentials from a TV Provider that has ESPN in their lineup. In fact, any ESPN branded network, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, and any ESPN branded cable channel included in your TV provider’s channel lineup can be viewed through the ESPN app. Your username and password to your subscription to Sling TV Orange Plan, Hulu Live TV, DIRECTV STREAM, YouTube TV, fuboTV, or Vidgo count as a valid TV provider in the ESPN app. Therefore, you have to pay for one of these services to use the ESPN app.
You can use the ESPN app on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS, and Android devices. You can watch the following channels through the ESPN app: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN+, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, SEC Network, SEC Network+, Longhorn Network, ACC Network Extra, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, and ESPN Bases Loaded Networks.
The ESPN app is also how you watch ESPN+ (ESPN’s premium service) and watch alongside content on ESPN. See how to link ESPN+ in the ESPN app to learn how this is done. Linking your TV provider and EPSN+ in the ESPN app is the best way to watch something like a tournament airing on multiple ESPN networks, as you can watch all events from the tournament airing on various ESPN channels in the same app.
How Do I Log In To The ESPN App
Once you subscribe to one streaming service in the article, you can watch through the streaming service’s app. For example, ESPN is available to watch through the Live TV section of Hulu’s app. However, you can also watch all the ESPN branded channels in their lineup through the ESPN App on your supported device. Below are the steps to unlock your ESPN channels on Roku. Other streaming devices have a very similar process.
- Go to the channel store on your device.
- Please search for the ESPN app, and add it to your device.
- Open the app, and click the setting gear from the top right of the menu.
- Then select “Account Information” and then “TV Provider.”
- Your Roku device will provide an activation code and the URL https://espn.com/active.
- Using a web browser on your laptop or mobile device, go to https://espn.com/active and enter the supplied code.
- You will then be asked for the TV provider you signed up for that has ESPN. You will then log into the service using the credentials from the TV streaming service you are subscribed to. ( For example, I used my Hulu credentials)
- Once you successfully log in, The ESPN App screen will refresh and list your TV provider.
- The ESPN app is now set up. In the ESPN app, you should be able to go to “Browse,” then “Channels” and watch any channels listed that your TV streaming service provides. (Hulu, in My case)
How Do I Change TV Providers in The ESPN App
If you have a valid TV provider in the ESPN app and want to switch to another TV provider or even another account for the same provider, follow these steps.
- Open the ESPN app, and click the setting gear from the top right of the menu.
- Then select “Account Information”
- Your existing TV Provider logo should show next to “TV Provider.”
- Tap or click “TV Provider,” then click sign out
- Your TV Provider Logo should no longer appear next to “TV Provider.”
- Tap or click “TV Provider” again
- On a streaming device like a Roku, you may be supplied a code. Using a web browser on your laptop or mobile device, go to https://espn.com/active and enter the supplied code. If you are already doing this on the ESPN mobile app, you can ignore this step.
- You will then be asked for your TV provider. Select the provider you want to use and log in.
- Your new TV provider is now linked in the ESPN App.
Linking your TV provider allows you to access to any content on ESPN branded channels you have access to on the streaming service (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, etc.) available through the ESPN app.
Is ESPN on Peacock
No, ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company. Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal. Therefore ESPN is not available on Peacock. Even though ESPN is owned by Disney, ESPN is not available on Disney+. However, you can get access to ESPN, Disney+, and ESPN+ with a subscription to Hulu Live TV (sign up).
For information on watching other TV channels online check out: How To Stream Specific TV Channels
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