This is the most comprehensive article you will find on the web for watching live sports without having to pay for a cable TV or satellite subscription. When watching live sports without cable, there are a few different types of channels you need depending on the sport you are watching. They are:
- Local Network Channels like ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS.
- Regional Sports Networks like Bally Sports, AT&T Sports Net, NBC Regional Sports Networks, and more
- Cable Channels like ESPN, FS1, MLB Network, etc
Not only does this article cover which streaming services carry those sports channels, but links to guides on watching each specific sport including MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, College Football and Basketball, and much more. Read on to learn how to watch sports without cable.
How To Watch Each Sport
If you are looking for information on watching a particular sport or channel, I recommend reading the relevant article in the list below.
- How To Watch Major League Baseball
- Watch NFL Without Cable
- Watch NHL without Cable
- How To Watch Soccer
- How To Watch FIA Racing (F1, F2, and F3)
- How To Watch The NBA
- Watching College Football without Cable
- Watching College Basketball without Cable
- Watching UFC Online
- Watching NASCAR without Cable
- How To Get Around Sports TV Black-Out
Best TV Streaming Services for Sports
Most basic sports channels, like ESPN and FS1, can be found on live streaming services like Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV, DIRECTV Stream, and Sling. When it comes to the best live TV streaming service for sports, you want to look for the one that meets the following requirements:
- Do they carry my local broadcast channels? This is important as a lot of live sports air on CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC.
- Do they carry your regional sports network? This is a must-have for many sports fans
- Do they carry national sports and college sports channels like ESPNU, Fox Sports College, ACC Network, etc?
DIRECTV Stream, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube TV are easily your best options if you want the most sports channels and the best chance of getting your local network channels. However, DIRECTV Stream is also great for RSNs. Yet, they are only available on the DIRECTV Stream “Choice” plan at $84.99 per month. There is a channel chart below covering all sports channels and the streaming services that offer them. But first, let’s take at some of the best live TV streaming services for sports.
Sports on DIRECTV Stream
Cost: $69.99 per month for their “Entertainment” package which will carry your basic sports channels like ESPN, FS1, etc. However, if you really want the sports DIRECTV Stream offers you will need their “Choice” package, which you will need for regional sports and more niche sports channels. The Choice plan will cost $69.99 per month. You can take a closer look at their service on this promo page.
Local Channels: Covers ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and more in most TV markets.
Regional Sports: Easily the best service to watch your regional sports networks. DIRECTV Stream is the only service to carry Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum SportsNet LA. They also carry most of the NBC and Bally Sports RSNs (Formerly Fox Sports Regional Networks)
Major Cable Sports Channels: DIRECTV Stream provides access to ESPN2, FS1, FS2, TBS, TNT, NBCSN, and more. Most of those are available in their more affordable “Entertainment” packages at $69.99 per month. However, you will lose out on Regional Sports and many other sports networks.
Where AT&T TV Comes up Short: The most significant mark against DIRECTV Stream is the expense. While it’s considerably more expensive, it’s one of the only streaming services that will provide certain areas with their regional sports network.
Check out our Detailed Guide to DIRECTV Stream for more information on their service.
Sports on Hulu Live TV
Cost: $64.99 per month (try Hulu Live TV)
Local Channels: Hulu offers live FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC in nearly all US markets. It’s tied with YouTube TV for local channel coverage. You can check your zip code with Hulu to see which local channels are available in your area.
Regional Sports Networks: Hulu carries the NBC regional sports networks and SportsNet NY. The page where you can check your zip code with Hulu will also show you which RSNs are offered in your area.
Where Hulu Comes up Short: Hulu is missing the pro sports channels like MLB TV, NBA TV, NHL TV, and NFL network. Hulu also doesn’t carry Fox College Sports channel or the Pac-12 Network.
Check out our Detailed Guide to Hulu for more information on their service.
Sports on Fubo TV
Cost: Starts at $64.99 per month. Try a free trial to FuboTV
Local Channels: Has decent nationwide coverage for CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC,
Regional Sports: FuboTV has the NBC RSNs but not Fox RSNs. However, they due to carry a few AT&T SportsNet RSNs, MSG Network, and a few others.
Major Cable Sports Channels: FuboTV has just about every sports network you can name. For $64.99 per month, they provide access to NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 (Through the ESPN app), FS1, FS2, SEC Network, ACC Network, BEIN Sports, BTN (Big Ten Network), PAC-12 Network, and more. Fubo TV also allows you to add ESPNEWS, ESPN-U, MLB Network, NHL Network, and more with add-on channel packages.
Where FuboTV Comes up Short: The only major flaw is they lack access to Bally Sports RSNs.
Check out our Detailed Guide to FuboTV for more information on their service.
Sports on YouTube TV
Local Channels: Also at the top with Hulu + Live TV on local channel coverage. You can check your Zip Code on Youtube TVs Website to see which channels are available in your area.
Regional Sports: Carries the NBC RSNs. YouTube TV also carries NESN
Major Cable Sports Channels: YouTube TV provides access to ESPN2, FS1, FS2, TBS, TNT, NBCSN, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network and more. YouTube also carries the Tennis channels in its standard channel plan.
Where YouTube TV Comes up Short: YTTV is missing a few big Fox RSNs. Like Hulu, they are also missing Pac-12. You also won’t find NHL Network on YouTube TV.
Check out our Detailed Guide to YouTube TV for more information on their service.
Sports on Sling TV
Cost: Starts at $35 per month, but will need to pay a minimum of $50 per month for both Sling Blue and Orange to cover your basic sports channels.
Local Channels: Sling only carries NBC and Fox in major markets.
Regional Sports: Sling doesn’t offer regional sports after losing the NBC RSNs in April 2021
Major Cable Sports Channels: You can get ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, NBC Sports Network, TBS, and TNT if you subscribe to both the Sling Blue and Orange plan for $$50 per month. To have FS2 will require an $11 per month Sports Extra add-on package if you have Slings “Blue” package. The Sports Extra add-on is $15 per month extra if you have both Sling Blue and Sling Orange.
Where Sling Comes up Short: Sling is likely the last network you’d chose for sports. However, they do offer a lot of different channel options, so they may be worth a look if you are only interested in specific sports channels.
Check out our Detailed Guide to Sling for more information on their service.
Sports Channel Comparison Chart
Below are the charts I promised to do a side-by-side comparison of each streaming service and the sports networks they carry. Local broadcast networks like Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC carry a lot of sports. Those are not listed in the chart below. However, as I explain in our guide to watching local broadcast networks online, Hulu Live TV, DIRECTV Stream, YouTube TV, and fuboTV are your best options for local channels. That guide is worth a read as there are free ways to watch your local networks. We also link the specific guide for watching each channel in the tables below. Clicking the link will take you to guide like the following:
The Table Below Shows the major sports networks and the streaming services that carry them. I’ve listed the price of the DIRECTV Stream package in the table since they carry a variety of channel plans. In the other fields, a “No” indicated the channel is not carried. A “Yes” indicates it’s available in the cheapest channel plan. A “+” and a number indicates the channel is available in a channel add-on package.
|Network||DIRECTV Stream||fuboTV||Hulu Live TV||Sling Orange||Sling Blue||YouTube TV|
|Big Ten Network||$69.99||Yes||Yes||No||+$11||Yes|
|CBS Sports Network||$84.99||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Fox College Sports||No||+$11||No||No||No||+$11|
|Fox Soccer Plus||No||+$7||No||No||No||+$11|
|Fox Sports 1||$69.99||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Fox Sports 2||$84.99||Yes||Yes||No||+$11||Yes|
|NBC Sports Network||$69.99||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Regional Sports Networks
The table below shows the regional sports networks and the streaming services that carry them. I’ve listed the price of the DIRECTV Stream package in the table since they carry a variety of channel plans. In the other fields a “No” indicated the channel is not carried. A “Yes” indicates it’s available in the cheapest channel plan.
For a good comparison of the various live streaming services including their sports content, you can check out our comparison of live streaming services after reading this guide.
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