How to watch ESPN without cable

ESPN used to be the domain of cable viewers, but now you have options.

Aug 8, 2017, 5:30 am


John-Michael Bond 

John-Michael Bond

Austin Powell 

Austin Powell


ESPN/ Youtube

  • ESPN is available on live tv streaming services like Hulu wih Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T Now, Youtube TV, and Vidgo.
  • The stand-along subscription service ESPN+ does not include a live stream of the ESPN broadcast.


Hulu with Live TVTRY NOW

No matter which sport is currently in season, you’re always going to need to know how to watch ESPN without cable.

Just a few short years ago, cutting the cord with your cable company meant having to compromise your desires. No one felt this pain more than professional sports fans. If you wanted to watch sports without cable, you had four options: Hope the game in question is on broadcast TV, go to the game live, befriend someone with cable, or hang out in a sports bar. 

Fret not, for those days are no more. You no longer have to swear allegiance to a cable company if you want Monday Night Football and SportsCenter. All your favorite programming can now be accessed through a number of streaming services and devices.

Even in this time of next-to-no live sports, ESPN is filling the void, moving the release date for its long-awaited Chicago Bulls documentary, “The Last Dance,” to April 19.

What is ESPN?

  • Launched: September 7, 1979
  • Owner: The Walt Disney Company
  • Slogan: The World Wide Leader in Sports
  • Headquarters: Bristol, Connecticut
  • Related Channels: ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded
  • Popular ESPN Shows: 30 for 30, NFL Primetime Live, Sports Center, Pardon the Interruption, College Game, First Take, Around the Horn
  • Popular Sports on ESPN: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Ice Hockey, Tennis, Cricket, Golf, MMA, Boxing, Motorsports, Rugby

Where to stream ESPN without cable

1) Hulu with Live TV

For sports fans, Hulu with Live TV is an excellent choice. Not only does it work with just about every device you can throw at it—iOS, Android, Xbox, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, with support for Roku and Samsung smart TVs coming soon—but it also unlocks 50-plus channels, including, of course, ESPN. (Here’s the complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.)

Launched in May 2017, Hulu with Live TV replicates a traditional basic cable package, with channels like the Food Network, FX, TBS, and Syfy. The standard package costs $44.99 (plus your first week free) which includes 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage. For an extra $9.99 a month, you can bump that storage to 200 hours and can skip commercials in recorded programs. And you can also upgrade to Hulu with No Commercials for your on-demand content.

The base price might seem steep, but it also includes Hulu membership, which includes an incredible lineup of moviesTV showsdocumentaries, and must-see Hulu originals, making it one of the best deals available.

2) Sling TV

When it comes to replacing your cable company, no one makes it easier for less than Sling TV. Sling TV works by serving up blocks of channels for a low price. There are two tiers, Sling Blue and Sling Orange, each offering different options. If you’re looking for ESPN, pick up a subscription to Sling Orange. For just $30 a month, you get streaming access to ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 along with more than 30 other channels and local options.

Sling TV can be streamed off a number of devices, from smartphones to game consoles, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and more. Have an Oculus VR headset? You can watch ESPN on Oculus Go. in stunning VR with Sling TV. You can only stream on one device at a time, but if you decide to splurge for the Orange + Blue package, you get more channels and the power to stream on up to four devices at once. It’s cheaper for four friends to split the Orange + Blue package than it is for one person to get Sling Blue by themselves. With both the Blue and Orange + Blue packages, however, only one person can stream ESPN at a time. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.)

For $5 a month, Sling TV offers 50 hours of cloud DVR, so you can catch up on your favorite shows even if you’re away from the house.  Sling TV logins can also be used on the WatchESPN app, giving you on-demand access to a large chunk of ESPN’s programming.  

Thinking about giving Sling TV a try? They offer a seven-day free trial to see if it’s right for you.

Sling TV had a shaky launch, with some customers complaining about the quality of streams and difficulty using the service. Many of those issues have been worked out since then, but use the free trial period to make sure it’s up to your standards.

3) AT&T TV Now

  • Cost: $65-$135 per month
  • AT&T TV Now devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, iOS and Android devices
  • Local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)

AT&T TV Now is a bonus for AT&T wireless customers, especially for those who happen to be soccer fans. It provides instant access to more than 45 channels, including local channels. That means NBC as well as NBCSN for Premier League action, Fox as well as FS1 and FS2 for MLS, Bundesliga, the U.S. men’s and women’s teams, and even Liga MX offerings, and ESPN and ESPN2 for its array of soccer and other sports programming. It even offers free HBO on PLUS and MAX channel suites. Plus, it comes with CloudDVR for up to 20 hours of TV recording per month. One account works on two devices, but you can add more devices for only $5.

4) Vidgo

Vidgo free trial offer with motorcycle racer in background Vidgo
  • Cost: $14.99-24.99 or $39.99-$49.99 per month
  • Vidgo devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, iOS and Android devices

Vidgo offers a package for under $40 a month that pulls together more than 60 English-language channels into its National English Package, including ABC, Fox, the ESPN family of channels (including ESPN Deportes), FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and BeIN Sports, for sports fans. It offers an array of entertainment favorites, including A&E, HGTV, History, Lifetime, and a full range of Nickelodeon channels, including TeenNick and NickToons.

College sports fans will love it, too: The ACCN, Big Ten Network, the Longhorn Network, and Pac-12 Network are all on the Core package, and for $10 more, the Plus package offers all six market-specific Pac-12 Networks. 

If you just want your Vidgo en Español, it features programming from throughout the Americas and even Spain in two skinny packages. Both the Latino Streaming Plan ($14.99 per month) and Latino Mas Streaming Plan ($24.99 per month) include BeIN’s main Spanish-language channel, TyC Sports, and Azteca America, while the higher tier adds DAZN, Fox Deportes, and ESPN Deportes.

Also, through its Vidgo app, it’s offering the option of Social TV, which allows Vidgo users to connect in real-time as they’re watching programming on their phones.

5) YouTube TV

Youtube TV

YouTube TV’s basic package costs $49.99 per month and offers more than 50 channels, which includes AMC, FX, and, of course, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNews. YouTube TV obviously works with Android devices and Google Chromecast, but you can also stream via iOS, some smart TVs, and Xbox One, Roku, and Apple TV. The service is ideal for those looking to split the cost of a subscription: You can have up to six accounts per household, and each one of those come with unlimited DVR. You can find the full list of YouTube TV channels here.

For the price, it’s hard to beat, but if you’re looking to add premium channels like HBO, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

6) ESPN+

  • Cost: $4.99 per month ($12.99 per month with Disney and Hulu bundle)
  • Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablet, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices

At just $4.99 per month, ESPN+ is the cheapest option to keep up to date with (most) of your favorite ESPN content. ESPN+ is not a replacement for ESPN—it’s an extension, unlocking exclusive series and no shortage of live events.  For example, it only features an abridged version of its signature SportsCenter program, but it provides some supplemental content and the complete library of 30 for 30 documentaries. 

ESPN+ shines the brightest for live sports, featuring games from MLB, MLS, and NHL, along with select PGA Tour golf, college sports, and Grand Slam tennis matches. Plus, if you subscribe to or, ESPN+ will unlock some out-of-market games. ESPN+ includes coverage of major events like Wimbledon and the U.S. and Australian Open. There are even live international soccer matches from the EFL and UEFA Nations Cup, and options for streaming rugby and English League One football. More importantly, ESPN+ is now home to UFC Fight Night and the FA Cup.

Sadly, ESPN+ isn’t your solution for streaming Monday Night Football. The service is notably lacking content from the NBA and NFL. We feel your pain. But it’s hard to complain when you’re watching exclusive series like Kobe Bryant’s Detail or reading premium content you won’t find anywhere else.

We tested the app out by streaming NHL games and 30 for 30 documentaries on an iPhone SE and Roku Streaming Stick. On both devices, streams were clear, without buffering issues or distortion. If you don’t have unlimited data, however, you’ll want to hunt down a Wi-Fi source.

ESPN+ works on Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple, and Chromecast devices, along with Roku players. Depending on your sports tastes, the content that’s there is terrific, but the lack of NBA and NFL content will be a deal breaker for many fans. Still, $4.99 per month for this many games is a steal.

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance and clarity. The Daily Dot may receive a payment in connection with purchases of products or services featured in this article. Click here to learn more.

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Last updated Apr 1, 2020, 8:24 am