This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links we may earn a commission. Learn More.
I’m a huge sports fan, so when we first cut the cable back in 2015 the first thing I wanted to know was how to watch ESPN (and other live sports) without a cable subscription.
You can watch ESPN without cable using streaming services including Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, fuboTV, and DirecTV Stream.
We will discuss each of these options in greater detail throughout this article to help you find the cheapest and best option for you to watch ESPN.
Top 5 Ways To Watch ESPN Without Cable
- Cheapest Option: Sling TV
- Best Value: Hulu + TV
- Easiest To Use: YouTube TV
- Most Sports Channels: fuboTV
- Best Local Sports: DirecTV Stream
Cheapest Option: Sling TV
The cheapest way to get ESPN streaming live without cable is Sling TV’s Orange package which costs $40 per month, which is $25-30 cheaper than their competitors.
If you are looking for other dedicated sports channels you also have the option of springing for the Sling Orange & Blue package for $55 per month, which includes the ESPN channels plus FS1, FS2, MLB Network, or NFL Network.
Sling’s Orange Package includes 31 channels of live TV that include ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. Although the Orange plan doesn’t include other dedicated sports channels it does include channels that show sports content like TNT and TBS which show NBA and NHL games regularly. (We discuss this more in our post about watching NBA games without cable.)
On the downside, however, Sling also does not include local channels in most markets, so if ESPN broadcasts a game on their ABC affiliates, you’ll need an antenna or another service to watch. Sling Orange channels are also limited to 1 simultaneous stream at a time, so if you’re watching TV in one room you won’t be able to watch it in another without turning it off in the first room.
Best Value: Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV is another great option for watching ESPN live, though it does run a bit more expensive at $69.99 per month. So why is it a value? Hulu’s base package includes ESPN+ and Disney+. More on that in a minute.
Hulu + Live TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN’s SEC Network, and also ESPN College Extra which is not available on either Sling or YouTube TV. Hulu also includes FS1, FS2, NFL Network, NBC Golf, and CBS Sports Network.
Hulu + Live TV also comes standard with local channels in most areas and includes unlimited DVR. You can also stream Hulu + Live TV on two devices at the same time.
Hulu + Live TV Includes ESPN+ and Disney Plus
Although Hulu + Live TV is slightly more expensive by itself, it should be noted that the plan includes access to both ESPN+ and Disney Plus which cost $9.99 and $7.99 per month when purchased separately. If you were planning on buying one or both of those services anyway, this is a much cheaper option than YouTube TV or fuboTV.
Easiest To Use: YouTube TV
If you’re looking for a more well-rounded option that includes more sports channels then the next cheapest option is YouTube TV at $72.99 per month. Although YouTube TV is a good bit more expensive than Sling, it does offer quite a bit more for the price.
YouTube TV’s base package includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, and ESPN’s SEC Network as well as other sports channels like FS1, FS2, NFL Network, NBA TV, CBS Sports Network, Golf Channel, and regional sports networks (where available).
YouTube TV also includes local channels standard in most markets so you won’t miss a game (or need an antenna) if it’s broadcast over the air. You can also stream YouTube TV on up to 3 devices at a time which is very helpful for those who share services.
Most Sports Channels: fuboTV
The last option to watch ESPN live is the lesser known live streaming network fuboTV (Free 7 Day Trial) which costs $74.99 per month.
fuboTV offers ESPN and ESPN2 in their base package with ESPNews available in a higher tier. They do not have an option for ESPN3, ESPNU, or ESPN College Extra at this time.
Where fuboTV does shine however is in the other sports channels included such as FS1 (standard and 4K), FS2, CBS Sports Network, beIN Sports, Big 10 network, Fubo Sports Network as well as access to some regional sports networks.
Like most of their competitors, fuboTV includes local channels in most markets as well as unlimited DVR so you can record all your favorite shows and sporting events.
Best Local Sports: DirecTV Stream
The last streaming option to watch ESPN is DirecTV Stream, the streaming version of satellite company DirecTV.
DirecTV Stream is the most expensive of all the packages we’ve discussed in this article, with their base package starting at $74.99 as well as other packages from $99.99 to $149.99 per month.
The base package includes both ESPN and ESPN2, with an option to get ESPNews and ESPNU if you upgrade to the Choice package at $99.99 per month. You can also get ESPN Deportes as a separate add-on.
DirecTV Stream’s base package also includes FS1 while the upgraded Choice package includes FS2, MLB Network, NBA TV, and NBC Golf if you’re willing to spend the extra money.
What makes DirecTV stand out and (possibly) worth the price is that it includes the most regional sports networks (RSNs) of any live TV streaming service, which lets you watch the local broadcasts of MLB, NBA, and NHL games in most regions.
Can I Watch ESPN Live on ESPN+?
When it comes to streaming most people (including yours truly) assume that ESPN+ shows live ESPN programming like SportsCenter or Monday Night Football, but unfortunately, you can not watch the ESPN family of channels live through ESPN+.
ESPN+ does have a lot of live streaming content including MLB, NHL, College Basketball, LaLiga and UFC, plus a lot of on-demand content like their library of 30 for 30 documentaries (which are excellent), but you can’t watch SportsCenter on ESPN+ without first having a cable or live TV streaming service subscription first (more on them in the next section).
Whether you’re watching Monday Night Football, SportsCenter, or the NFL Draft, ESPN is a must-have network for sports fans.
The cheapest way to watch ESPN without a cable provider is Sling TV’s Orange plan which costs $40 per month. This plan isn’t without issues as it is limited to 1 simultaneous stream and does not include local channels. If this is a deal breaker for you there are other great options such as YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, and DirecTV Stream which start at $65 per month all the way up to $100 per month.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I just pay for ESPN only?
Unfortunately, there is no way to buy only ESPN’s live channels at this time. ESPN+ is an option for viewing some live sports and ESPN’s on-demand programming, but it does not carry ESPN, ESPN2, or any of the other live channels.
Is ESPN On Roku?
You can access ESPN on Roku, but you’ll need to be subscribed to a cable provider or a live TV streaming service like Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, or DirecTV Stream. You can also watch ESPN+ on Roku for additional programming.
To watch on your Roku device go to the “Streaming Channels” section and choose either Watch With Cable (if you have a cable subscription) or download one of the Live TV streaming apps we discussed above.
Is ESPN on Amazon Fire Stick / Fire TV?
Yes, you can watch ESPN on an Amazon Fire Stick or Fire TV device by downloading the ESPN app and logging in with your cable subscription, or by subscribing to a live TV streaming service like Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV or DirecTV Stream, which are all available on Amazon Fire Stick.
Is ESPN On Disney Plus?
Although ESPN is owned by Disney, ESPN’s broadcast networks are not a part of Disney+.
You can, however, bundle ESPN+ with Disney+ for a significant discount. While ESPN+ doesn’t feature ESPN’s family of live-streaming channels it does feature live sports including college basketball and the NHL, as well as a library of ESPN-produced programming.
You can also find ESPN’s live channels as well as Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of Hulu + Live TV’s base package.
Is ESPN On Amazon Prime Video?
Like most live TV channels, ESPN is not currently broadcast on Amazon Prime. You can add other sports-related content to your Amazon Prime subscription (for an additional fee) including MLB.tv, NBA League Pass, and NBA TV, but the ESPN family of channels is not an option at this time.
As mentioned above, you can watch ESPN using a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV device, but it is not included in the Amazon Prime subscription package directly.
Is ESPN on Paramount Plus?
No. Paramount Plus features only content owned by ViacomCBS so they do not own the rights to broadcast ESPN’s content as they are owned by Disney/ABC.
Paramount Plus does offer its own sports content including live NFL in-market games, coverage of the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament, UEFA Champions League, and more.
Is ESPN on Peacock?
No. Peacock is owned by Disney/ABC rival Comcast/NBC and does not own the right to broadcast ESPN live.
Peacock does broadcast a variety of other sports content including NFL Sunday Night Football, Premier League soccer and WWE Wrestling.