How To Watch ESPN Without Cable (2023) – 5 Cheapest Ways To Stream

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I’m a huge sports fan, so when my family first cut the cable back in 2015 the first thing I wanted to know was how to get ESPN (and other live sports) without a cable subscription.

Today it is easier than ever to watch sports channels like ESPN without cable. In this post I’ll walk you through the five cheapest ways to stream ESPN, discuss the pros and cons of each, and show you what equipment you need to stream it.

You can watch ESPN without cable using streaming services including Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, fubo, and DirecTV Stream.

In this post, I will show you what streaming service has ESPN, we’ll show you which option is most affordable and we’ll break down the pros and cons of each streaming service so you can find the best choice for you.

How To Watch ESPN Without Cable

Sling TV Orange Plan
$20 First Month

New Sling TV customers can get Sling Orange for $20 for your first month and $40 per month after that.

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The Cheapest Way To Watch ESPN Is Sling TV

Sling TV is the most affordable way to get ESPN without cable. For just $20 for your first month and $40 per month after that, Sling TV’s Orange package is $25-30 cheaper than their competitors and offers 30 channels of live TV including ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. You can also upgrade to the Sling Orange & Blue plan to get 46 channels including all three ESPN channels plus FS1 and NFL Network

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 including 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. (I 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 view it in another without turning it off in the first room. 

Hulu + Live TV
$70 Per Month
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Includes ESPN+ Free: 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, 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 fubo. 

Easiest To Use: YouTube TV

If you’re looking for a more well-rounded option that includes more sports channels then the next most affordable 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 your game is broadcast on a local channel. You can also stream YouTube TV on up to 3 devices at a time which is very helpful for those who share services.

$75 Per Month
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Most Sports Channels: fubo

Another option to watch ESPN live is the lesser known live streaming network fubo (Free 7 Day Trial) which costs $74.99 per month.

fubo 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 fubo 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, fubo includes local channels in most markets as well as unlimited DVR so you can record all your favorite shows and sporting events.

$75 Per Month
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Best Local Sports Coverage: 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).

How To Watch ESPN – My Recommendation

So, what would I recommend as the best way to watch ESPN without cable?

If price is your biggest factor then I would recommend Sling TV’s orange plan which is the least expensive way to get ESPN at just $40 per month. With Sling Orange you get 31 channels including ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN 3. You also have the option of upgrading to Sling Orange + Blue, which gives you which has 51 channels and gives you access to FS1 and NFL Network.

If you are looking for more channels, including local channels, and features like unlimited DVR then I would take a look at either Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV (which I am personally using now), which both offer around 100 channels, but costs a good bit more at $70 and $73 per month.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is The Cheapest Way To Watch ESPN Without Cable?

The least expensive way to watch ESPN without Spectrum is Sling TV for $20 for your first month and $40 every month after that. You can also watch ESPN on Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, fubo, and DirecTV Stream.

How Can I Watch An ESPN Live Stream?

Services that offer an ESPN live stream include Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, fubo, and DirecTV Stream. ESPN+ does not offer a live stream of ESPN’s main channels but it does offer live streams of various sporting events not carried on their broadcast channels.

How Can I Watch ESPN For Free?

You can watch ESPN for free for a short time by subscribing to one of the live TV streaming services that offer a free trial like YouTube TV, fubo, or DirecTV Stream. Beyond that, there is no way to watch ESPN for free over a long period of time.

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, fubo, 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 I 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, fubo 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, 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 does not have ESPN. Peacock is owned by Disney/ABC rival Comcast/NBC and does not own the right to broadcast ESPN live.

Peacock broadcasts a variety of other sports content including NFL Sunday Night Football, Premier League soccer, and WWE Wrestling.

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