Cheapest Way To Watch ESPN Without Cable

Quick Summary

ESPN is a must have channel for sports fans. Whether you’re a fan of the football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer or UFC, ESPN has you covered. This is our guide to finding the least expensive way to stream ESPN without a cable provider.

You can stream ESPN on Sling TV, YouTube TV, fubo, DirecTV Stream, and Hulu + Live TV.

In this article I’ll walk you through each of these streaming services. I’ll show you which has the lowest price, discuss the pros and cons of each, and show you what equipment you need to stream it. I’ll even show you how to stream ESPN for free.

What Is The Most Affordable Way To Watch ESPN?

Sling TV’s Orange plan is the least expensive way to stream ESPN without a cable subscription. You can also find ESPN on YouTube TV, fubo, Hulu + Live TV and DirecTV Stream at a higher monthly price, but with added benefits we will discuss below.

Our Top 6 Budget Picks To Stream ESPN

Sling TV$40/mo32+
YouTube TV$72.99/mo100+
Hulu + Live TV$76.99/mo90+
DirecTV Stream$79.99/mo75+

Sling TV Is The Lowest Priced Way To Watch ESPN

Sling TV’s Orange Plan is the most affordable way to get ESPN without cable. For just $40 per month, Sling TV’s Orange package is $25-30 cheaper than their competitors and offers 32 channels of live TV and 50 hours of DVR storage.

Sling Orange’s popular channels include ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 as well as other 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.)

You can also upgrade to the Sling Orange & Blue plan for $55 per month which includes 46 channels including all three ESPN channels plus Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and NFL Network from Sling’s Blue plan. Although Sling Orange & Blue is more expensive than the base Sling Orange plan, it’s still one of the lower prices available for ESPN.

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. 

Sling TV is available on most internet streaming devices including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Xbox and most Smart TVs.

ESPN on YouTube TV

YouTube TV is a more well-rounded option that includes more channels, including local channels, and an unlimited DVR for $72.99 per month. Although YouTube TV is quite a bit more expensive than Sling, it does offer a lot more for the price. 

YouTube TV’s base package includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, and ESPN’s SEC Network and ACC Network as well as other sports channels like FOX Sports 1 (FS1), FOX Sports 2 (FS2), NFL Network, NBA TV, NBC Sports Network, 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 great when you want to watch the game but the kids want to watch something else on another TV.

YouTube TV is available on most devices including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Xbox, Playstation, and most Smart TVs.

Get ESPN on Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV is another great option for watching ESPN live, though it does run a bit more expensive at $76.99 per month. So why is it a value? Hulu’s base package includes ESPN+ and Disney+. More on that in a minute.

Hulu Live includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, SEC Network, ACC Network and also ESPN College Extra which is not available on either Sling or YouTube TV. Hulu also includes FOX Sports 1 (FS1), FOX Sports 2 (FS2), NFL Network, NBC Golf, and CBS Sports Network.

Hulu Live also comes standard with local channels in most areas and includes unlimited DVR. You can also stream Hulu Live on two devices at the same time.

Hulu + Live TV Includes ESPN+ and Disney Plus

Although Hulu Live is slightly more expensive by itself, it should be noted that the plan includes access to both ESPN+ and Disney Plus which cost $10.99 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. 

Hulu + Live TV is available on most devices including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and most Smart TVs.

Stream ESPN on fubo

Another service that streams ESPN live is fubo which costs $79.99 per month, but offers a 7 day free trial.

fubo offers ESPN and ESPN2 in their base package with ESPNews available in a higher tier plan. 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 FOX Sports 1 (FS1) in both standard and 4K, FOX Sports 2 (FS2), CBS Sports Network, beIN Sports, Big 10 network, ACC Network, Fubo Sports Network as well as access to some regional sports networks. 

Like most of the higher priced streaming services, fubo includes local channels in most markets so you won’t miss any locally broadcast games. fubo also includes an incredible 10 simultaneous streams (as long as you’re at your home address, 3 streams if you’re away from home), as well as unlimited DVR so you can record all your favorite shows and sporting events.

fubo is available on most devices including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Xbox, and most Smart TVs.

Watch ESPN on DirecTV Stream

The last streaming option is DirecTV Stream, the streaming version of satellite company DirecTV.

DirecTV Stream’s base package starting at $79.99 and can be upgraded to other packages ranging from $108.99 to $119.99 per month. DirecTV Stream also offers a 5 Day Free Trial for you to try it out.

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 FOX Sports 1 (FS1), but you’ll need to upgrade to the $100 Choice package to get 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.

DirecTV Stream is available on most devices including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, and most Smart TVs.

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). ESPN+ costs $10.99 per month but is often available cheaper when bundled with other services like Hulu and Disney+.

2 thoughts on “Cheapest Way To Watch ESPN Without Cable”

    1. Hi Peter, you can use a smart tv if you have one but if you don’t have one you can also use a streaming device like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Chromecast to watch either YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV. You also have the option to use your phone, tablet or computer if you want to.

      If you’re going to buy a streaming device, I would suggest waiting a couple of weeks until Black Friday, these devices always go on sale for a big discount around then.

      Hope this helps!

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