If you love watching sports but don’t want to pay the exorbitant cost of cable TV, there are some great solutions now for watching ESPN, major league baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and other sports for less than the cost of cable.
Scaled-down TV subscription services like Sling TV give you a few channels for a fraction of the cost of full cable TV and with less hassle.
So, here’s the rundown of how to watch sports without spending an arm and a leg for full-blown cable TV.
Watch Local and Network Sports on Free Broadcast TV
I always start with the free solutions, and free broadcast TV works great for a lot of people. If you live in a big city, then you can probably get all of the major networks plus local channels with a simple indoor antenna. This will enable you to get many home games and all of the major sporting events like the Superbowl, World Series, and professional basketball playoffs, as well as some college basketball and football games.
Enter your zip code into the Station Finder to see if there are channels in your area. If you have a modern TV, then you just need to get a good antenna and plug it directly into your TV to get those channels. If you have an old tube TV, you’ll need a converter box.
Note that Dodger baseball has been blacked out of regular cable and broadcast TV in Los Angeles except for a few games. To watch the Dodgers in LA, you need the Spectrum SportsNet LA service.
Watch NFL Games on the Mobile App For Free
You can download the NFL App for iOS and Android, and watch live local and primetime games on your phone for free! For more information on watching the NFL on mobile devices, check this article: How to Watch NFL Games on Android.
Watch the NFL, NCAA Basketball, and PGA Golf on Paramount Plus
You can watch the NFL, NCAA Basketball, and other sports on CBS’s streaming service, Paramount Plus. Plans start at $4.99/month with limited commercials (as of this writing). Note that the sporting events on Paramount Plus are same as those airing in your local broadcast TV market. So, if you can, use an antenna to get CBS. If you’re not able to pick up CBS with an antenna, get Paramount Plus!
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Watch ESPN on Sling TV
If you love ESPN, Sling TV gives it to you for $25 per month. You get ESPN and ESPN2, plus other channels like AMC, A&E, and the History Channel. You’ll need an Internet connection and a computer or iOS device, or a set-top box like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Xbox One to watch it. Once you’re set up, you get full access to ESPN, just like when you had cable TV, but for a fraction of the cost!
Note, Sling TV only works on one device at a time, unless you subscribe to their Orange+Blue services at $40/month. If you want to record shows, they offer cloud-based recording for $30/month.
Watch ESPN and Local Channels on YouTube TV
YouTube TV gives you access to lots of sports cable channels including ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, and others, plus some local stations, depending on where you live. It also works with the major streaming boxes and mobile phones.
Watch Hockey, College Sports, and UFC on ESPN+
ESPN+ is a streaming service that offers archived ESPN content, plus some live sports. But, it definitely does not offer the same live content as ESPN. It doesn’t offer live NFL or NBA games, but it’s good for hockey, UFC, and college sports.
Check Out Fubo TV for Soccer, ESPN
Fubo TV was originally launched as a streaming service for soccer, but now it offers a wide variety of channels. The cheapest plan starts at $70/month, so it’s expensive, but if you’re a sports lover (especially some of the more obscure ones), then it might work for you. The sports channels include Fox, Fox Sports, Fox Prime Ticket, Fox College Sports, NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, Big Ten Network, FS1, CBS, NBC, TNT, and more.
There is native cloud DVR capability with additional recording time available at extra charge.
Note that Apple just announced that starting in 2023, Apple TV+ will be the exclusive destination to watch all Major League Soccer games.
Watch Major League Sports on Their Subscription Services
The major sports leagues have subscription services that allow you to watch some or all games live online using your computer or many Internet-connected devices (such as your phone, Roku, etc.) If you are into multiple sports, this is an expensive option, but if you are only into one, the cost is much less than cable!
MLB.TV (Major League Baseball) has packages for single teams or every team.
NBA League Pass is the NBA’s online streaming service. Watch games live or on-demand. Cost starts at $14.99 per month.
Football (American football, that is) fans can watch NFL games on the brand new NFL+ streaming service. You get live out-of-market preseason games, as well as live local and primetime games on your phone or tablet. Cost starts at $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year.
Watch Soccer on Sling TV International’s Sports TV for $10/month
If you’re into international sports like soccer or cricket, check out Sling TV International’s Sports TV package! For only $10/month you can watch great international games on beIN Sports, Willow Cricket, One World Sports, Universal Sports, and a few others. This is huge for soccer fans! (Note: this service is only available in the U.S.)
Note that starting in 2023 all Major League Soccer games will be carried exclusively by Apple TV+.
Watch Tennis at TennisTV Online
TennisTV offers a variety of streaming packages. As of this writing, you can pay $14.99 per month or $119.95 for the whole year. TennisTV is the official live video streaming service of the ATP World Tour and WTA. The Grand Slams are not available on TennisTV though.
Watch Special Sporting Events Online
Watch Games at Sports Bars
If you only watch a few games a month, then watching them at a sports bar is still cheaper than cable TV! And, it’s usually more fun watching with a lot of fans.
Watch with Friends
If a friend has cable or satellite TV who is also a sports fan, see if you can watch games with them at their place. If you bring a six-pack or snacks, I bet you’ll be welcome.
Well, I hope some of these ideas are useful to you! Obviously, if you subscribe to all of them, it would cost a lot, but if you only get one or two, it’s cheaper than cable.
Let me know in the comment section below if you find any other ways to watch sports on TV without paying an arm and a leg! If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends and family! Thanks, Brian.