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How to Watch Live Sports Without Cable TV

By Brian
Published 03/28/2015
 | Updated 03/30/2021

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 CBS All Access

You can watch the NFL, NCAA Basketball, and other sports on CBS's streaming service, CBS All Access. Cost is $5.99/month with limited commercials or $9.99/month commercial-free (as of this writing).

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. I test or research each product or service before endorsing. This site is not owned by any retailer or manufacturer. I own this site and the opinions expressed here are mine. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Watch ESPN on Sling TV

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.

Check Out Fubo TV If You Don't Need ESPN

Fubo TV originally launched as a streaming service for soccer, but now it offers a wide variety of channels. The base cost is $45 per month, and 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.

You can add extra sports packages for cycling, international sports, outdoor adventure sports, Spanish soccer, and more. These range in cost from $6 to $15 per month more. There is native cloud DVR capability with additional recording time available at extra charge.

The big caveat, however, is that Fubo TV does not offer ESPN or any other Disney-owned channels at the moment. But, if the other channels work for you, check it out!

FuboTV base channels
FuboTV base channels

Watch Major League Sports on Their Subscription Services

NHL

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, say hockey, the cost is much less than cable!

MLB.TV (Major League Baseball) lets you watch every out-of-market Major League Baseball game for $50 per year, as of this writing. "Out-of-market" means that you can't see your local team.  

NBA League Pass is the NBA's online streaming service. Check the link for pricing and availability.

NHL.tv allows you to watch the previous year's entire season for just $9.99. Check their site for future plans for the current season.

Football (American football, that is) fans can watch NFL games online at NFL Game Pass.  However, there are two huge caveats:  they only show games that are NOT in your local market (use an antenna for those), AND, the games are NOT live - Sunday games are shown after all of the Sunday games are played. Cost is $99.99 per season.

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.)

And of course, check out Fubo TV as previously mentioned, if you love soccer.

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

For special events like the U.S. Open or the Olympics, check the prospective event's website for streaming options. In the past, these particular events have had free live streams 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.

Summary

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.

Did You Like This Article?

Brian Shim, DisableMyCable.com
If you did, please share it and sign up for my email updates. I'll send you my new articles, no more than once a month.

Check out my other site, thefrugalnoodle.com, with ideas on saving money and living simply.

Ask a Question or Tell Me Your Story

If you have a question about this article, leave a comment below. I personally read and answer each one. If you want advice on TV reception, leave your zip code. 

When you comment, you'll automatically receive replies by email. Your email address will not be displayed.

I'd also love to hear how you're saving money on TV. Tell me your story!  Thanks! - Brian
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17 Comments
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Auref Pourkarimi
Auref Pourkarimi
1 year ago

The best option is BCE Premium TV. We are using it for a long time. Over 100 Premium Sports HD Channels ( Sky Sports, BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports, NBCSN, TSN, ESPN, Euro Sports, NFL Network, WWE, ... ) only $20/month or $85/year.

just search "BCE Premium TV" on Google you will find it easily.

Sharon
Sharon
2 years ago

My husband like to watch mostly sports (hockey, college football,NFL, golf) and a few drama shows like Blue Bloods, Chicago Fire, Law & Order. Myself, I don't watch much, maybe HGTV once in a while. Having said that I'm tried at the outrageous amount we pay for cable when we don't even watch most channels. Is there so online alternative that would be cheaper? Would Youtube TV or Sling TV be a better option? We're seniors so not really up to date with what is going on in this field. Thanks for your help.

Brian
2 years ago
Reply to  Sharon

Hi Sharon,

Check out this tool to find the best streaming service for you:
https://www.suppose.tv

Click the channels you need at the left and it shows you what services offer those channels.

Best,
Brian

Ross
Ross
4 years ago

N F L H Q T V . C O M is amazing stuff I think. They have limited numbers of free seats available. Be quick and you might see it for only few $ :)I'll watch it for few $. Bonus ?? NFL season !!! just on N F L H Q T V . C O M

Thomas Green
Thomas Green
4 years ago

Hello!! Here I watch sports competitions, for free. http://livesports.one/

NHLHDStream
5 years ago

Great article bro !!!!!!! thanks for share. Also check : http://www.nhlhdstream.com/

NHLHDStream
5 years ago

Awesome list of best free sports streaming sites,
Watch sport live, high-quality, free, streaming video >>> http://www.nhlhdstream.com/

Medison Smith
5 years ago

No help for cable cutters. Who needs ESPN online for Monday night football if you have a cable subscription? If you are travelling, every bar and hotel in America will carry it. I recomend You to try on ScreenVariety

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago

I can help get you the lowest prices DirecTV or Dish. I can also help with Charter, Time Warner, Dish Net, Hughes Net, AT&T, Century Link, etc.... Email me at [email protected].

Richard
Richard
6 years ago

Hello Brian, i have something to share with you... the Latest & Best Streaming Media player that just Hit the Market.....its compact, portable, has a Huge amount of content and Great Price Point as well.....This will Revolutionize the way People Watch TV !! go here http://www.spinqast.com/retail/geturpopcornready click on channels then click on Streaming Platform Demo and see the Box in Action !!! I hope you see this Post A SAP !! Just wanted to mention also that for those who are experience in Network Marketing there is an opportunity to Earn some Xtra Income as a Distributor of this Product. i can be reached at [email protected]

Landon Jameson
Landon Jameson
6 years ago

Try Sling TV. For $40 a month (no joke) I can get many cable channels over Internet (ESPN/ESPN2, Food Network, AMC, A&E, HBO, History, Disney channel, etc.) Finally I can watch this stuff without Hulu ($8) and can watch LIVE! Only downside is no ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, or PBS (local stations). That's what an antenna's for.

Brian
6 years ago
Reply to  Landon Jameson

Hi Landon,

Thanks for sharing!

Brian

Metro Mow N Go
Metro Mow N Go
6 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Sling is not as reliable as the service claims. ESPN tend to go into this blackout mode where the program just has music and logo during a commercial or if they decide to cut the program short. They only show what they want to show as well without a predetermined schedule. It is a lot like satellite with the freezing and pixeling. They still have bugs to work out with reliability and packages.

Brian
6 years ago
Reply to  Metro Mow N Go

Thanks for sharing! Good to know! Hopefully they'll work out the bugs.

Brian

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