Many people rely on cable and satellite for watching sports. It’s part of the reason that cable can’t be entirely replaced with streaming services. But cable is getting expensive. The national average cost of cable is $107 per month.
If you really want to cut the cord, but you’re a die-hard sports fans, some live streaming services are now offering certain sports channels.
Live TV streaming services also offer much greater flexibility since you can watch your favorite sports live when you’re on the go. You can now break the monotony of your daily bus or train commute by watching your favorite sports channels on your smartphone. This is something you can’t do with cable TV.
Most streaming services include some of the most popular channels, so you can choose the streaming service that airs the channels you like to watch.
In this article, I’ll show you how to watch sports for less, and as a bonus, the last section tells you about a simple technique, which can allow you to bypass blackout rules that prevent you from watching sports in your area.
If you enjoy watching stats, analysis, and updates on your favorite games, then live streaming is an excellent alternative to cable since you can make use of several services to get your daily sports news.
For instance, you can watch ESPN without cable through a live streaming service and view ESPN news updates, scrolling scores, and SportsCenter updates.
Where to watch
- Sling TV – $25 per month – also offers free seven days trial
- Hulu Live – $40 per month – the free 7-day trial is also available.
You’ll get channels like:
- Fox Sports 1
- Fox Sports 2
Use apps for information-only
If sports updates, news, and highlights are important to you, then you can install an app called Stadium (formerly known as 120 Sports). This is available on Android and iOS. This service does not offer live sporting events, rather it focuses exclusively on news and updates in two-minute video clips.
One desirable feature of this service is that below the video updates, you can also participate in social media discussions. This high level of social interaction is impossible with cable TV.
NFL football is being aired in the same way as it has been for the past few decades. The games are broadcast over-the-air on major media networks like CBS and Fox.
You can watch these games helped by OTA (over-the-air) antennas like Mohu Leaf.
Where to watch
Monday Night Football games are televised on ESPN so you can’t rely on an OTA antenna for these. Subscribe to a live streaming service like:
- Sling TV – You can also add additional NFL channels on your Sling TV subscription like NFL Network and RedZone.
- DIRECTV NOW
- PlayStation Vue
- YouTube TV
- Hulu Live TV
All these streaming services (with the exception of Sling TV) also show major channels like NBC, FOX, and CBS, which lets you stream these channels if you’re having problems with your OTA antenna. You can also watch these channels when you’re on the go.
NFL Game Pass
If you’re passionate about the NFL and enjoy fantasy football, then you should consider NFL Game Pass. This service costs $99 per year, and it will allow you to watch every NFL game of the season and all NFL games starting from 2009.
I personally subscribe to Game Pass and I love it. The downside is that you can’t watch games live, but it’s awesome to see a condensed game – meaning Game Pass will show you every single play of the game in about 30-45 minutes, cutting out all the timeouts and commercials.
National games are televised on FOX, MLB Network, ESPN, and TBS.
You can follow your local team throughout the season by following your regional networks, such as NBC Sports and Fox Sports channels.
Where to watch
If you’re interested in watching MLB games, then you can choose from several live streaming services like:
These and other live streaming services offer broad coverage of regional and national sports channels.
You can also view postseason coverage, but for this, you must check what each network offers since they provide different levels of coverage. You will likely have to watch from several networks to get full coverage. You can access these channels helped by live streaming services.
One of the best online options for watching MLB games without cable is MLB.tv. You can watch the entire season for just $115.99. You can also view all the games of a single out-of-market team at $89.99 each season.
You can also subscribe to PostSeason.tv to watch all postseason games. It is similar to MLB.tv, but you’ll get several alternate camera angles instead of the official coverage.
There will also be no announcer. You can quickly get around this problem by tuning in to your favorite radio broadcast. This method is a little indirect, but it’s worth it when you consider that you’ll have to pay $5 per month.
A few television networks air NBA games: TNT, NBA TV, ESPN, and ABC. TNT and ESPN cover most sports.
Where to watch
You can watch all these networks on live streaming services like:
The most affordable is Sling TV, which has become the best way to watch your favorite sports without cable.
Although ESPN provides excellent coverage of NBA games, the best is probably TNT. So if you want to watch NBA basketball on TNT without Sling TV, then the best alternative is TNT Overtime.
You can view all the matches that TNT airs for free on TNT Overtime. Although TNT Overtime does not show the exact broadcast – it shows four alternate camera angles – it’s much better than expensive cable TV.
NBA League Pass
You can make use of NBA League Pass to watch all out-of-market NBA games for around $200 per year. To follow a single out-of-market team for the entire season, you must pay $120 remembering that blackout rules will still apply. NBA League Pass can also be included in your Sling TV subscription at an additional monthly cost.
With NBA League Pass, you can purchase single games for $7 each. This feature can be an excellent option if you do not want to pay the full subscription amount for the NBA League Pass.
Since soccer is an international sport, you have plenty of options for watching it without cable.
Where to watch
If you want to watch MLS soccer matches on TV, then UniMas station covers a lot of matches. NBC also airs some playoff games and a couple of regular season matches.
fuboTV is one of the best live streaming options for watching all sorts of soccer leagues. With a subscription of just $40 per month, you can enjoy matches from different leagues like:
- Champions League
- Italian Serie A
- French Ligue 1
- Spanish La Liga
- English Premier League.
You will also gain access to live soccer channels, such as ENFICATV, GOLTV, NBCSN, beIN Sports, the Daily Football Report, Fox Sports and several other major soccer channels. fuboTV is the best way to watch all US and worldwide soccer matches.
If you’re interested in watching all out-of-market matches in the MLS, then you can subscribe to MLS Live. The subscription costs $65 per year, and DVR-like features are included. Although blackout rules apply, matches become accessible after 48 hours and the rules apply to selected channels like UniMas, NBCSN, NBC, and ESPN.
For watching matches from all over the world besides the US, Fox’s Soccer Match Pass is one of your best options. You need to pay $140 per season or $19.99 per month to watch 1,400 soccer matches from across the world, and Europe in particular.
Where to watch
The leading live streaming services for watching golf are:
Each of these will give you in-depth coverage of major tournaments like the Open Championship, the US Open, and the Masters.
These services also provide you with access to the Golf Channel for greater coverage of golf tournaments and news. You can also watch plenty of golf tournaments with an OTA antenna on channels like NBC and CBS. So you can watch plenty of golf without having to rely on cable.
Although the French Open is the only major tennis tournament you can get over-the-air, you can also watch more major tournaments like the US Open, Wimbledon, Australian Opens, and more with several live streaming services.
Where to watch
A Sling TV subscription will give you access to ESPN, which broadcasts The Championships, Australian Open, Wimbledon, American WTP Premier, US Open Series, American ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, the US Open, French Open and more.
Via ESPN 3 – which does not require a subscription – you can view the WTA Tour Championship and the ATP World Finals. By adding NBCSN, you can get even greater coverage of major tennis events.
Tennis Channel ad-ons
You can also subscribe to the Tennis Channel with streaming services like:
For $70 per year, you can sign up for Tennis Channel Plus, which will live stream about 650 matches from 45 tournaments.
For even more matches and tournaments, you can subscribe to the Tennis Channel for $130 per year or $20 per month. This channel is the official streaming partner of the WTA and the ATP World Tour, and it broadcasts over 2,000 WTA, and ATP World Tour matches annually.
Helped by an OTA antenna, you can watch a couple of matches and the Stanley Cup Finals, but as you’ll soon discover, antennas do not cover enough games for the serious NHL fan.
While choosing a streaming service for hockey coverage, you’ll need to select one that includes NBC Sports, Fox Sports, and the NHL Network. CNBC also provides coverage of playoffs.
Where to watch
Here are some excellent live streaming options for NHL games:
NHL Game Center
For $139 each year or $24.99 each month, you can sign up for NHL Game Center Live to watch out-of-market games of the entire season. There are also a couple of useful extras, such as condensed replays.
Getting around blackouts
Now that you know about live streaming services for major sports in the US, you should also know how to get around those pesky blackouts, which can stop you from watching your favorite sporting events online. Also, if you’re traveling, you can’t log in to your live streaming service since you’re only allowed to watch from the country you subscribed in.
You can solve this problem helped by Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). These allow you to hide your IP and show the IP of the country you may log in from. VPNs do this by encrypting all your traffic and passing it through a network so your IP can’t be traced.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to watch sports for less. You just have to know which streaming services are best for the specific sports you want to watch.
There are workarounds, but I don’t recommend them. For example, you will see people streaming games on what look like illegitimate sites – avoid those. Instead, pay for a reputable service and get a VPN to make sure you can watch your local team, too.
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