It used to be difficult to watch sports online. Most streams were choppy and downright illegal. I wasn’t about to get involved in that. But that was then, and this is now. Today, there are many legitimate live sports streaming services that give you total online access to the sports you love. And not only that, you can get tons of sports content in HD for free using an OTA antenna.
5 simple steps to watch sports online without cable:
- Identify what TV network owns rights to your favorite sport.
- Search for a streaming service that carries that network.
- Sign up for a free trial with the streaming service.
- Watch the game and see if the service works for you.
- Pay the monthly fee, or cancel anytime.
Of course, we’d like to simplify that process for you. Below you’ll find out exactly how you can stream live sports without a cable TV subscription. In case you’d like to skip to your favorite sport, you can click one of the links below.
Tips for How to Watch Sports Online Without Cable (Sorted By Sport)
Here’s a detailed look at how you can watch sports online without cable and save tons of money.
If you’re an NBA fan, you’re in luck. There are some great options available to catch your favorite teams live without a cable subscription. My favorite option to watch NBA online is Sling TV. This popular streaming service offers ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 (streaming coverage of all NBA games on ABC through the WatchESPN app using your Sling credentials), and TNT streaming as part of their channel lineup. Both networks are home to a plethora of games throughout the regular season, and Sling TV gives you a way to enjoy a legal NBA playoffs live stream. You can also watch the NBA All Star Game online with TNT. You also get access to ESPN2, which sometimes carries a few playoff games, and the WatchESPN app, which allows you to stream games playing on ESPN3. Finally, don’t forget the NBA Draft airs on ESPN June 23, 2016.
Sling TV also now carries regional FOX Sports networks (along with FS1 and some local FOX affiliates) in its new $20 a month multi-stream beta package. Why is this important for NBA fans? Because many teams have all of their games broadcasted on the local FOX Sports regional network. This includes the Suns, Cavaliers,Thunder, Clippers, Magic, Hawks, Pistons, Timberwolves, Hornets, Mavericks, Spurs, Nets, Bucks, Pacers, and Pelicans. Regional networks are available subject to your location. Click here to learn more about this package.
In short, there’s no better all-around solution to stream live sports. Try the free 7-day trial here.
NBA League Pass is another popular way to watch NBA online. With this live sports streaming service, you get to choose your five favorite teams and watch them all season long for $69, or watch any team you want for $99. The downside? Local blackout rules still apply and no live access to the NBA Playoffs. Get more information here. Update: it looks like NBA League Pass will offer single-game and single-team subscriptions next year.
Throughout the regular season, ABC will air a few games each week. They also cover a portion of the postseason, including the NBA Finals. Obviously, you can watch these free over-the-air with an antenna. You can also watch ABC’s nationally televised games on ESPN3 via the WatchESPN app using your Sling TV credentials.
Finally, there’s TNT Overtime. This site usually has a couple of games on free games each week. You can check out TNT Overtime here.
Want more detail on watching NBA basketball without cable? Check out my complete guide of all your legal options here.
Sling TV is a newer streaming service that allows you to stream a small bundle of popular cable channels through your internet connection. MLB fans will be interested to know that Sling TV gives you full access to ESPN, ESPN2, and TBS. ESPN plays games on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and also features the Sunday Night Baseball franchise. TBS features Sunday afternoon games. Both networks will have some MLB Playoffs coverage. You can get a free 7-day trial of Sling TV here. Plan on watching all season long? Sign up for three months and get a Roku 2 free or Roku 3 50% off and stream to your TV!
Sling TV has also started to offer regional FOX Sports networks, FS1, and some local FOX affiliates in one of its new package. This is important for a couple reasons. The regional FOX Sports channels carry many local MLB teams depending on location, including the Diamondbacks, Indians, Reds, Angels, Rays, Braves, Cardinals, Tigers, Twins, Padres, Rangers, Yankees (on YES Network), Royals, Marlins, and Brewers. Regional networks are available based on your location. Click here to learn more about this package.
Fan of America’s favorite past-time? Then you’ll be happy to know the MLB has their own streaming service that allows you to legally watch baseball online. MLB.TV is a live sports streaming service that gives you access to all out-of-market games for $24.99 per month, or at a discounted rate of $109.99 per year (Note: prices typically drop later in the season). The premium subscription allows you to watch on most mobile devices and gives you choice of home or away feeds. Blackouts apply (although I’m expecting this to change soon, so I’ll keep you posted). Try MLB.TV here.
If you’re looking for free MLB games on network TV, your local FOX channel will occasionally show a national game of the week as well as games throughout the postseason (including the World Series). These are free to you with your antenna. Don’t have an antenna? Try the Mohu Leaf.
You can’t talk about how to watch sports online without starting the discussion with football. I can’t live without my football. Luckily, I don’t have to, because just about all of the action is available without cable. First and foremost, I recommend the streaming service Sling TV . Monday Night Football and the NFL Draft are both currently aired by ESPN, which you can only get two ways: cable or Sling TV. Sling TV has exclusive rights to stream ESPN online, no cable subscription required. And it’s much cheaper than a cable subscription, and it does not require a contract. Sling will also allow you to catch most postseason games you can’t get with your OTA antenna. It’s a great way to stream live sports, including NFL.
Plan on watching Monday Night Football online all season long? Then you probably want to take advantage of this deal. Right now, you can get the Roku 2 for free or the Roku 3 half off (both of which allow you to watch on your TV) when you prepay 3 months of Sling TV.
In select markets across the country, Sling TV also carries local FOX channels in one of its new packages. This will let you watch the FOX Sunday NFL games of the week, provided your location gets FOX. Click here for more info on channel availability.
Other than Monday Night Football, which Sling TV takes care of, you can catch most of the other games for free with an antenna. For example, tuning in to CBS will allow you to watch regionally shown AFC games on Sunday afternoons and many Thursday night games throughout the season. FOX broadcasts regionally-shown NFC games on Sunday afternoons. Sunday night games are covered by NBC. These three stations also air the entire postseason, minus a small portion aired by ESPN.
If you have cell service with Verizon or are thinking of switching, you can download their NFL Mobile app to watch NFL online live for free on your phone. This robust offering gets you all locally-shown Sunday afternoon games, as well as national games that include Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football.
The catch to Verizon NFL coverage? NFL Mobile is only available on mobile devices, so you can’t watch it on your TV. And if you’re looking to mirror with Apple TV, you can’t, as they’ve disabled the function for the app. Same goes for Chromecast. For a limited time Verizon is giving out $300 to new and existing customers when you trade in your old phone and buy a new one. Find out more about the Verizon deal here.
Want to watch games on demand? If so, then you need to look into the new NFL Game Pass Domestic service. In the US, NFL Game Pass Domestic has replaced the popular NFL Game Rewind service. With Game Pass, you can watch all 256 regular season games after they air in HD. You also get access to archived games from previous seasons, coaches films, and more. There’s even an option to watch condensed 30-minute full game replays. Check out my full Game Pass Review here. It’s pretty great, and it’s just $99 for the whole season. I suggest signing up for the free 7-day trial to test it out for yourself. Click here to learn more about NFL Game Pass Domestic and to sign up for your free 7-day trial.
If you live outside the US, then you actually have the best option to watch NFL games online. NFL Game Pass International, which is not available in the US or Mexico, is a live sports streaming service offered internationally by the NFL. There are three different packages of NFL coverage to choose from. I recommend the Season Plus package, which gives you all games from preseason to playoffs, NFL Ticket, NFL RedZone, and more. Click here for more information and to sign up for a free 7-day trial.
NASCAR fans know there’s nothing more exciting than watching the world’s most talented drivers race to the finish line. And no sport is covered as well as NASCAR is, with cameras everywhere — on the bumpers, inside the car, on the roof, all around the track, etc. For fans who want to watch NASCAR online, coverage is shared between FOX networks (including FOX and FS1) and NBC, although the FOX channels get the bulk of the coverage.
Sling TV now offers a basic package that includes all the FOX-owned sports networks, including FS1, FS2, regional FOX Sports networks, and FOX (live in select markets; on demand everywhere else), among other great channels. This allows you to watch all of the exciting NASCAR races airing across those networks. Sling TV is only $20 a month with no contract, and you can try it free for 7 days to decide whether or not you want to sign up.
Another option for streaming NASCAR is PlayStation Vue. Like Sling, Vue offers a bundle of popular pay TV channels streaming to your devices. Their basic package starts at $29.99 in most markets, and it also includes FS1, regional FOX Sports networks, and FOX (live in select markets; on demand everywhere else). Vue’s lineup does include NBC (on demand in most markets) and NBCSN, but it’s worth noting the service’s higher price point, limited device availability, and mobile streaming restrictions outside your home network.
Lastly, since FOX does cover many NASCAR races and it’s a free over-the-air channel, you may be able to watch NASCAR action with an antenna on many weekends.
We can sit and split hairs about whether or not pro wrestling belongs in an article about how to watch sports online, but the fact is that there are millions of fans around the world, many of whom want to know how to watch WWE online without cable. Here’s a quick overview of the best options that allow fans to catch all the action.
The best way to watch WWE online is with their official streaming service WWE Network. Not only does it have a never-ending library of WWE, WCW, and ECW content, but the real kicker is that you get to live stream all new pay-per-views, including Wrestlemania for only $9.99 a month. New subscriber? Get a free 30-day trial here.
Want to keep up with Monday Night Raw, Smackdown, and other new WWE weekly shows? Hulu replays all WWE weekly programming 24 hours after it airs. This is a solid option for people looking for a decent all around programming option. Just remember though, no WWE live stream here.
Get clips, sneak peeks, and more on the official WWE YouTube channel. You can also find some individual matches from the past if you search around.
And finally, Now TV allows WWE fans in the UK to live stream all weekly WWE programming. That means Raw, Smackdown, and more. Watch WWE online with Now TV here.
Want more info? Check out the complete WWE live stream guide here.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and it’s picking up steam here in the U.S. Whichever league is your favorite, there are a several good options available to you.
Sling TV offers just about everything a soccer fan could want across its various packages, from the ESPN networks, beIN Sports, FS1 and FS2, regional FOX Sports channels, Univision Deportes, and more.
There’s also their popular Sling International service option. Formerly known as DishWorld, Sling International is $10 a month for soccer as well as a few other channels. A taste of the soccer you can watch with Sling International includes: La Liga, Coppa Italia, Copa del Rey, Russian Premier League, and more. You can get a free 1 -month trial here.
Featuring ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes (available with Deportes Extra add-on pack), Sling TV features most of the same soccer as Sling International, except it includes MLS, some select USMNT games, the Euro 2016 qualifiers, and a few others. At $25 per month ($20 for standard package + $5 for Sports Extra) Sling is a great option that includes plenty of other live non-sports channels like TNT, AMC, the History Channel, and more. Try it for three months now and get a free Roku 2 ($70 value) or half off a Roku 3 streaming device!
One extremely popular soccer streaming service is fuboTV. The biggest benefits are that it’s cheap, has DVR functionality and is available in both the US and Canada. fuboTV gives you beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol, GolTV and more for only $6.99 per month. This allows you to watch popular leagues like La Liga, Serie A, Copa America, and more. Try the free trial here.
If you’re looking for Champion’s League coverage, you want to go with the FOX streaming service, Fox Soccer 2Go. The service also gives you coverage of MLS, Women’s World Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Bundesliga, and more.
Just a die-hard fan of U.S.-based Major League Soccer? MLS Live gives you coverage of MLS only, but some blackouts to apply.
If you’re a soccer fanatic who is looking for more detailed information on how to watch soccer online, including how to get World Cup coverage, check out my Ultimate Guide to Watching Soccer Online.
Sling TV has just added a new channel lineup that hockey fans may find interesting. They now offer local FOX Sports networks across the country, which can be a great way to keep up with many regional NHL teams, such as the Stars, Hurricanes, Wild, Lightning, Blues, Ducks, Kings, Red Wings, Panthers, and Coyotes. Click here for more info.
Want to watch hockey online? You can get NHL Gamecenter Live All-Access yearly for $131.49 per year, All-Access monthly for $24.99 per month, or a Single Team package for $105.09 per year. This gives you access to live out-of-market games, and you can choose between home or away team broadcast. And after a recent lawsuit, it looks like the NHL will be lifting blackouts, meaning you will likely be able to see your local teams too! I’ll keep you up-to-date as more information becomes available.
Did you know you can also watch some NHL games for free in HD with an antenna? During the 2014-2015 season, NBC aired 14 games nationally on network TV and carried 17 Stanley Cup Playoffs games, including four of the six Stanley Cup Finals games. NBC’s contract with the NHL lasts through the 2020-2021 season, so you can expect similar coverage over the next several years. And depending on your location, you could also use an antenna to pick up in-market games through local broadcast stations. The bottom line here is that a good antenna (I recommend the Mohu Leaf) will allow you to get some solid NHL hockey coverage for free.
Want more information on how to watch NHL online? You can view my complete guide here.
Looking to watch the bowl games? Click here for the complete guide.
Sling TV is the best way to stream live sports and watch college football online. Why? Well, with the basic package, you get access to ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 (via the WatchESPN app). With those three channels, you can legally watch nearly 50% of all nationally broadcast college football games online. Add the Sports Extra package for an additional $5 per month and you can get ESPNU and SEC Network. SEC Network alone shows around 45 SEC football games per season.
In addition to the regular season coverage, ESPN also signed a deal giving them exclusive rights to broadcast the College Football Playoffs. And let’s not forget all the college football analysis you’ll get across the ESPN-owned offerings on shows like College GameDay. In other words, Sling TV is a must-have for the college fan looking to watch college football online without a cable subscription (oh, and the rest of your family will be pleased when they learn that Sling TV includes a bunch of other popular channels ranging from HGTV to Disney) .
Plan on watching all season long? Then you need to take advantage of this deal: get a free Roku 2 or 50% off a Roku 3 when you prepay 3 months of Sling TV. Roku will allow you to get your college football streams on your TV. If you’d rather try out the service first before paying, you can sign up for a free trial here.
Need something else to fill the gaps with some of the games you can’t find through Sling’s ESPN coverage? Try the CBS-backed streaming service, College Sports Live. The live sports streaming service is available for $9.95 per month or $99.95 for a full year.
Many people will also find that they can get some college football coverage on broadcast networks like ABC. These are free over-the-air using an antenna. If you need an antenna, check out the highly rated Mohu Leaf 50 here. And make sure you check local broadcast TV listings for info on what games are being shown in your area.
Want more detail on how to watch college football games online? Click here to see my complete guide with specifics for the various conferences.
While cord cutters can’t get the Golf Channel legally, they can see all four of the Majors without cable. All you need are two things: Sling TV and an OTA antenna. Sling TV gives you live streams of both ESPN and TNT. ESPN has rights to show part of the Masters and all of the British Open. TNT has partial rights to the PGA Championship. So if you sign up for Sling TV, you can get all of that coverage, including the Masters live stream. Try it for free here.
Sling TV will also afford you some women’s golf coverage. For example, ESPN broadcasts the US Women’s Open. ESPN2, which is also available on Sling along with ESPN3 via the WatchESPN app, broadcasts the ANA Inspiration and the Marathon Classic. TNT covers the Women’s British Open.
An antenna like the Mohu Leaf should give you access to the major networks, FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC. FOX has US Open rights, and CBS has partial Masters and PGA rights. In 2017, NBC will takeover broadcasting the British Open.
CBS and NBC will also fill in a lot of the gaps along the way in the PGA Tour. For example, in 2015 CBS carries the John Deere Classic, the Wyndham Classic, and more. NBC covers the BMW Championship, the Presidents Cup, and others. You can also find LPGA coverage across CBS, NBC, and ABC.
So do most golf fans need cable? Absolutely not. You can watch golf online and over-the-air and catch the most important action.
Tennis fans who want to follow their favorite stars throughout the year no longer need cable TV to do so. Now, there are some great legal ways to watch tennis online without spending an arm and a leg.
Because Sling TV lets you stream live sports on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and other popular channels, you can enjoy great coverage of most of the major men’s and women’s tennis tournaments throughout the season, such as the Australian Open, French Open, US Open, and more. Sling TV alone is enough to make sure you enjoy tennis’ biggest moments throughout the year. Try it free for 7 days.
Another streaming service tennis fans may enjoy is Tennis Channel Plus. While this is not a live stream of the actual Tennis Channel, the streaming service does offer complementary coverage to the channel, and subscribers can enjoy more than 650 live events throughout the year, including live matches from more than 45 tournaments. The service is $69.99 for an annual pass or $6 month-to-month.
Check out our full guide on how to watch tennis online for more info.
It’s hard to match the excitement of mixed martial arts competition! If you’re looking to watch MMA online, you’re in luck as there are plenty of great legal ways you can do so.
Sling TV presents a good option for watching MMA coverage online. The offer two packages, the Best of Live TV package, which includes ESPN, ESPN2 and much more, and the multi-stream beta package, which offers FS1, FS2, FOX Sports regional networks, and more. Both of these packages are very valuable to UFC and MMA fans, as both the ESPN family of networks and the FOX family of networks host many MMA matches throughout the year. Click here to try Sling TV free for a week!
For UFC junkies, UFC Fight Pass is another streaming service worth checking out. This is the UFC’s official standalone streaming service, and it offers a ton of great content. For $9.99 a month (or $7.99 a month if you sign up for a year), you get to live stream UFC Fight Nights, enjoy a ton of great fights on demand on programs like UFC Unleashed and Best of Pride, stream PPV events a month after their air date (no live streaming for PPVs yet), and much more. Click here for more info.
Check out our full guide to watching MMA online for more details.
Cricket is a sport beloved worldwide. Traditionally, it’s been difficult to find legal ways to watch cricket online in the US, but that has changed recently.
Today, there is a great way to stream cricket without cable. Sling TV and Willow TV International recently partnered to bring major cricket events to subscribers of the live streaming service. Now, those who sign up for the Sling TV International World Sports package will be able to live stream cricket events from across the world, including ICC, Pakistan, India, West Indies, South Africa, Australia, and more.
In fact, Sling TV is now officially the largest provider of legal cricket streaming in the United States.
Check out our complete guide on how to watch cricket online for more info.
If you’re a cycling fan, then you need access to Universal Sports. Universal Sports covers the Tour Down Under, Tour de Suisse, the Tour of Belgium, and more. Luckily, it’s relatively inexpensive to get when you go with Sling International. For just $10 a month, Sling International allows you to stream a small package of world sports channels on your computer, mobile device, or TV (using a streaming player like the Roku 3). Channels include Universal Sports, beIN Sports, One World Sports, and more. Get a free 30-day trial here to watch sports online.
Need a more well-rounded streaming solution? Sling TV, like Sling International, is a streaming service created by Dish Network that offers about 20 popular cable channels via the internet for just $20 per month. Channels include ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, HGTV, AMC, and more. For an additional $5 per month, you can add on the Sports Extra package, which includes Universal Sports and a bunch of other specialty networks. Try it out here for 7 days. Your family will love it and you can cancel at any time.
Of course, you can’t talk about cycling without mentioning the Superbowl of cycling, the Tour de France. Due to the event’s popularity, NBC has created a special service devoted to allowing viewers to get a Tour de France live stream. This allows you to watch the entire Tour for only $30. Click here to learn more about it.
Sling TV is the top way to watch college basketball online. The basic “Best of Live TV” package comes with many channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, and access to the WatchESPN app. You also get TNT, TBS streaming, and TruTV live stream. With all these channels combined, you’ll have access to all sorts of college basketball all season–including a March Madness live stream for every round plus the National Championship game on TBS in 2016.
And for an additional $5 per month, you can get the “Sports Extra” add on package. This will give you ESPNU, SEC Network, and many more. Learn more here.
If you are looking for a season-long solution, there’s a deal for you: get an absolutely free Roku 2 or half off a Roku 3 if you sign up for 3 months of service with Sling TV. This lets you get your college basketball live stream on your television. Of course, you could also sign up for a 7-day long free trial here.
And if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you get an even better deal — just $14 a month for the Best of Live TV package, a 30% discount. Click here for more info and get Sling TV free for 7 days.
CBS All Access is another streaming service that will give you some college basketball coverage. With CBS featuring games on the weekend all season long and through March Madness, it’s a good way to watch college basketball online and stream live sports while gaining access to all their other programming. Learn more about CBS All Access here.
Another popular option is the live sports streaming service created by CBS, College Sports Live. You can get it for $9.95 per month or $99.95 for an entire year. This will allow you to get live streaming video and/or live streaming audio for games.
Want to see more options for how to watch NCAA basketball online? Click here for the complete guide!
For some sports junkies, you can’t talk about how to watch sports online without cable without mentioning ESPN. But until recently, there was no legal way to watch ESPN without cable. Now, thanks to Sling TV, a subsidiary of Dish Network, that has changed, and you can get all the ESPN you desire. This streaming service offers you a stripped down package of channels for $20. Channels include the following: ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Disney Channel, ABC Family, and more.
For super sports enthusiasts, the Sports Extra package is available for an additional $5 a month. This includes these channels: SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, and ESPN Goal Line. Subscribing to Sling TV also gives you (limited) access to the WatchESPN app, which may interest Apple TV users. Try the free trial here.
Update: For a limited time, if you try Sling TV to watch sports online for 3 months, you can get a Roku 3 streaming device at 50% off or a Roku 2 for FREE!
Follow the link to get more information on how you can watch ESPN online without a cable TV subscription?
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