How to Legally Watch ESPN Online (Even Free!) without a Cable Subscription

ESPN Book Cover ESPN

With a variety of new streaming options, you can legally watch ESPN online without cable. Take a look at all of the ESPN live stream options below.

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Sling TV button

If you’re a sports fan, then you probably love ESPN. Unfortunately, for years the only way to watch ESPN was with a cable subscription. But now a couple of ways exist to watch ESPN online, no cable contract required. And it’s completely legal ESPN live stream options. No sketchy streams. No pop up ads. You can even watch ESPN online free for one full week this way.

What are these options? Sling TV offers the cheapest way to watch ESPN live stream, and now, PlayStation Vue offers ESPN streaming as well.


Sling TV Offers ESPN Live Stream at Lowest Price

Sling TV

Sling TV is a streaming service similar to Netflix, Hulu, and others. It lets you watch TV programs on your computer, mobile device, or streaming device (Roku, Apple TV, etc.). However, there is one major difference: Sling TV offers live streams of popular cable channels. Most notably, it is the cheapest service that offers an ESPN live stream. Sling TV is just $20 a month with no contract, or only $14 a month if you’re a T-Mobile customer.

What does that mean for you? That means you can watch all the best live sports programs online. The need for a cable subscription is gone. The NBA regular season, NBA Playoffs, NBA Draft, Monday Night Football, the NFL Draft, the MLB Playoffs, soccer (Champions League and more), Sportscenter…you can get it all live and legal. It’s the only legal way to enjoy ESPN streaming without cable TV.


Which ESPN Streaming Channels Can You Get with Sling TV?

When you subscribe to the basic Sling TV package, you can stream ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 (now integrated into the Sling TV guide so you don’t have to login to the WatchESPN app). However, Sling TV also offers a Sports Extra package. This package includes ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN News, and ESPN News. It also includes SEC Network, beIN Sports, and some other sports stations. Remember, this is a true ESPN live stream, so you get to enjoy the same channel as cable subscribers…at a fraction of the cost.

Sling TV is the only streaming service to offer an ESPN3 live stream in its normal interface. There’s no need to login to the WatchESPN app. ESPN3 can give you access to sports on ABC like the NBA Finals. And when you couple all of this with a Sling TV free trial, it’s a great way to watch ESPN online free to see if the service is right for you.


What Other Stations Can You Get with Sling TV?

Keep in mind that Sling TV is not just a way to watch ESPN online. It really is an all around cable TV alternative that features a little something for everyone in the family. Here are some of the most popular channels that come with the basic package: AMC, CNN, TNT, ABC Family, Food Network, TBS, the History Channel, HGTV, IFC, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, and more. There are 25+ channels total, with much more available in channel add-on packs. Keep in mind, this is live streaming, just like you’d get from a cable company, but it’s online. Check out the full list of Sling TV channels for more info.


How to Get the ESPN Live Stream on Your TV

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Of course, most of us don’t want to stare at our computer or phone to watch ESPN online. Thankfully there are a couple of easy solutions to get the ESPN live stream on your TV. The easiest way is to use a streaming box, like the Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV. I personally stream ESPN on Roku 3 and love it.

Here’s how it works. First you connect the set top box to your router via ethernet cable or wireless network. Then you connect the box to your TV. That’s it. You can now use your remote or app to control the programming streamed from your set top box to your TV.

Don’t have a set top streaming device? Sling TV is running a deal right now where you can get a FREE Roku Streaming Stick when you sign up for 3 months of their service. That means you can watch ESPN on Roku and so many other great channels.

If you’re more of an Apple guy and would rather watch ESPN on Apple TV, Sling TV offers an exclusive discount on Apple TV devices, when you sign up and prepay for 3 months of service.

Keep in mind, you can also connect your laptop directly to your TV with an HDMI cable. This was how I streamed to my TV prior to owning a Roku. It worked just fine, but there were a few disadvantages. For example, every time I wanted to pause it or change something, I had to get up from the couch and go to the keyboard.


Can You Watch ESPN Online FREE?

Yes and no. There are some sites out there that let you watch ESPN online free, but they’re illegal. Not to mention they’re full of malware that can really do a number on your devices, so it’s not worth using their shady ESPN streaming.

However, Sling TV does have a promotion that will allow you to watch ESPN online free for one week. If you enjoy it, you can continue to get it, along with many other channels, for $20 a month. Click here to start a 7-day trial so you can watch ESPN online free with no obligation!

If you’re a T-Mobile customer, Sling TV offers an even sweeter deal. T-Mobile customers can now get the Sling Orange bundle of channels for only $14 a month. The offer is good for up to a year, but you are still able to cancel service any time. That works out to a 30% discount off the regular price (which is already dirt cheap) for the same popular channels when you sign up for Sling TV as a T-Mobile subscriber. And with Binge On, T-Mobile lets you stream Sling TV on your mobile devices without using your data. Simply put, if you have T-Mobile, you should click to learn more about this limited-time deal and start a free 7-day trial.


Does PlayStation Vue Offer ESPN?

PlayStation Vue is a new live streaming service from Sony that has an offer similar to Sling TV. Like Sling, Vue gives subscribers access to a bundle of popular channels delivered streaming to their devices. Vue recently added ESPN to its lineup, providing sports fans with another legal way to enjoy ESPN streaming.

So, what’s the difference between Sling TV and Vue? And why do we believe Sling TV is a better option for those looking to stream ESPN?

First, there’s the price. While Sling TV is just $20 a month (or only $14 for T-Mobile customers), Vue’s price point is higher, starting at $29.99 a month for their cheapest plan. Another difference is that Vue is currently only available on a handful of devices, including PS3/PS4 consoles, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and iPhones/iPads. However, while Vue is available on Apple mobile devices, the service strictly blocks most mobile streaming outside of your home network. That means you probably won’t be able to watch ESPN online on the go with Vue if you’re away from home.

You can check out our full PlayStation Vue review for more info about the service.


The Most Affordable Legal Non-Cable Option to Watch ESPN Online

watch ESPN online

From live sporting events to analysis and commentary, ESPN really is the “Worldwide Leader of Sports,” as their tagline suggests. And now you can watch ESPN streaming you want with Sling TV. Simply click here to give it a shot with the 7-day free trial. Remember, there are no contracts, so you’re never locked in for more than a month at a time. That means you can use the service to stream ESPN and cancel any time without penalty.

Need help finding legal live streams of your favorite sports? Visit my sports page to get more information.

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Mr. Cable Cutter
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Mr. Cable Cutter

Mr. Cable Cutter has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, TechCrunch, Engadget, Fortune and more. Check out his step-by-step guide for free advice on how to get rid of cable.
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