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.

Where to Watch Online:

DirecTV Now button (free 7-day trial)

Sling TV button (free 7-day trial)

(free 5-day trial)

 

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, with no cable contract required. And, don’t worry – there are completely legal ESPN live stream options. No sketchy streams. No pop up ads. You can even watch ESPN online without cable, free for one full week this way.

So, whether you’re looking to watch live sports, you want the latest sports news, or you want to enjoy the network’s original programming, there are tons of great options to enjoy an ESPN live stream without cable. Read on to learn about the best streaming options, including how to enjoy an ESPN live stream free for 7 days.

 

Watch ESPN Online Using DIRECTV NOW

directv now review

Sports fans might be wary about cutting the cord for fear that they will miss out on their favorite games. That’s not the case anymore! Now you can sign up for DIRECTV NOW. This cable-free live streaming service lets you watch live TV on your streaming devices, mobile devices and computers. ESPN and ESPN2 are both included in the basic package, alongside 60+ other great channels. Rates start from just $35 per month, with no contract required.

Not only do you receive multiple ESPN networks with DIRECTV NOW, you’ll also get A&E, AMC, CNN, TBS, Bravo, E!, Food Network, Disney, TNT, and plenty of other channels. Want HBO or Cinemax? You can add one or both for a small monthly fee! Streaming and mobile devices work with DIRECTV NOW, so you won’t have a problem watching your shows at home or on the go.

Keep in mind that DIRECTV NOW 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 the service offers: AMC, CNN, TNT, FOX News, Food Network, TBS, the History Channel, HGTV, IFC, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, and more. There are 60+ channels in total available for streaming in the basic package, just like you’d get from a cable company, but it’s online. So, you can do a lot more than just watch ESPN live with DIRECTV NOW.

Not sure yet? That’s cool! Sign up for the 7-day trial to see if DIRECTV NOW is right for you. It’s a great way to get an ESPN live stream free for one week. Need a free Amazon Fire stick? All you need to do is prepay for your service for a few months and you can get a free device. Still have questions? Head on over to our DIRECTV NOW review and you’ll get your answers! And don’t forget to sign up for your free weeklong trial!

 

Sling TV Offers ESPN Live Stream at Lowest Price

Sling TV

Sling TV is a streaming service similar to DIRECTV NOW and others. It lets you watch TV programs on your computer, mobile device, or streaming device (Roku, Apple TV, etc.) 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.

When you subscribe to the basic Sling TV package, you can stream ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3, along with 25+ other channels. Additionally, if you want more selection, 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 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. It’s the cheapest way to enjoy ESPN streaming without cable TV. Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial, so you can try it now.

 

Get ESPN Streaming with PlayStation Vue

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

Vue’s price point is higher than Sling TV, starting at $29.99 a month for their cheapest plan, but you get a lot more channels with Vue’s basic package. So if you’re looking for a good variety of networks beyond just ESPN streaming, Vue is a solid option. Vue is available on a number of streaming devices, including PS3/PS4 consoles, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android devices, and iPhones/iPads.

Like other streaming services, Vue offers a free 7-day trial to test out the service. This is a great way to watch ESPN online free for a week and to explore everything else the service has to offer.

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

 

How to Get the ESPN Live Stream on Your TV

roku 3

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, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV.

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.

With DIRECTV NOW, you can watch ESPN on Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and some smart TVs. Sling TV lets you watch ESPN on Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, and other streaming devices. And Vue is available on most of the previously mentioned devices as well as on PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles.

Don’t have a set top streaming device? DIRECTV NOW offers deals on discounted streaming devices when you sign up for certain services. Sling TV is also running a deal right now where you can get a FREE Roku device when you sign up for a few months of their service. That means you can watch ESPN on Roku and so many other great channels.

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. There is currently no legitimate legal way to stream ESPN free, at least for more than a week.

However, DIRECTV NOW (and the others listed) 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 $35 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.

 

What about the WatchESPN App?

WatchESPN is the official app for ESPN. Like other cable channels, ESPN’s “TV Everywhere” app contains a load of on-demand and live content, including access to the digital network ESPN3.

But there’s a catch. To access most of the content (including the ESPN live stream), you’ll need to login with a pay TV package. So if you don’t have cable or a streaming service like the ones mentioned above, the WatchESPN app won’t be a complete solution for you. Keep in mind that Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue will also allow you to access WatchESPN, but for the most part this won’t be necessary.

You can get the WatchESPN app on Apple and Android devices, gaming consoles, Roku, Amazon Fire, and other streaming players.

 

Is There a Standalone ESPN Streaming Subscription Service?

No — as of right now, there is not a way to subscribe directly to ESPN streaming online. To watch ESPN online, you’ll need to subscribe to a streaming service like DIRECTV NOW, Sling TV, or PlayStation Vue.

However, there have been rumblings for a while now that a standalone ESPN streaming subscription service could be coming at some point in the future. If this does happen, we will update this guide to let you know all of the details about it.

 

Watch ESPN Shows and Live Sports Online without Cable

Thanks to these numerous streaming options, you can now watch ESPN shows and their live sports coverage without the need for cable TV. Some ESPN shows and sports you can watch include:

 

The Recommended 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 DIRECTV NOW. 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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