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How to Watch ESPN Live Without Cable - Streaming Stadium

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How to Watch ESPN Live Without Cable

Written by John O'Connor

For 2023, the cheapest way to live stream ESPN, and the ESPN family of networks, is with Sling TV Orange.

Table of Contents
  1. Streaming services that carry ESPN
  2. The best budget pick for streaming ESPN – Sling Orange
  3. Watching ESPN on fuboTV
  4. Watching ESPN on YouTube TV
  5. Watching ESPN on DIRECTV STREAM
  6. Watching ESPN on Hulu + Live TV
  7. What about ESPN Plus?
  8. Watching ESPN FAQ

ESPN is the most watched cable network, often averaging a whopping 1.6 million viewers in primetime. If you are looking for the best ways to watch ESPN without cable, we have you covered. You can live stream ESPN on a host of different devices, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone, Apple TV, laptops, Samsung Smart TV, and more. Several live TV streaming services, including DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV Orange, and YouTube TV carry ESPN.

Sling Orange is the best budget option for watching ESPN live online, but many of our readers will want to sign up for a YouTube TV subscription for watching select ESPN programming in 4K. If you’re a 4K enthusiast, make sure you have a device that supports 4K before signing up.

Sling Orange

The best budget option for live streaming ESPN.

$35 / month

Explore offers

YouTube TV

Watch ESPN in 4K on supported devices.

$64.99 / month

14 Day Free Trial

Streaming services that carry ESPN

In the easy to use table below, we list every live TV streaming service that carries ESPN, and link to our review of each.

DIRECTV STREAMfuboTVHulu + Live TVParamount+Philo TVSling Orange & BlueYouTube TV
ESPN ESPN

The best budget pick for streaming ESPN – Sling Orange

One of the problems with the world of cord cutting is prices have been on the rise, and as such, our top pick for streaming ESPN without cable is also the most cost-effective way to stream ESPN – Sling Orange.

At just $35 per month, Sling Orange gets you access to ESPN, plus the following sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • TNT

The downside of going with Sling’s basic package is that you won’t have access to local channels, like ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, which are especially important for the NFL regular season and playoffs.

Sling Orange + Blue carries FOX and NBC in some local markets, but not everyone will have access. If you’re confused, check out my guide to local channels on Sling TV.

The bottom line: if your main streaming concern is ESPN, and ESPN alone, Sling Orange is a great budget option. If you want a more complete sports package to pair with ESPN, then keep reading, because there are more robust options for cord cutting sports fans. Do note that Sling Blue does not carry ESPN, although it does offer local FOX affiliates in many major markets which offers a nice way to watch in-market NFC games during the NFL regular season.


Watching ESPN on fuboTV

Fubo is another live TV streaming service that carries ESPN. The base package also comes with CBS, FOX, and NBC, all channels that are essential for watching NFL action, plus fuboTV also carries ESPN2, the Big Ten Network, and FS1 and FS2.

fuboTV also carries a growing lineup of 4K programming, including FOX college football broadcasts in 4K, but not ESPN just yet.

Watching ESPN on YouTube TV

As I mention in my YouTube TV 4K reviewYouTube TV offers some ESPN programming in 4K, and features a much more robust sports channel lineup than does Sling Orange. If you’re the type of sports fan, as my Dad is, who loves his massive 4K TV, then YouTube TV will be your best bet for streaming ESPN.

In addition to ESPN, YouTube TV also offers these sports channels as part of its basic package for $64.99 per month:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • ESPN 2
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • FOX Sports
  • FOX Sports 4K
  • MLB Network
  • NBA TV
  • NBA TV in 4K
  • NBC
  • NBC Sports in 4K
  • NFL Network
  • Olympic Channel
  • TNT

YouTube TV also sets itself apart with the exceptional sports features its development team built into the app, which are especially valuable for watching football.

Regular readers will now be used to me raving about the YouTube TV features – Stats View and Key Plays. During games, football fans can switch to Stats View to see extensive stats for their favorite players, or for entire teams, accumulating in real time as the game unfolds. Stats View is especially valuable for me because I no longer need to follow ESPN Gamecast to keep up on stats during a game.

In addition, by saving games to YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR, called the “Library,” there is also the option of catching up on a game by watching only key plays. Fans can also choose to watch key plays by player, or type of play.

Last, YouTube TV is one of our top picks for watching NFL games on mobile because they are the only live TV streaming service that features a real time integration with Fantasy Football leagues, called Fantasy View. Fantasy View is a mobile only feature for YouTube TV.


Watching ESPN on DIRECTV STREAM

The basic DIRECTV STREAM “Entertainment” package comes with ESPN. In order to access DirecTV’s library of regional sports networks, an upgrade to the “Choice” plan is required. The base package for DIRECTV STREAM only comes with 20 hours of cloud DVR storage, which is low compared to most other competitors.


Watching ESPN on Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV carries ESPN, and through its ESPN+ bundle, has integrated ESPN+ programming directly into the Hulu interface.


What about ESPN Plus?

Another option to keep in mind if you are a sports fan wanting to stream ESPN content is ESPN Plus, the streaming wing of ESPN.

I have used ESPN Plus for years, and find the app valuable. However, it is important for cord cutting sports fans to understand that ESPN Plus and ESPN are not the same.

ESPN features Monday Night Football, and also a slate of NBA games. ESPN Plus doesn’t offer any NBA games, and has only recently added a limited lineup of NFL games.

If you don’t need to watch Monday Night Football, and NBA action isn’t a priority, cord cutters can save a lot of money by just subscribing to ESPN Plus for $9.99 per month, rather than paying for a full live TV streaming service.

Watching ESPN FAQ

How can I watch ESPN when I am out-of-town?

If you are a cable subscriber and want to watch ESPN when traveling, you can use your cable TV login credentials to access ESPN programming via TV Everywhere with the Watch ESPN app.

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