The most updated version of this story (April 2019) can be found here.
Sports is still one of the main reasons people pay for cable TV as they want their sports live. The good news is watching sports as a cord cutter is easier than ever and can save you a lot of money. So here is our quick guide to being a cord cutting sports fan.
The first thing many people want is access to their favorite sports channels. ESPN, FS1, BTN, and more are all available to cord cutters with services such as Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, fuboTV, and DIRECTV NOW.
Here is a quick chart on which service has what:
|Channels||Sling||PS Vue||DIRECTV NOW||Hulu||YouTube TV||Fubo TV|
|ESPN Goal Line||X||X||X||X||X|
|Pac -12 Networks||X||X|
|Sports Illustrated TV||X|
*ESPN Goal Line is only available in the WatchESPN app for some services.
*DIRECTV NOW does not offer the NFL Redzone channel and does not support ESPN3 at this time.
**Stadium also streams for free online.
***Did I miss something or make an error? Send us a message.
ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC
Many of the biggest sporting events every year are 100% free on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. A good antenna will give you these races without the need to pay for anything. Not sure what antenna you should get? Check out Antenna Web and type in your address to see what kind of antenna you will need.
Regional Sports Channels (Fox Sports, NBC Sports, MSG, Etc)
If you want access to your local sports networks such as Fox Sports or NBC Sports we have good news for you. Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Hulu, fuboTV, and DIRECTV NOW all offer local sports channels just not all of them. Sadly you will have to do a bit of research to see what local sports network each has in your area. They all seem to have Fox Sports and the rest have a smattering of different regional sports networks. So make sure to visit their sites to find out what they have where you live.
The NFL is our most commonly asked for sports. The good news is with an antenna 90% of Americans will be able to access their local CBS, FOX, and NBC stations. Add a streaming service such as Sling TV, FuboTV, DIRECTV NOW, or PlayStation Vue for ESPN, NFL Network, and NFL Redzone and you have the same coverage your local cable TV company can give you. CBS All Access now streams in-market Sunday games through its streaming service.
You can find our full NFL guide HERE.
College football is our second most requested guide from sports fans. As you saw above many streaming services such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, YouTube TV, and DIRECTV NOW offer access to popular channels for college football fans. SEC Network, BTN, and the Pac-12 Network are all now available to cord cutters.
ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC are available to more than 90% of Americans with an antenna. If you cannot get it over the air look into services such as Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue, which offer locals in many different markets. So make sure to visit their sites to see what you can get in your local market.
You can find our full College Football guide HERE.
Both Sling TV, fuboTV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and DIRECTV NOW will give you NBA TV and networks such as ESPN and TNT. You can watch the games on ABC with an antenna or by using your login for WatchESPN apps.
Again you may need to shop around for the service that has your regional sports channel but most Americans should be able to get it from one of the services.
You may also want to look into NBA League Pass if you live outside of your sports team’s local market. For a one-time payment of $99.99, you can watch every game for your out-of-market team. Now you can also subscribe to NBA League Pass through Sling TV and YouTube TV.
If you are an NHL fan then Sling TV is what you want. It has the NHL Network as well as the NBC Sports network for great NHL coverage. Add an antenna for local NBC games or stream NBC games for free on NBC’s website.
Are you a golf fan? Sling TV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, and DIRECTV NOW all offer the Golf Channel along with ESPN and more. Again add in an antenna for locals such as CBS and you have your golf fix. If you have poor OTA coverage check out the streaming services. Over half of PlayStation Vue subscribers now get local CBS stations live. Twitter will also now live stream some Golf events.
If you want access to your local sports networks such as Fox Sports or Comcast SportsNet (CSN) we have good news for you YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and DIRECTV NOW all offer local sports channels just not all of them. Sadly you will have to do a bit of research to see what local sports network each has in your area. They all seem to have Fox Sports and the rest have a smattering of different regional sports networks. So make sure to visit their sites to find out what they have where you live.
If you are a fan of UFC you should look at the UFC Fight Pass for ultimate access to UFC fights. It will show a ton of fights but you will need a service such as Sling TV or Hulu to watch fights on FS1 and FS2 as well as signup for paper view events on Sling TV.
If you want Nascar the main channels you want are FOX, NBC, FS1, & NBCSN. The good news is Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, YouTube TV, and DIRECTV NOW all offer what you want. Als,o don’t forget an antenna for you locals.
Do you have a sport we didn’t cover? Leave us a comment and we will work on adding it to the list.
Did you know we have a YouTube Channel? Every week we have a live Cord Cutting Q&A, and weekly Cord Cutting recap shows exclusively on our YouTube Channel!