How to Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup Without Cable

How to Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup Without Cable

The biggest tournament in the world of sports is about to begin. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will kick off in Russia on June 14, and everyone will be talking about it – so you ought to be watching it. That’s why we’re here to show you how to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable. Thanks to over-the-air and online options, you’ll be able to watch or stream the World Cup – for free, in many cases – on a bunch of your favorite devices. Sound like something you want to do? Good, then let’s get to it. Here’s how to watch the 2018 World Cup without cable.

What Channels Are World Cup Games On?

First things first: what are we trying to watch without cable? Fox has the right to the English-language World Cup broadcasts this year, which means that the whole tournament will be aired under their Fox Sports brand. But Fox Sports isn’t a channel – it’s a brand that Fox uses across multiple networks, including Fox, FS1, and others. So what channels will you actually be tuning into?

The majority of the games – including most of the biggest ones – will be on Fox’s parent channel. The rest of the good stuff will be on FS1. As of this writing, there are no games scheduled for FS2 or any of Fox’s other properties, so Fox and FS1 are what we’re after.

Unless, of course, you want Spanish-language broadcasts. If that’s the case, you’ll be looking for NBC Universo and Telemundo, instead.

Below, we’ll tell you how to get all four channels – Fox, FS1, NBC Universo, and Telemundo – without cable, so that you can watch the World Cup, no cable required.

How to Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup Online and Over the Air Without Cable

To watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup online, you’ll need to be able to stream Fox and FS1 (or, if you’re looking for Spanish-language content, NBC Universo and Telemundo).

Fox is easy for many cord cutters to get: it’s a broadcast channel, which means that it’s available for free over the air. We’ll talk more about that further down our list, but before we get there, there are some other methods we’ll be discussing. The services we’ll list first will help you get not just Fox, but FS1, NBC Universo, and Telemundo as well. So what are they?

They’re called skinny bundles, and they’re a type of pay TV service that is making it easier than ever to be a cord cutter. Here’s the short version of what’s going on: skinny bundles are pay TV services that give their subscribers live streaming TV networks at prices that are lower than cables. You won’t have to buy a big, bloated bundle, because skinny bundles – as their name suggests – offer thinned-down channel packages with nothing but the good stuff. And since they stream online, you can watch them on all kinds of different devices (we’ll talk more about that after we wrap up our list).

Plus, the services we’ll recommend below offer free trials – which means that you can actually stream the World Cup for free online using their services. You’ll get to do that for a week, in most cases, before you have to decide what to do.

Hulu with Live TV

Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable: Hulu with Live TV

Hulu with Live TV is the skinny bundle service from Hulu, which you may already know for its on-demand content (that on-demand content is included in your subscription if you opt for Hulu with Live TV). Hulu with Live TV offers one main bundle, which costs $39.99 per month and includes a lot of great channels – including some that we can use to watch the 2018 World Cup online. You’ll find live streams of Fox (in select markets), FS1, and Telemundo. All that’s missing is NBC Universo. You can try Hulu with Live TV for free by clicking the link below.

Try Hulu with Live TV for free

Sling TV

Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable: Sling TV

Sling TV is designed to allow you to create your own skinny bundle. Here’s how it works: you start with a base bundle, which can be either “Sling Orange” ($20 per month), “Sling Blue” ($25 per month), or both ($40 per month). From there, you can add “Extras” – small add-on bundles of similar channels grouped together. By allowing you to add a few channels at a time instead of forcing you to climb price ladders to higher-tier bundles, Sling TV makes it more affordable to get exactly the channels you want.

So what do you need to do in order to watch the Russia 2018 without cable on Sling TV? For Fox (in select markets) and FS1, you’ll just need Sling Blue. Spanish-language fans will find Universo in Sling Blue or Best of Spanish TV ($10 per month). Telemundo isn’t here, unfortunately, but – for English-speakers – the $25-per-month Sling Blue is the single cheapest way to watch every World Cup game online. And that’s after you check out the week-long free trial, of course – do that by clicking the link below.

Try Sling TV for free


Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable: fuboTV

fuboTV was originally founded as a soccer streaming service, so it’s no surprise to see them on this list. While fuboTV has long since relaunched as a more general-interest skinny bundle, it’s still a great choice for sports fans and a particularly good choice for soccer fans. You’ll find Fox (in select markets), FS1, NBC Universo, and Telemundo in fuboTV’s smallest package, the $39.99-per-month “fubo.” They’re also all in the larger package, “fubo Extra,” which costs $49.99 per month. You can check out fuboTV for free for a week by clicking the link below. It’s a great way to watch the World Cup free online while you see if fuboTV is right for you.

Try fuboTV for free

PlayStation Vue

Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable: PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue is a streaming service that’s owned by Sony – that’s the reason behind its PlayStation branding. Despite the name, PlayStation Vue is a great way to watch live TV on a bunch of different platforms, including Roku, iOS, and more. Like some competitors, PlayStation Vue divides its offerings up into tiered channel bundles. All of them – including the cheapest option, which is the $39.99-per-month “Access” bundle – include a Fox live stream (in select markets) and an FS1 live stream. Telemundo is also included in every bundle, but NBC Universo is available only in an add-on: Español pack, for $4.99 per month.. You can try out PlayStation Vue by signing up for their free trial which is five days long. To do that, click the link below.

Try PlayStation Vue for free

YouTube TV

Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable: YouTube TV

YouTube TV is Google’s skinny bundle. As of this writing, it’s still working on a regional rollout. But if you’re in a region that is served by YouTube TV, you’ll find that the new streaming service is a great way to stream the World Cup online. For $40 per month, YouTube TV will give you Fox (in select markets), FS1, Telemundo, and NBC Universo. That’s every game of the World Cup, broadcast in both English and Spanish. You can check out YouTube TV for free by clicking the link below.

Try YouTube TV for free

DirecTV Now

Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable: DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now offers subscribers a choice of several different channel bundles. The smaller the bundle, the cheaper – but, of course, smaller bundles have fewer channels. The good news is that you’ll be able to pick whatever bundle you want. All of DirecTV Now’s bundles, including its very smallest (“Live a Little,” which costs just $35 per month) include Fox (in select markets), and FS1. Meanwhile, NBC Universo is available for those who step up at least as far as “Go Big” ($60 per month). Telemundo coverage is limited to on-demand content with DirecTV Now, so no luck there. But you’ll get at least the English-language broadcasts of every single game from the Live a Little package alone. To check out DirecTV Now risk-free – and to stream World Cup games free for a week – sign up for the free trial using the link below.

Try DirecTV Now for free

Free Over-the-Air TV

Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable: free over-the-air TV

As longtime readers of can tell you, free over-the-air TV is the most powerful cord cutting tool that not enough cord cutters are using. It’s possible to watch some of TV’s most important and beloved networks for free using an antenna – and, as it happens, that means it’s possible to watch the World Cup for free.

Both Fox and Telemundo are broadcast networks, which means that they are broadcast for free over the air in many areas. If you can pick up the signal from your local affiliate stations, you’ll be able to watch most of the World Cup – including the biggest games – for free.

Check out free over-the-air TV

Can I Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

One of the great things about skinny bundles is that you can watch them on almost any device. So let’s talk about all of the different streaming devices that you can use to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup without cable.

If you use Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast, you have a staggering number of options: DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV will all work for you. DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV will also work on Fire TV devices, while fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV will work on Android TV devices.

Want to watch on the go? You can stream the World Cup on your iPad or Android phone, among other devices, because DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all have apps for both iOS and Android mobile devices.

DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV also have in-browser apps that work great with major problems. And Sling TV has a desktop app for Windows computers, too.

Even video game systems are in on the fun. You can stream Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, or YouTube TV on your Xbox One. You can use PlayStation Vue on a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4.

There are also ways to watch your free over-the-air World Cup broadcasts on multiple devices. Check out our posts on OTA DVRs and Plex to learn more about those options.

All in all, it’s incredibly easy to watch the World Cup online or over-the-air. You can even stream the World Cup for free while you decide which of the many options is right for you. So why not scroll up and snag some free trials before the action kicks off?


Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that PlayStation Vue and Sling TV do not offer Universo. In fact, Universo is available on PlayStation Vue via the Español add-on ($4.99 per month when added to a base package) and on Sling TV via Sling Blue ($25 per month) or Best of Spanish TV ($10 per month

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

6 Comments on "How to Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup Without Cable"

  1. Great info here. Sports is the only reason I ever wish I had cable, but it’s never enough to make me want to buy a package. This is helpful information and well put together to help me watch the best sporting event in the world!

  2. I don’t care a about streaming live games. I’m fine with watching games later. Where can I do that?

    • | June 13, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Reply

      Each live TV service listed above offers a cloud DVR, so you could consider recording the games.

  3. Angelina Rivero | June 18, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Reply

    Hey! Just an update: for those of you who enjoy watching the World Cup in Spanish, NBC Universo IS actually available on all the same platforms as Telemundo: Sling TV, Hulu TV & PlayStation Vue! The channel name has been updated to “UNIVERSO” so that may be why you’re not finding it.

    UNIVERSO is holding some of the live games on week 3 of the tournament, and they have the re-airs every night starting at 4:30pm, if anyone misses it LIVE in the morning.


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