All products and services are curated by our editorial staff. If you click on a link, we may earn a commission. Learn More We may earn a commission on link or button clicks. Learn More

Replacing your favorite shows and movies after cutting the cable cord is pretty easy, thanks to services like Hulu, Netflix, and HBO. But what about sports? They're a little tougher, because they're live events that are in the hands of live network TV channels. But they're not that much tougher. You probably already know that you can get major network sports broadcasts for free over the air. There are also ways to get networks sports channels like ESPN, even though they're not available over the air. Getting an ESPN live stream on your computer, smart TV, or streaming device is easier than ever. Read on to find out how to watch ESPN without cable.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream ESPN:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$4.99 8+ 30 days

See Offer

$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$25 – $40 32 – 52 7 days

See Offer

How to Watch ESPN Online Without Cable

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no way to get an ESPN live stream without pay TV. But not all pay TV services are satellite and cable services. There's a relatively new breed of pay TV service that caters to cord cutters and offers big savings over its legacy competition. We're talking, of course, about skinny bundles.

What's a skinny bundle? It's a streaming service, just like Netflix and the other well-known on-demand streaming services. Only skinny bundles don't rely on on-demand content (at least not exclusively) – their whole deal is live TV. Skinny bundles offer the same live feeds of network television channels that cable and satellite do, and they offer them for less. The channel packages are slimmer (hence the “skinny” part of the skinny bundle moniker), meaning that you're not paying for a bunch of extra channels you never watch. And since skinny bundles are delivered over the internet (“over the top,” in industry lingo), there are no infrastructure limitations to create those awful regional monopolies that we see with cable. The result is a more competitive market and lower prices on more efficient live TV packages.

And plenty of these skinny bundles include ESPN. Scroll down to get acquainted with the ones we recommend.

Stream ESPN for Free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu + Live TV is the skinny bundle service from the well-known streaming video on demand (SVOD) experts at Hulu. Hulu + Live TV service will net you ESPN as well as spin-off channels like ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and SEC Network. That's a pretty robust selection of ESPN's networks at a reasonable price point, so Hulu is definitely worth a look from ESPN fans. You can read our review of Hulu + Live TV here.

Stream ESPN for Free with Sling TV

Free Trial

Sling TV is Dish's skinny bundle, and it's the elder statesman of the group, having been available on a range of platforms for longer than any of the others. Sling TV uses an “a la carte” model, allowing subscribers to choose a base package and then customize it by adding their choice of additional mini-bundles. Among your options are ESPN, ESPNU, ESPNews, SEC Network, and SEC Network+. ESPN Deportes is available, too. Check out the Sling TV review we have written up to learn more about the offering.

AT&T TV Now

AT&T's skinny bundle service is one of several skinny bundles backed by legacy pay TV companies — a sign of this market's increasing importance (and of the rising threat that skinny bundles pose to their old-school counterparts). AT&T TV Now offers a a couple different bundle options. ESPN fans will spot their favorite channel right away. You can also get many of ESPN's sister channels through AT&T TV Now. Read our review of AT&T TV Now here.

YouTube TV

If the question is how to watch ESPN without cable, one of the best answers is YouTube TV. Google's take on the skinny bundle offers great streaming quality and content discovery features, plus access to original content from YouTube Premium (YouTube Premium was formerly known as YouTube Red, and it's Google's ad-removing premium subscription service for regular YouTube). Like many competitors, YouTube TV offers a week-long free trial. Our full review of YouTube TV is here if you would like to learn more.

ESPN+

ESPN+ is ESPN's own standalone streaming service, but it's fair to say that it's not exactly a way to watch ESPN without cable. That's because the content on ESPN+ is not the same stuff that's on ESPN. There's no ESPN live stream, and (as of this writing), there's still no way to get such a live stream straight from ESPN. The only options are the skinny bundles above.

Still, ESPN+ merits mention here because it offers ESPN-branded content to cord cutters. You'll get talk shows and analysis, an on-demand library full of great stuff like 30 for 30 documentaries, and live sports content that includes MLS matches. Read our full review of ESPN+ here.

Can I Watch ESPN on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

Good news: if you have a relatively recent model from any of the Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast families of devices, you will have a ton of options for watching ESPN without cable.

Roku users can choose between Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Fire TV users get Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Apple TV fans can pick any of these: Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV also each have apps that work well with Chromecast devices.

Some services also work on Android TV devices like the Nvidia Shield: Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV are your options there.

And every one of these services has apps for iOS, Android, and computers (via either desktop apps for Mac and Windows or an in-browser app that works with most major browsers): Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV

Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV work on the Xbox One. Hulu + Live TV works on the PlayStation 4.

As for ESPN+, it works on the existing ESPN app – no new app required. As of this writing, you can get the ESPN app (and therefore ESPN+) on iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast.

3 thoughts on “How to Watch ESPN Without Cable

  1. Mickie Dowdy says:

    Is this something that seniors can manage without problems? We aren’t too smart on computers or changing from cable to a box to get our favorite shows.

    1. Cordcutting.com says:

      It is! You can just choose one of the live TV streaming services listed above, click the “Try [Service] for free,” and follow the instructions.

    2. Jjj says:

      My mother, who is 75 and can’t use a smartphone or tablet, uses her Roku box with ease. And she has been for six years now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *