It has long been true for many people that the toughest part of leaving cable is giving up live sports. The cable giants still have a stranglehold on live sports broadcasts, but that’s changing. We’re seeing more new sports apps added and old sports apps improved, which is making it easier than ever to get your sports fix without paying for cable — whether you’re a fan of soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or cricket.
If you have a Roku device, then you can take advantage of some great channels from the major sports apps and set up a sports HQ in your living room. There is a boatload of sports channels available through Roku, but not all of them are worth your time.
How to Watch Live Sports on Roku Without Cable
The best way to watch sports is on live TV networks such as ESPN, FS1, and the regional sports networks your favorite teams call home. But how can you watch these channels without cable? The answer is a live TV streaming service, or “skinny bundle.” Like cable, these services offer a selection of live TV networks for a subscription fee. Unlike cable, they feature slimmed-down channel bundles and trimmer prices to match.
Our list of the best Roku channels for sports kicks off with these live TV streaming services, but we’ll also cover sports-specific streaming services and league streaming bundles such as MLB.TV. Let’s get started!
Hulu + Live TV is the skinny bundle arm of Hulu, the popular streaming service you may already know for its on-demand content. Hulu + Live TV offers a bunch of great channels, including networks that make it easy to catch live sports. We’re talking about ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, NBCSN, and regional sports networks. You can test Hulu + Live TV for free with its free trial offer.
fuboTV was once entirely focused on soccer, including Spain’s LFP (which includes LaLiga), France’s Ligue 1, Italy’s Serie A, Mexico’s Liga MX, and Portugal’s Primeira Liga. The service has since relaunched with a broader focus, and it now covers a lot of other subjects — including other sports, such as baseball, football, and basketball. fuboTV also remains an excellent choice for soccer fans. The service still has a sports-oriented stance, and we praised it for that in our review of fuboTV. Sign up for fuboTV’s free trial to check it out for yourself.
Sling TV is a great option for sports fans, because its a la carte model allows you to build a customized package. ESPN and ESPN2 are available in base bundle options, as are FS1 and FS2. (To get FOX and ESPN channels together, you’ll have to spring for the largest of the three base packages.) From there, you can choose add-on bundles called “extras” to get even more sports. Building your own bundle will allow you to focus on sports channels without running up your bill with a bloated bundle.
ESPN Plus is ESPN’s standalone streaming service. It doesn’t offer a livestream of ESPN, but it does offer live sports, live and on-demand original content, and more. MLS Live, the league streaming service from Major League Soccer, is rolled into ESPN Plus.
Paramount Plus is CBSViacom’s streaming service, and it includes both on-demand and live content. The live content that comes with Paramount Plus includes a livestream of CBS in select markets, which makes the service a great option for fans of the NFL, NCAA basketball, college football, and more.
YouTube TV is Google’s skinny bundle, and it’s a great way to watch sports on Roku. YouTube TV’s live channel selection includes sports essentials such as ESPN and FS1, and you can test-drive the service for free for a week before you pay.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: MLB.TV is the gold standard for league streaming packages. This no-frills app pairs with the peerless MLB.TV service, and offers live out-of-market MLB baseball during the regular season. For more details, read our full review of MLB.TV.
NBA League Pass
The NBA channel is the app you need to watch NBA League Pass on Roku. If you don’t have a League Pass account, you can still view stats, standings, and other information through the app. The real appeal, though, is League Pass: Like MLB.TV, it’s your ticket to broadcasts of out-of-market regular-season games. If you have commitment issues, the single-game passes may be for you.
The NHL’s eponymous channel can be connected to NHL.TV (formerly known as NHL GameCenter Live), which is a reliable and convenient service. You can also use your NHL.TV account to watch classic games on Roku. Check out our full review of NHL.TV to learn more.
NBCUniversal’s streaming service combines on-demand content such as “The Office” with select live broadcasts, including live sporting events such as soccer games from Britain’s Premier League.
Stream Your Favorite Sports on Roku
Roku owners have a lot of options for streaming sports, and that’s also true of cord-cutters in general — even those who use Fire TV and other streaming platforms. Check out our complete guides to streaming individual sports and leagues, where you’ll find lots of information on streaming MLB baseball, NFL football, NBA basketball, NHL hockey, and more. We’ve even covered cord-cutting options for the Olympics!
7 thoughts on “The Best Roku Channels for Watching Sports”
You left out Yahoo, which streams a free MLB game nightly and the occasional pro football game, all in picture quality superior to ESPN.
Also, there are private Roku channels with streaming sports. Let those with motivation and initiative find them.
Still can’t get Sports Illustrated to play on Roku. Loaded it but won’t play anything?
Not sure how you can call MLB.TV the “gold standard,” as they take pains to black out the team you’re most likely to be interested in. Perhaps they’re the best of a set of mediocre options, but I would call that the “tin standard” in light of what’s available today.
So no options for NFL?
Can you get Nascar and what is the cost?
Whats the best pkg or Bundle I can get for all SEC games? I don’t need any other conference.
The real issue for sports fan is the local or regional sports networks that cover the teams you follow. So in NY, for example, I can’t cut cable unless I can get SNY (Mets) YES (Yankees, Nets) and MSG (Knicks, Rangers, Devils). What is amazing is that no articles on the cord cutting address this despite it being the biggest obstacle to cord cutting. These articles all presume that as long as you can get a lot of national sports you’d be ok giving up your favorite baseball, basketball and hockey team games. They never address the fact that not every sport is like Football, where almost all 17 weekly games are on a National free or National sports cable network. Wake up guys.