Cable TV packages can get expensive, especially if you’re mostly interested in watching sports. Fortunately, with the rise of live TV streaming services, you can now watch ESPN and other sports channels without a traditional cable subscription.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover all your options for streaming ESPN networks without cable in 2024. Whether you want just ESPN or extras like ESPN2, ESPN News, ACC Network and more, you’ll find the perfect service and packages below.
Live TV Streaming Services With ESPN
The easiest way to stream live ESPN networks without a cable TV subscription is through a live TV streaming service. These online streaming platforms provide live, cable-style packages over the internet.
Most live TV services include the main ESPN channel in their base plans, while ESPN’s additional channels are usually available in higher tier or add-on packages.
Here are the best live TV services for watching ESPN networks without cable:
1. Sling TV
Sling TV is one of the most affordable live TV streamers available, making it a top choice for ESPN access on a budget.
In 2024, here are the Sling TV packages with ESPN channels available:
- Sling Orange ($40/month): Includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ACC Network
- Sling Blue ($40/month): Includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ACC Network
- Sports Extra Add-on ($11/month): Adds ESPNU, ESPNews, SEC Network, Pac 12 Network and more
So with Sling Blue + Sports Extra, you can stream all the main ESPN channels for just $51 a month.
Sling also allows custom add-on channel packages, so you can select just the ESPN networks you want without paying for unnecessary channels.
2. Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV has quickly become one of the most popular cable alternatives for sports fans, thanks to its combination of live ESPN channels and on-demand streaming content.
In 2024, the Hulu + Live TV package ($70/month) includes:
- ESPN News
- ACC Network
- SEC Network
So with a single Hulu + Live TV subscription, you get all the main ESPN channels, plus sports-focused channels like ACC Network and SEC Network.
Hulu + Live TV works on smartphones, tablets, computers, streaming devices like Roku and Fire TV, and more. It has an easy-to-use interface and includes 50 hours of DVR storage for recording live games.
3. YouTube TV
YouTube TV is a top choice for cord-cutters wanting the most complete lineup of sports and entertainment channels.
In 2024, YouTube TV’s $65/month package includes:
- ESPN News
- ACC Network
- SEC Network
YouTube TV also features excellent unlimited DVR, allowing you to record every game shown on ESPN channels to watch anytime. And it allows up to 6 user accounts, so you can share with family or friends.
With YouTube TV, you can stream ESPN networks from nearly any device, including game consoles like PS4 and Xbox.
While fuboTV has historically focused on international soccer coverage, it has expanded over the years to include a wide variety of American sports channels.
In 2024, fuboTV’s Pro plan ($70/month) offers:
- ACC Network
- SEC Network
fuboTV provides DVR functionality to record ESPN content and stream it later. One advantage of fuboTV is that it has plans with even more sports channels available, like the Elite package with NFL RedZone, NBA TV, MLB Network and more.
So if you want an all-in-one live TV streaming home for sports, fuboTV delivers extensive ESPN coverage and beyond.
5. DirecTV Stream
After recently rebranding from AT&T TV, DirecTV Stream provides a cable-like experience over the internet. It has competitive pricing and packages for streaming ESPN channels without cable.
In 2024, DirecTV Stream’s Entertainment package ($70/month) includes:
- ESPN Deportes
- ESPN Goal Line
Higher tiers like Choice, Ultimate and Premier offer additional ESPN channels and coverage:
- Choice ($90/month): Adds ESPN News, ESPN Bases Loaded, ACC Network, SEC Network and more
- Ultimate ($105/month): Adds ESPNews, ACC, SEC Networks and more
- Premier ($150/month): Contains all available ESPN channels
So DirecTV Stream is ideal if you want an experience similar to cable or satellite, with access to ESPN networks and content across bundles tailored to your needs.
Streaming ESPN With a Live TV Service Summary
As you can see, most top cable alternatives in 2024 provide live access to ESPN’s family of sports networks:
- Sling TV delivers ESPN networks affordably with add-on packages
- Hulu + Live TV conveniently combines ESPN and on-demand shows/movies
- YouTube TV offers unlimited DVR for recording ESPN content
- fuboTV provides ESPN plus extra sports channels
- DirecTV Stream mimics a traditional cable package over the internet
No matter which service you choose, you can cancel or change packages anytime without contracts or hidden fees. So don’t pay expensive cable bills just to get ESPN channels. Stream them directly with flexible and affordable live TV streaming instead.
Other Ways to Stream ESPN Without Cable
Aside from live TV streaming subscriptions, there are a few other ways to access live and on-demand ESPN content without cable.
Watch ESPN App
The Watch ESPN app provides streaming access to ESPN networks if you already have them through a participating TV provider.
So if you have live ESPN channels through services like Sling or Hulu + Live TV, you can use your login credentials to unlock live and replay sports in the Watch ESPN app too.
Available across mobile devices, tablets, computers and streaming platforms, the Watch ESPN app makes it easy to stream ESPN networks anywhere internet access is available.
Unlike the services above that replicate a cable package, ESPN+ focuses specifically on live and on-demand sports streams from ESPN rather than full TV channels.
An ESPN+ subscription is available for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. With it, you get:
- Thousands of live sports events including NHL, MLB, PGA Tour, Grand Slam tennis, college sports and more
- Original shows like Peyton Places, ESPN FC, Detail with Kobe Bryant and Stephen A’s World
- ESPN documentary films and series
So while ESPN+ doesn’t provide 24/7 feeds of ESPN networks like a cable alternative does, it’s fantastic for following niche live events. ESPN+ has steadily increased its lineup of exclusive games and content over 2024 too.
Free Streaming Options
If paying for ESPN access doesn’t fit your budget, there are still a few ways to stream some ESPN programming for free:
- Watch short-form sports highlights/clips: ESPN makes many top highlights and analysis clips available without needing a subscription through the main ESPN.com website or ESPN app.
- Tune into free ESPN TV broadcasts: Certain ESPN channel broadcasts are available over-the-air with an antenna on networks like WABC 7.3 in New York or KSPN 7.1 in Los Angeles. Listings vary by region.
- Stream live ESPN radio: Apps like TuneIn Radio provide free live audio streams of ESPN radio channels like ESPN Radio, ESPNU Radio, Golic & Wingo and others.
While limited compared to a full cable-alternative subscription, these free options allow occasional ESPN access without any monthly fees.
What Devices Can Stream ESPN Without Cable?
Virtually any internet-connected device you own provides access to ESPN streaming without cable TV today.
For live TV streaming services, you can install their apps to stream ESPN networks on:
- Smartphones and tablets: iOS devices, Android devices, Amazon Fire tablets, Windows phones and more. Just download the appropriate app from your device’s app store.
- Computers: Watch online through your live TV provider’s website in a desktop or laptop browser.
- Smart TVs: Depending on model year, some smart TVs have live streaming apps built-in or available to add. Newer models tend to offer more choice. Otherwise, consider plugging your computer into the TV or getting a streaming device.
- Streaming media devices: Platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast enable live ESPN streams by using apps from streaming services.
- Game consoles: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Playstation 4 and 5 provide access to live TV streaming app libraries and ESPN network functionality.
ESPN+ and the Watch ESPN app are similarly accessible across a wide range of smartphones, tablets, computers, TV platforms and other streaming devices.
So no matter your setup at home, you’ll likely find multiple ways to start streaming ESPN without the high costs of cable.
5 Benefits of Streaming ESPN Without Cable
Ditching cable for ESPN streaming provides many advantages for sports fans, including:
1. Save Money Over Cable
Even after paying for a live TV streaming service, you’ll still save money over bloated cable packages. Most streamers with ESPN cost from $40-$70 monthly, delivering huge yearly savings over typical cable bills.
2. No Contracts or Hidden Fees
Live streaming services operate on a month-to-month basis, letting you cancel anytime. And they provide all-in pricing with taxes and fees included upfront.
3. Stream Anywhere, Anytime Access
With TV streaming flexibility, you can watch ESPN across devices wherever an internet connection is available. Most services allow simultaneous streams for sharing too.
4. Live and On-Demand Content
In addition to 24/7 ESPN networks, streaming services provide replay sports, ESPN films, original shows and more on-demand to watch when you want.
5. Personalize Your Package
While cable forces you into rigid bundles, streaming allows choosing ESPN alongside only the channels you actually watch. Add/remove networks to fit your sports (and entertainment) needs.
When you add up the financial savings, customization bonuses and streaming flexibility, it’s easy to see why more sports fans are cutting the cord with cable TV.
How to Sign Up for ESPN Streaming Without Cable: Step-by-Step Guide
If you’re ready to ditch cable and start streaming ESPN networks, here is a simple step-by-step walkthrough:
1. Select your desired live TV streaming service
Use the breakdown earlier to decide if Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV or another service is the best fit. Check channel listings and pricing to get ESPN access that matches your budget.
2. Sign up for a free trial
Most streaming services offer 5 to 7-day free trials for new members. This allows you to test the performance and channel lineup before paying.
3. Download the app on your devices
Install your chosen streaming service’s app on the platforms and screens where you want to watch. Sign in with credentials created during signup.
4. Set up streaming preferences
The streaming service app lets you manage options like video quality, simultaneous streams and accessing on-demand titles. Set it up to your liking.
5. Cancel cable TV service
Once confident with your live TV streaming setup for ESPN access, you can contact your cable provider to cancel service and return equipment. No contracts or fees should apply to leave traditional TV behind.
And that’s it! In just a few quick steps, you can be streaming ESPN networks and content without cable (or satellite) on internet-connected devices across your home.
With the money saved each month, you may consider complementing with ESPN+ for additional sports coverage. Or use savings towards internet upgrades to ensure reliable high-speed connectivity.
Either way, enjoy entering the modern streaming era for watching ESPN anytime and anywhere wirelessly. Leave restrictive cable TV packages behind for flexibility and affordability.
FAQs About Streaming ESPN Without Cable
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions cable cutters have about accessing ESPN networks without traditional TV:
How many ESPN channels can I get without cable?
The number of available ESPN networks depends on your streaming provider. Sling TV offers up to 9 ESPN channels while Hulu, YouTube TV, fuboTV and DirecTV Stream provide 6-7 ESPN networks in base packages.
Can I watch LIVE sports on ESPN+ without cable?
While ESPN+ doesn’t include 24/7 ESPN TV channels, it provides thousands of exclusive live sports events from NHL, MLB, college football/basketball and more. It’s not a full cable replacement but great for following niche live sports.
Does ESPN+ have the same content as cable ESPN?
No. ESPN cable channels show different sports than the live streams and on-demand programming offered by the ESPN+ streaming add-on service. They are complementary but not identical.
What’s the best way to save money on ESPN streaming?
The Sling TV Orange & Blue + Sports Extra bundle provides almost a dozen top ESPN channels for just $51 monthly. This big bundle of sports networks comes at a very affordable price point.
Can I watch ESPN on PlayStation Vue?
PlayStation Vue shut down in 2020 so it no longer provides cable-alternative packages with ESPN networks. Current top options include Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and more detailed above.
Is there a free trial for ESPN+?
Yes! ESPN+ offers a 7-day free trial to new subscribers so you can sample the service before paying. Just be sure to cancel before the end of the trial if you don’t want to continue the subscription.
I hope this comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about streaming all your favorite ESPN networks without cable or satellite TV. The streaming services outlined above make it easy and affordable to cut the cord but keep the sports you love.