Sports

How to Watch Sports Online Without Cable: Sports Live Stream Guide

By September 20, 2018 No Comments

watch sports online

The fear of giving up access to live sports is seriously the biggest barrier that stops people from cutting the cord. It can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. You can watch sports without cable in a variety of easy and legal ways. And, in some cases, you can even watch sports online free!

So what are the steps to live stream sports without access to cable? Before you start, consider which sports are most important to you. Are you more interested in following one specific team or the entire league? How are those sports accessible through traditional channels?

Once you have an idea of how you watch sports, you can dig into the details to allow you to watch live sports online without cable, legally, and conveniently. Along with the biggest streaming services on the market, like DIRECTV NOW and Hulu with Live TV, there are also a few specialized options.

Check out our guides to stream live sports and read below for more information on how to watch sports online.

 

How to Watch Live Sports Online

Streaming live sports is a lot easier than it used to be, but the best options vary depending on which sport(s) you like to follow. For specific sports, use the links below to jump to each section for sports live stream info:

 

Watch NFL Online

There are several ways to watch sports without cable. NFL is one of the trickier leagues to watch, but thankfully it’s getting a lot easier. Football fans can now get the sports live stream fairly easily.

NFL games air on local FOX, CBS, and NBC affiliates, as well as ESPN and NFL Network. NBC/FOX/CBS are most important for local teams and Sunday Night Football, while ESPN covers Monday Night Football, and NFL Network covers some Thursday Night Football and a few other games.

These are our recommendations to stream NFL online:

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – best coverage of NBC/FOX/CBS for local games, and covers ESPN. No NFL Network
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – good coverage of NBC/FOX/CBS for local games, and ESPN, NFL Network
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – great coverage of NBC/FOX/CBS, plus NFL Network and NFL RedZone. No ESPN.
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – NBC/FOX, ESPN and NFL Network – no CBS, though.
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – NBC/FOX/CBS, plus ESPN. No NFL Network
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – NBC/FOX/CBS, plus ESPN and NFL Network (only in more expensive package)
  • NFL Game Pass – $100 per year – on-demand replays of all games – no live coverage
  • CBS All Access – $5.99/mo – CBS live stream only

Check out our guide to watching NFL without cable right here.

 

Watch College Football Online

college football live streamLike college basketball, college football is imperative to watch for fans. College games air on a wide variety of channels, with the ESPN and FOX Sports family of networks hosting the most. For local teams, regional sports channels are most important, as well as conference-specific channels like SEC Network and Pac-12 Network. The good news is that you can get all of these channels, to watch live sports online!

Here are our recommended services for watching NCAA basketall online:

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – Covers all the channels you need, except for Pac-12 Network and FOX College Sports
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – Covers all the networks you need, except for Longhorn Network, Big Ten Network, CBS, and a few regional sports networks
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – All the channels you need, except for Pac-12 Network, Stadium, FOX College Sports and some regionals
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – Most of the networks you need, but no ESPN networks, ABC, Longhorn Network, or ACC Network
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – Most channels you need, but no Pac-12 Network, Stadium, FOX College Sports, Longhorn Network, or ESPN Goal Line
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – Most networks, except Pac-12 Network, Stadium, and a few regional sports networks (e.g. Root Sports)
  • CBS All Access – $5.99/mo – CBS live stream only
  • ESPN+ – $4.99/mo – ESPN+ games only (set to air around 100 games this season)

Here is our college football guide to read more about live stream sports.

 

NBA

nba live streamThankfully, basketball is an easy sport to watch without cable. Between all of the games airing weekly on national TV and the games that air on regional sports networks, most of the channels that carry the action are now available without cable.

Nationally, NBA games air regularly on ESPNESPN2ABC/ESPN3TNTNBA TV, regional FOX Sports, and regional NBC Sports networks. All of these channels are available without cable through various live streaming services detailed below.

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – best coverage of regional channels for local games, and covers ESPN, TNT and ABC. No NBA TV.
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – good coverage of regional channels, plus ESPN, ABC, TNT, NBA TV (in some packages)
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN3/ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV (in some packages)
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN3/ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN3/ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV (in some packages)
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – good regional sports coverage, but no ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, or ABC

Read more about NBA streaming options here.

 

Watch College Basketball Online

college basketball live streamCollege basketball is also an easy sport to watch online. Many of the streaming services offer access to networks that air the NCAA basketball games from all over the country.

Key channels include the ESPN family of networks, the FOX Sports family of networks, regional sports networks, TNT, TruTV, TBS, NBCSN, and a few others. Here are your options for the live sports stream:

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – great regional/local team coverage, plus ESPN, TNT, FS1, TruTV, TBS and more.
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – good coverage of regional channels, plus ESPN, TNT, TBS, TruTV, and more
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN, FS1, TBS, TNT and TruTV (in some packages)
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN, FS1, TBS, TNT, TruTV and more
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN, FS1, TBS, TNT, TruTV
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – good regional sports coverage, but no ESPN, TruTV, or TBS.

And read our complete guide to stream live sports and watch college basketball online.

 

Watch NHL Online

Hockey is incredibly popular, and not just in the states along the Canadian border! Fans may always be concerned about how to stream live sports, including live hockey. Missing out on your favorite teams is a non-starter for those who might want to cut the cord. But, as with most of the sports leagues, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Most NHL games air on regional sports networks. Key games are aired nationally on NBCSNNBC, and NHL Network throughout the season. And if you’re looking to watch the NHL Playoffs online, you’ll also need USA, and CNBC for some games. Here are your options:

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – great regional/local team coverage, plus USA, NBCSN, NBC, CNBC – no NHL Network, however.
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – good coverage of regional channels, plus USA, NBCSN, NBC, CNBC, and NHL Network.
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – good regional sports coverage, plus NBCSN, NBC, USA, and CNBC. No NHL Network.
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – local sports networks, plus NBCSN, NBC, NHL Network, USA, and CNBC.
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – local sports networks, plus NBCSN, NBC, USA, CNBC. No NHL Network.
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – local sports networks, plus NBCSN, NBC, USA, CNBC. No NHL Network.
  • NHL.TV – $140/year – live streaming of out of market games. You can’t watch your local teams, though.

Check out our complete guide to watch NHL online and live stream sports today.

 

Watch MLB Online

mlb live stream

Baseball fans who want to watch live sports online are in luck. There are more than a few completely legal ways to watch all of your favorite teams without cable.

For local teams, many games are aired on regional sports networks, mostly from FOX Sports and NBC Sports. Some games air nationally on ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1, TBS and MLB Network. Here are sports streaming options for baseball fans:

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – great regional/local team coverage, plus ESPN, FOX, and FS1. No MLB Network.
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – good coverage of regional channels, plus ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS, and MLB Network.
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS, and MLB Network.
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS. No MLB Network.
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – local sports networks, plus ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS, and MLB Network.
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – good regional sports coverage, plus FOX and FS1. No MLB Network or ESPN.
  • MLB.TV – $115.99 per year – stream all out-of-market regular season games. Local teams are blacked out.

Read more about how to watch MLB online without cable and stream live sports here.

 

Watch Soccer Online

soccer live streamSoccer is an entirely different story about how to watch sports online. With so many leagues, national and international, there are too many ways to keep up. Cord cutters are either creative about their solutions or aren’t sure how to watch at all.

Soccer broadcasting rights are shared by a ton of different channels, ranging from ESPN to FS1 to BeIN Sports. There are really too many channels to list here, so we’ll order services by the number of games you can watch:

  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – built for sports, and offers the most coverage of soccer by far. Networks like BeIN Sports, FS1, and much more cover most major soccer leagues.
  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – lots of local and regional sports channels, plus several that air nationally broadcast soccer games.
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – good coverage of regional channels, plus several popular soccer networks.
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – local sports networks, plus many soccer channels.
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – local sports networks, plus several soccer networks.
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – local sports networks, plus many networks that air soccer.
  • FOX Soccer MatchPass – $19.99/mo – live and on-demand soccer matches from 30+ competitions and leagues
  • ESPN+ – $4.99/mo – ESPN+ games only (set to cover lots of soccer this season)

Read more about Soccer and how to watch sports online here.

 

Watch Golf Online

golf live streamThere are many ways to watch sports without cable – if golf is your game, the options are pretty straightforward. To watch the professional golf games online, like the PGA, there are a few options to stream live sports. The most important networks to have are GOLF Channel, ESPN networks, FOX Sports networks, CBS, CBS Sports, and a few others.

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – covers Golf Channel and most of the other networks you need
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – covers Golf Channel (in a more expensive package) and most of the other networks you need
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – covers Golf Channel and most of the other networks you need
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – covers Golf Channel (in a more expensive package) and most of the other networks you need
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – covers Golf Channel (in a more expensive package) and most of the other networks you need
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – covers Golf Channel and most of the other networks you need

Check out our guide for more ways to get the sports live stream and watch golf.

 

Watch Tennis Online

tennis live streamWith top rated, world-class athletes like the Williams sisters and Andy Murray, it is no wonder that tennis is very popular. And without cable, it can be worrisome to miss out on all the action from court-side.

But, tennis is surprisingly accessible without cable. Tennis fans can get the live sports stream via these services:

Learn more about how to live stream sports and watch tennis online here.

 

Watch WWE Online

wwe live streamWrestling has had a long history in the U.S. as both a sport and a spectacle. Fans are hard core, and that means many don’t want to cut the cord and miss out on events and matches. But you don’t have to worry.

Keep in mind that some WWE events are pay-per-view. Others are aired on national TV. The important channels for WWE are mainly USA, and E!

  • WWE Network App that offers access to on-demand and live fights, plus pay-per-view and exclusive content
  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – covers USA and E! + on-demand RAW replays
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – covers USA and E!
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – covers USA and E!
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – covers USA and E! in some packages
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – covers USA and E!
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – covers USA and E!

Here is our guide to watch WWE and live stream sports.

 

Watch UFC Online

ufc live streamMixed Martial Arts, and specifically the UFC, has an incredibly loyal following in the U.S. and around the word. Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor are household names because of their devotion to the sport. And cutting the cord can seem complicated if you want to keep up and watch sports online. Most fights that aren’t PPV air on FS1 or other FOX Networks, which thankfully are easy to get with any of these services:

  • Hulu with Live TV – $40/mo – 50+ channels
  • DIRECTV NOW – $40+/mo – 65+ channels
  • fuboTV – $45+/mo – 75+ channels (focused on sports)
  • Sling TV – $25+/mo – 25+ channels
  • PlayStation Vue – $45+/mo – 45+ channels
  • YouTube TV – $40/mo – 50+ channels
  • UFC Fight Pass – $9.99 which will give you access to tons of UFC content. This isn’t a direct live stream of UFC pay-per-view events, but it does have plenty of programming to keep you happy and engaged.

You can also buy Pay-Per-View events online without cable as another way to watch live sports online.

Read our UFC guide to learn how to watch UFC online.

 

Watch Formula One Online

formula one live streamRacing is another big sport, and there are several choices. Formula One is popular here and around the world. At breakneck speeds, this fast-paced sport is thrilling for fans and drivers alike.

You can watch F1 Racing on a variety of networks, including NBCSN and NBC. You can get these channels and more on these services:

Did you check out our Formula One guide yet?

 

Watch NASCAR Online

nascar live streamThe world of racing and how to watch sports online wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t also mention NASCAR. This uniquely American sport has fans from all over the country flocking to raceways and tuning in to their televisions for events like the Daytona 500.

NASCAR is aired on a variety of sports networks and broadcast channels (mostly on FOX and FS1), which are covered by the following services that provide a good way to watch sports online:

Look at our NASCAR streaming guide here.

 

How Else Can You Watch Sports Online?

Another method we should mention for many of these sports is a digital antenna paired with an over-the-air DVR.

Digital antennas allow you to pick up any broadcast channels in your area. That means you can stream live sports on NBC, ABC, FOX, and CBS if you receive the channel over the air. Besides the initial cost of the antenna, watching is completely free.

An over-the-air DVR allows you to record live TV and watch later. Or, you can use it to stream sports live to your computer or connected device and watch even if you’re away from home. This is one great way to watch sports online for free! The only other way we know of to legally watch sports without cable for free is with free trials of the services mentioned above, will typically be for only a week at a time.

Don’t forget to check out each individual sports guides to see more details. Do you have more questions about how to watch sports online? Ask below in the comments.

Laura LaVoie

Author Laura LaVoie

Laura M. LaVoie resides in a 120 square foot house in the mountains of Western North Carolina. There she has a solid internet connection and access to some of the best craft beer in the country. Email her at [email protected] Disclosure: Streaming Observer is supported by readers. Articles may contain referral links. For more information, see the disclosure at the bottom of the page.

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