Some days it’s good to be a sports fan. Like last Sunday, when in 12 hours you could see Rafael Nadal come back from two sets at the Australian Open to win his 21st Slam title, then Joe Burrow and the Bengals upset the Chiefs en route to the Super Bowl . Or yesterday, when a photographer’s camera fell off a mountain at the Beijing Winter Olympics. The downside is that, for a cable subscriber, just watching these events costs you a slice of the hundred or hundreds that you pay your provider every month. Or, maybe you missed watching altogether, because you cut the cord and kept just Netflix and HBO Max, ditching the thrills of live competition in favor of those found on ozark and Succession.
Luckily, there’s a middle ground – signing up for a streaming service that also gives you access to the live action. There are a myriad of options and while none will give you all the channels your heart could desire, there are plenty that will help you save a few bucks while ensuring you don’t miss most sports, general public to the niche. . Here we outline the best options and the many features they offer to help you decide where to shell out so you don’t miss your favorite game, match, fight, race or event, provided you have an internet connection. .
The bottom line about Sling is that it offers some of the streaming and lots of cable channels for a lot less than you’d get from, say, Xfinity or Spectrum. There are two basic packages, Orange and Blue, which have different channel lists. If you’re an NBA fan, Sling says you’ll want to go with Orange, as that includes three ESPNs and TNT, while Blue includes FS1 and the NFL Network. You can subscribe to both for $50 per month. The main downside to Sling is that only Blue offers NBC and Fox, and neither CBS nor ABC, which would leave you without a lot of important games. If you want more, there’s an additional $11 bundle with NBA TV, MLB and NHL Networks, ESPNU’s Tennis and College Sports Channel, and SEC and ACC Networks. Showtime is also an extra $10 if you like their boxing coverage (or consider yellow jackets sports).
Leagues available: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, golf, tennis, multiple football leagues, college football and basketball, and more, according to the plan or add-ons you choose.
Cost: Starting at $35 per month, with several additional options.
Free try? Three days.
Hulu’s live TV option is a lot like Sling, except it has 65 channels — 14 dedicated just to sports — plus its streaming library and a bundle that includes Disney+ and ESPN+. Here you get local channels, ESPN, FS1 and 2, CBS Sports, TNT, NFL Network, Golf Channel, and more. Depending on where you live, you may also get a regional sports channel – for example, if you live in New York, you’ll get SNY, home of the Mets. It is also possible to add NFL RedZone, Outdoor and Sportsman channels and TVG for horse racing. However, New Yorkers won’t find NFL Network, MLB Network, or NBA TV.
Leagues available: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, EPL, MLS, NASCAR, WWE and UFC; major WNBA tournaments, golf, tennis, etc., by Hulu.
Cost: $70 per month ($76 ad-free when viewing its on-demand library).
Free try? No. They stopped offering it in December 2021, the cons.
You can also get ESPN+ in standalone mode, but keep in mind that’s not the same as watching ESPN on the channel. Its live sports offerings are somewhat limited – more of a welcome addition or budget add-on if you’re, say, a die-hard hockey fan, than a full-fledged live streaming service. Still, for the price, it packs a punch, carrying several popular leagues for soccer, hockey, tennis, golf, cricket, lacrosse, and many college sports. It also contains ESPN’s original documentaries, including all 30 for 30 series.
Leagues available: NHL (and several other hockey leagues), college football and basketball, several soccer leagues, lacrosse, several cricket leagues, and more, by ESPN+.
Cost: $7 per month or $70 for a year.
Free try? The standalone ESPN+ also doesn’t have a free trial.
With the exception of the NFL Network and some NBC sports channels, DirecTV has pretty much everything you could want for sports. The $70 basic package includes ESPN and a few other sports options, but you’ll want to upgrade to the $85 Choice service to get college, regional, MLB, and NBA channels. For an additional $10 you get six additional sports channels, including CBS, NHL, Golf, and Sportsman. It also lets you stream its content to up to 20 devices simultaneously, which you might consider necessary if you own a bar, have a large family, or live in a fraternity.
Leagues available: NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, golf, college sports, plus a wide range of regional sports you might otherwise need cable to get. Consult the full range.
Cost: Starting at $70 per month.
Free try? Sort of. You can get a full refund on a new account if you cancel within 14 days, but you’ll still have to pay some upfront fees.
With the basic YouTube TV subscription, you’re covered for the major networks for the most popular sports. A trio of ESPN, FS1 and 2, CBS and NBC Sports, plus proprietary channels from MLB, NBA, NFL, Tennis and Golf, and college networks like the SEC and Big Ten. If you’re looking to record events for next-day viewing or for posterity, YouTube’s DVR is unrivaled among streamers – storage space is unlimited, with the caveat that you can only keep it for nine months maximum. Still, that’s enough to record your favorite MLB team’s entire 162-game season, plus the playoffs, if you want.
Leagues available: NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, WNBA, NCAA, golf, tennis, and more, according to YouTube TV complete directory.
Cost: $65 per month.
Free try? Yes, but lengths vary. To verify YouTube Explainer to see how long you can get.
Fubo basically has every major cable option except TNT, so you’ll miss those out-of-market NBA games unless you sign up for League Pass for $15 a month. But other than that, you can play around with packages and add-ons to figure out which setup is right for you. For example, there’s the $7-a-month add-on that’s for international sports, specifically soccer, with ESPN and Fox Deportes channels, as well as the proprietary Real Madrid channel. There’s something for everyone here, except, of course, for those craving Shaq and Barkley’s analysis on TNT.
Leagues available: NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, college football and basketball, WWE, golf, NASCAR, several international football leagues and much more.
Cost: $65 per month.
Free try? Seven days.
NBC’s streaming service is limited to the sports the company has offerings to cover, but it’s an affordable option if you’re looking for specific sports – or just want to pay $5 for a single month to catch the Olympics and the Super Bowl.
Leagues available: The Olympics (in its entirety), the NFL (including the Super Bowl), WWE, IndyCar racing, Premier League football, rugby, cycling and Following.
Cost: $5 per month or $50 per year.
Free try? Nothing.
You’re not going to sign up to Prime for the sports coverage, but if you’re looking for games to go along with your Bosch and next-day delivery of gardening gloves, the streamer has a few deals: Thursday Night NFL and select WNBA games, plus Yankees tilts if you live in the New York area. Otherwise, you can always add a premium subscription, like NBA League Pass for $200 per season.
Leagues available: Limited NFL, WNBA and baseball offers, plus additional optionsincluding the NBA (League Pass), boxing (via Showtime) and MLB (via MLB.tv).
Cost: $15 per month.
Free try? Seven days.
For US subscribers, DAZN primarily caters to fight fans, with plenty of exclusive live and on-demand boxing and MMA, excluding the UFC. Besides that, you will get documentaries, football, billiards and darts.
Leagues available: UEFA Women’s Football, MMA, Boxing (including archive), Premier League Masters Snooker and Darts.
Cost: $20 per month or $100 per year.
Free try? A month.
If you’re looking to watch esports, some traditional sporting events, or just hike around doing whatever they want, you can just head over to Twitch without signing up. The streamer doesn’t have regularly scheduled matches and fights, but has agreements in place with top leagues and fight promotions to stream certain events throughout the year, so it can be a fun place to watch. and chat, but it’s not a place to go if you’re looking for consistency in your viewing. Paid subscriptions are more geared towards supporting certain channels and offer various benefits including unique emoticons, ad-free viewing, exclusive streams, and subscriber-only chat features.
Cost: Free to watch, subscriptions start at $5 per month.
Three of the four major sports leagues in the United States – NFL, MLB and NBA – each have their own subscription service for out-of-market games, making them ideal for those who live far from their team of choice. (The NHL’s dedicated service, NHL.tv, was consolidated under ESPN+ in 2021.) The NFL Sunday Ticket is a pain — you can only get it without signing up to DirecTV if you live in certain areas. where that service isn’t available – and it costs a ton, either $300 per season or $400 if you want RedZone and a fantasy football channel. Thankfully, this DirecTV deal expires after the 2022 season, so there’s hope it will become more widely and easily available.
Cost: Varies widely by plan, sport and season – from MLB.tv’s current off-season package (now $25) to NBA League Pass (now $50up from $230 for the regular season) to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package with RedZone ($400).
Yes, you can still get TV over the air, literally. Even some of the cheapest digital antennas let you access the major broadcast networks that host sports – ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox – without any subscriptions, provided you don’t live somewhere completely remote. Believe it or not, there are even bunny-eared versions you can buy for cheap to get HD viewing of all the major events, like the World Series, Super Bowl, and NCAA Tournament.
Cost: Antennas Direct’s ClearStream Eclipse TV model is excellent and goes for $40but cheaper models will also do.
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