Disclosure: Your support helps keep our site running! We earn referral fees for some of the products & services we recommend. Learn more

ESPN Without Cable: Keep the Must-Have Sports Channel by Streaming Cheaper Online

Last Updated:

ESPN is a must-have channel for sports fans. It’s the place to go for Sunday Night Baseball and Monday Night Football. But ESPN covers the entire world of sports with all its channels.

In a hurry? If you just want to start watching your favorite sports with the main ESPN channels now, these three services will do that and provide good overall viewing options:

  • Fubo: The best streaming service for international sports also provides 150+ well-selected channels. Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial.
  • DIRECTV STREAM: Get a great channel lineup with the best selection of RSNs in the industry. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
  • Sling TV: This low-cost service allows you to select just the channel lineup you want. Save 50% on Sling TV now.

If you can’t watch your favorite sports because of your location, get ExpressVPN to access the content you deserve.

In a hurry? Unfortunately, we don’t know a streaming service in that offers this TV channel/sport. But if you’ve already paid for the right service, and just can’t watch because of your location, there is an easy way to get the sports, movies, and TV you deserve. You need a VPN, like one of the following.

ExpressVPN

1. ExpressVPN: Established VPN provider in 105 countries. Smart DNS, a built-in ad-blocker, and unlimited bandwidth. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private Internet Access

3. Private Internet Access: The only no-logs VPN with a location for every US state. Get 82% off + 2 months free.

If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, you’ll find all the answers in our full VPN guide.

Watch ESPN Online For Monday Night Football and More

Probably the number one reason people want access to ESPN is so that they can watch Monday Night Football. The groundbreaking nighttime game first showed on ABC but those days are mostly gone.

MNF is sometimes simulcast on ABC. But it is always on ESPN — week after week — even during the playoffs. You will also see a couple of Saturday NFL games.

In addition, ESPN provides great coverage of all the professional leagues: MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, NCAA, MLS, UFC, and much more. And you don’t have to pay much to get it all. For just $40.00/mo, Sling TV offers ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3!

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

Unblock Your Favorite Movies and Shows With a VPN

If you can’t watch your favorite movies and shows because of your location, a VPN will allow you to get the access you are entitled to, plus extra security and unequalled privacy. Check out our VPN Guide for everything you need to know, including our top pick ExpressVPN.

Get ExpressVPN Today

Other brands worth checking out include Hotspot Shield and CyberGhost.

Watch ESPN With Online Streaming Services

ESPN isn’t broadcast over the airways so you can’t get it with a TV antenna. In the past, that meant that you needed a cable or satellite subscription. But today, ESPN is available via a number of live TV streaming services.

Even ESPN has gotten in on the streaming action. In 2018, they started ESPN+. But it doesn’t allow you to live stream ESPN. It provides access to a lot of live events that do not appear on the regular channels. Check out our full review of ESPN+.

For cord-cutters who want ESPN, streaming services are your primary option. Luckily, because the ESPN channels are so popular, most services provide access to them in their base plans.

Given how well ESPN is supported, your choice of service will probably be driven more by the other channels provided and the price of the service.

Here’s the ESPN channel lineup and how each streaming service provides them:

ChannelDIRECTV*FuboHuluSling
ESPN
ESPN2
ESPN3†
ESPNews💲💲💲
ESPNU💲💲💲
ESPN Deportes💲💲💲
† All the services provide ESPN3 but you must get it with TV Everywhere in the ESPN app. $ Channel is available via add-on. * DIRECTV STREAM

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

Watch ESPN Online With Fubo

fubotv

Fubo’s base plan only includes ESPN and ESPN2. You can add ESPNews and ESPNU with either the Fubo Extra ($7.99/mo) or Sports Plus ($10.99/mo) add-ons. Both those add-ons also provide ACC Network and SEC Network from ESPN.

And you can get ESPN Deportes with either the International Sports Plus ($6.99/mo) or Latino Plus ($19.99/mo) add-ons.

Base ChannelsESPN, ESPN2
ESPN Add-onsESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes
Total Channels150+
Hours of Cloud DVR Storage1000
Simultaneous Screens10
Free Trial
Fubo Price$79.99/mo

But if you are a sports fan, you may not need more than the two ESPN channels. Fubo’s base plan comes with 50+ sports channels including 9 beIN Sports channels, 4 Big Ten Network channels, the two Fox Sports channels, 12 TUDN channels, CBS Sports Network, and NFL Network.

Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial. If this piqued your interest but you want to know more, check out these resources:

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

Sling TV Home Page on Amazon Fire TV
Sling TV running on an Amazon Fire TV device.

ESPN on Sling TV

Sling TV Logo

For just $40.00/mo, the Sling Orange plan offers ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. While you can get ESPN3 via ESPN’s app, it’s a nice touch that Sling TV integrates it with its interface.

You can add ESPNews and ESPNU with the Sports Extra ($11/mo) add-on. This also includes the ESPN channels SEC Network (base and Plus — see our SEC football guide), ACC Network (base and Extra — see our ACC football guide), and Longhorn Network (Sling TV Guide). To make it even better, this includes MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network.

ESPN3 is not a TV channel. It is its own streaming service, offering multiple sporting events at the same time.

We have plenty of Sling TV guides like the WNBA draft, NFL draft, and NHL Draft.

Base ChannelsESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3
ESPN Add-onsESPNews, ESPNU
Total Channels30+
Hours of Cloud DVR Storage50
Simultaneous Screens1
Free Trial
Sling TV Price$40.00/mo

The Orange plan offers a total of 30+ channels including CNN, HGTV, and TBS. If you want local channels (Fox and NBC) and more sports, you can combine this plan with the Blue plan for a total of 50 channels.

You can find more details with the following guides:

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

DIRECTV STREAM With ESPN

DIRECTV STREAM

The DIRECTV STREAM base plan only includes ESPN and ESPN2, although that is a lot! If you want, you can add ESPN Deportes with the Deportes package for an extra $5 per month.

You can also get ESPNews and ESPNU if you upgrade to the Choice package for $108.99/mo. It comes with 100+ channels, unlimited DVR, and access to the best collection of regional sports networks in the industry.

Base ChannelsESPN, ESPN2
ESPN Add-onsESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes
Total Channels75+
Cloud DVRUnlimited (online sign-up)
Simultaneous ScreensUnlimited
Free Trial
DIRECTV STREAM Price$79.99/mo

DIRECTV STREAM will probably be especially appealing to cord-cutters who are currently AT&T or DirecTV subscribers. Get more information in the following guides:

Get DIRECTV STREAM Free for 5 Days

Watch ESPN on Hulu + Live TV

hulu tv

If ESPN is the focus of your TV viewing, Hulu + Live TV is a great way to go. They offer one of the best selections of ESPN channels of any base plan: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, ACC Network, and SEC Network.

Hulu Live also gives you ESPN+. And Disney+. And their usual outstanding on-demand library.

Base ChannelsESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU
ESPN Add-onsESPN Deportes
Total Channels100+
Cloud DVRUnlimited (9 months storage)
Simultaneous Screens2
Free Trial
Hulu Price$76.99/mo

Of the two ESPN channels that don’t come with the base plan, you can get ESPN Deportes with the Español add-on for an additional $4.99/mo. Although Hulu Live doesn’t offer ESPN3, it is available on the ESPN app using your Hulu subscription.

In addition to the ESPN channels, Hulu + Live TV offers a good selection of other channels including local affiliates and sports channels like CBS Sports Network, FS1, FS2, MLB Network, and NFL Network.

Want more information? Check out these resources:

Try Hulu + Live TV for 3 Days Free!

Other Options To Stream ESPN

If the streaming services we reviewed above are not what you’re looking for, you can watch ESPN without cable using the following services:

  • ESPN+: Although it isn’t a replacement for the ESPN channels, ESPN+ gives access to a lot of live sports content (as well as an on-demand library) for a low price.
  • YouTube TV: This is a solid package of 100+ channels that includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, and ESPNU. You also get a good selection of local channels and sports channels.

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

Devices You Can Use to Livestream ESPN

Sports on FuboTV Android App
Fubo running on the Android phone app.

You should be able to watch ESPN on most devices that you own. As long as your device is recognized by the streaming service you’ve chosen, you’re covered.

TVs and TV Devices to Stream ESPN

Pretty much every service supports smart TVs from the last 5 years — especially those running Android TV.

They also all support the following devices and operating systems:

  • Amazon Fire TV: This device plugs into your TV’s HDMI jack and makes it “smart” — able to run the various streaming apps available.
  • Android TV: This is roughly the Amazon Fire TV but built into TVs like the Hisense, LG, and Vizio.
  • Apple TV: Roughly the same as the Fire TV stick but from Apple.
  • Roku: One of the earliest devices to augment TVs to run apps.

Mobile Devices For Streaming ESPN

All the streaming services support the major smartphones and tablets.

  • Android Phones: All the more recent Android-powered smartphones.
  • iOS devices (iPhones, iPads): Apple’s more recent smartphones and tablets.

Any computer, laptop, or other device with a web browser can display ESPN with the streaming services listed above. Some of these devices can also be connected to a regular (non-smart) TV. If the TV provider supports TV Everywhere, you can stream it from espn.com as well.

A similar feature is available with Chromecast, which allows you to stream from your phone to your TV. It is really simple to do.

Gaming Consoles and VR That Can Stream ESPN

Lots of people watch movies on their gaming consoles. Except for DIRECTV STREAM, all the streaming services support Xbox One. Hulu supports PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. And if virtual reality (VR) is your thing, Sling TV supports Oculus.

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

Superpower Your Live TV Streaming With a VPN

You can’t beat a VPN for privacy, security, and access. We have used them for years as an important part of our streaming toolkit and we recommend ExpressVPN. Other brands worth checking out include Hotspot Shield and CyberGhost.

i See our VPN Buyer’s Guide for complete information on how to choose the best VPN for your needs.

What ESPN Channels Are Available?

ESPN started as a regional sports channel in 1979 as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. But even before it went live it was a national channel. In 1988, ESPN expanded to other nations. And in 1993, a second channel was added with more to follow.

ABC bought a controlling interest in ESPN in 1984. As a result of mergers, that means The Walt Disney Company now owns 80% of ESPN.

Here are the major ESPN channels

  • ESPN: The flagship channel of the network that broadcasts many live sporting events but also shows like SportsCenter.
  • ESPN2: Acts as a spillover channel for ESPN with events from MLB, WNBA, and NCAA football and basketball. It is also the base for ESPN’s tennis coverage.
  • ESPN3: A streaming service that presents an array of sporting events including soccer. Much of its content has been moved to the pay-service ESPN+ over the last few years. But it still streams an enormous amount including virtually everything aired on ABC Sports.
  • ESPNews: Despite the name, it broadcasts repeats of events although it does feature some live events and shows.
  • ESPNU: Broadcasts a wide selection of college sports. It’s related to the later-formed Longhorn Network, SEC Network, and ACC Network.
  • ESPN Deportes: As the name implies, the Spanish-language ESPN with live events and shows.
  • ESPN Classic: This channel shut down at the end of 2021 but before that it broadcast mostly old games and shows. It was notable as the only ESPN channel not broadcast in HD because most of what it showed predated HDTV.
  • ESPN College Extra: This channel also shut down although later, in 2023. It focused on college football and basketball live games drawn from ESPN3.

ESPN also operates a number of channels focused on specific areas of college sports:

  • ACC Network: Focuses on sports involving the Atlantic Coast Conference.
  • ACC Network Extra: Predates ACC Network and continues to show events that don’t fit on the main channel.
  • Longhorn Network: Shows and live events involving the University of Texas, Austin.
  • SEC Network: Covers all sports in the Southeastern Conference.
  • SEC Network Plus: Spillover content from SEC Network.

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

Today’s ESPN Schedule

Here is today’s schedule in Eastern Time:

Local Programming

Sign off.

ESPN On Demand

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

2024 Men's College World SeriesGame 10: Teams TBA

From Charles Schwab Field Omaha in Omaha, Neb.

The Ultimate Fighter

The training and development of professional Ultimate Fighters.

Local Programming

Sign off.

ESPN On Demand

SportsCenter With Scott Van Pelt

Scott Van Pelt presents the day in sports through his unique perspective with highlights, special guests and his "One Big Thing" commentary.

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

ESPN On Demand

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

Local Programming

Sign off.

ESPN On Demand

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

Get Up

Host Mike Greenberg is joined by ESPN analysts to analyze the latest news from the world of sports on a morning show originating from Manhattan's South Street Seaport.

First Take

Stephen A. Smith joins Molly Qerim to debate the hottest topics in sports with contributors and guests.

ESPN On Demand

The Pat McAfee Show

Former NFL punter Pat McAfee brings his humor and candor to the microphone to highlight the day's top stories.

2024 Men's College World SeriesTBA vs. Tennessee

Game 11.

Local Programming

Sign off.

ESPN On Demand

Around the Horn

Sportswriters around the country discuss sports issues.

Pardon the Interruption

Opinions regarding the day's top sports stories.

SportsCenter

ESPN's flagship program provides sports news, highlights and analysis.

ESPN On Demand

Wrapping Up

ESPN is arguably the most important sports channel in existence. ESPN and ESPN2 are offered in the basic plans of all the major streaming services. And all the others are available for little or no extra charge.

Fubo is our first recommendation for streaming ESPN. Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial.

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

See Also

Still have some questions about enjoying ESPN without the hassle of a cable or satellite contract? These resources will help:

See this streaming service guide to compare what they have to offer.

FAQs

Does ESPN air NFL playoff games?

Yes, ESPN provides access to some playoff games. In 2024, ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, and ESPN+ all aired the last Wild Card game of the NFL postseason. And ABC and ESPN both showed the first Divisional game. But mostly, the NFL playoffs are broadcast by a combination of CBS, Fox, and NBC.

What are the NFL playoffs?

The NFL playoffs is a single-elimination tournament held at the end of the regular NFL season which determines which teams will vie for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, in the NFL Championship game — commonly known as the Super Bowl. There are three rounds prior to the Super Bowl: the Wild Card Round (12 teams), the Divisional Round (8 teams), and the Conference Championships (4 teams).

When do the NFL playoffs start this year?

The official 2024-25 NFL playoffs schedule has not been released. But the NFL is very predictable in its schedule, so we are 99% sure that the Wild Card Round will take place from Saturday to Monday, January 11-13, 2025. That would put the Divisional Round starting on January 18th, the Conference Round on January 26th, and the Super Bowl on February 9th.

Is ESPN good for the NFL playoffs?

ESPN provides great news coverage of the NFL playoffs, so in that sense, it is good. But in terms of postseason games, it isn’t. Each year, ESPN (usually simulcast on ABC and ESPN2) airs one Wild Card game on Monday Night and last year it featured a divisional game. This still makes ESPN important for fans to have, since they will want to see every playoff game.

The same is generally true of the regular season. ESPN broadcasts Monday Night Football and one or two International Games. It’s not a lot of football but it is essential football! If you want to know how to watch a particular team — on ESPN or not — see our viewer’s guides:

AFC East AFC North AFC South AFC West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Houston Texans Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Los Angeles Chargers
New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers Tennessee Titans Las Vegas Raiders
NFC East NFC North NFC South NFC West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants Detroit Lions Carolina Panthers Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers
Washington Commanders Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers Seattle Seahawks

Is the Super Bowl on ESPN?

ESPN has never hosted the Super Bowl. But that is about to change. Super Bowl LXI in 2027 will be broadcast by ABC and ESPN as part of a four-year cycle along with CBS, Fox, and NBC. As time goes on, ESPN gets more and more important for sports fans.

Can I watch ESPN on Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime Video is an on-demand streaming service so it doesn’t air live TV channels like ESPN. It does, however, stream some content. In particular, you can watch the ESPN documentary series 30 for 30. However, this is not available free to Prime subscribers; you can buy episodes and seasons.

Can I watch ESPN for free?

You cannot watch live games on ESPN for free outside of a free trial with a streaming service. If you install the ESPN app, you can watch clips from events and shows. But it is frustrating and you will probably find yourself signing up for ESPN+ before long.

Can I watch ESPN live with ESPN+?

ESPN+ allows you to watch many live events. It does not, however, allow you to watch live events that are showing on ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN+ is an addition to these TV channels, not a replacement. Note that ESPN+ is a pay-service that costs $10.99/mo or $109.99/yr.

Can I watch ESPN without a TV provider?

No, you cannot watch ESPN without a TV provider. It’s not an over-the-air network that you can receive on an antenna; you must subscribe to a pay TV provider that carries ESPN. Most (but not all) TV providers offer ESPN, so make sure to check the service’s channel lineup before you commit.

ESPN+ is an over-the-top streaming service (meaning straight from ESPN, without a TV provider middleman) that you can get as a stand-alone subscription without a TV provider, but you won’t get the live ESPN or ESPN2 channels from it.

Which streaming services have ESPN?

Any multichannel live streaming service that carries live sports at all carries ESPN. So except for Philo and Frndly TV, you’re covered. You can choose from DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, Hulu Live, Sling TV, or YouTube TV. You can read more about these services above in the “Online Streaming Services” section.

What devices can I stream ESPN on?

Supported streaming devices depend on your TV provider. Some providers support more devices than others — Hulu Live supports a lot of different streaming gadgets while DIRECTV STREAM only supports the most popular. The standard ones that almost every service supports are Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, iOS or Android mobiles, and computer web browsers.

How do I stream ESPN on my computer?

The easiest way is to use your TV provider’s app or website and simply select ESPN as the channel just like you would on a TV. If your TV provider supports TV Everywhere, you can also go to ESPN.com and sign in using your provider’s credentials and stream ESPN from there.

What is the cheapest way to stream ESPN?

Sling TV is the cheapest way to stream ESPN. For $40.00/mo, they provide you with ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. For an additional $11/mo you can get the Sports Extra add-on, which also gives you ESPNU and ESPNews, ACC Network, Longhorn Network, and SEC Network.

What does ESPN offer other than live sports?

ESPN has developed many shows over the years. These go far beyond pregame shows like Monday Night Countdown and NBA Countdown. Some of the most popular ESPN shows are:

  • Around the Horn: A sports panel show with notable sportswriters.
  • Baseball Tonight: One-hour discussion of what’s happening in MLB.
  • E:60: More or less the 60 Minutes of sports.
  • First Take: Two hours of sports discussion right after Get Up!
  • Get Up!: Two hours of sports talk each weekday morning.
  • NBA Today: Weekly show about the happenings in the National Basketball Association.
  • NFL Live: Daily show featuring news about the National Football League.
  • Outside the Lines: Saturday morning sports news show with Jeremy Schaap.
  • Pardon the Interruption: A lively discussion of sports news.
  • SportsCenter: ESPN’s flagship program provides sports news and information.
  • This Just In: Daily sports talk show with host Max Kellerman.

Who is playing in the next Monday Night Football game?

ESPN airs Monday Night NFL games and some NFL playoff games. Here is the upcoming game:

  • : Detroit Tigers vs New York Yankees (MLB)

Is Monday Night Football on ABC?

Monday Night Football is sometimes on ABC. Although the weekly event started on ABC, once ESPN became part of Walt Disney, the game was moved. Monday Night Football does, however, sometimes simulcast on ABC. And ABC airs all games in the local markets of the teams participating. So if the Chiefs and 49ers are playing on MNF, the game will air on ABC in Kansas City and San Francisco.

What MLB games air on ESPN?

DateTime (ET)TeamsTV
Thu Mar 287:35 pmCubs vs RangersESPN
Sun Mar 317:10 pmCardinals vs DodgersESPN
Sun Apr 77:10 pmAstros vs RangersESPN
Sun Apr 147:10 pmPadres vs DodgersESPN
Sun Apr 217:10 pmRangers vs BravesESPN
Sun Apr 284:05 pmAstros vs RockiesESPN
Sun Apr 287:10 pmCubs vs Red SoxESPN
Sun May 57:10 pmGiants vs PhilliesESPN
Sun May 127:10 pmBraves vs MetsESPN
Sun May 197:10 pmPadres vs BravesESPN
Sun May 267:10 pmCubs vs CardinalsESPN
Sun Jun 910:10 amMets vs PhilliesESPN
Sun Jun 97:10 pmDodgers vs YankeesESPN
Sun Jun 167:10 pmYankees vs Red SoxESPN
Wed Jul 107:05 pmDodgers vs PhilliesESPN
Sun Aug 187:10 pmYankees vs TigersESPN

Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord

  1. Pick the right streaming service
  2. Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
  3. Supercharge your internet provider

That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!

Page Updates

  1. Updated for changes in 2024.

  2. Added streaming info. Added info about guide. Updated some sub-sections. Updated some section headings. Additional links. Deleted unneeded sub-section. Cleaned up list.

  3. Added buttons for streaming services. Added sub-section. Updated some sub-sections. Updated some section headings. Mentioned offers.

  4. Added buttons for streaming services. Pricing updates. Mentioned offers. Image changes.

  5. Updated some sub-sections. Added some more links. Image changes.

  6. Updated some sub-sections. Updated some section headings. Pricing updates.

  7. Added links to streaming services. Added sub-section. Updated some sub-sections. Pricing updates. Linking. Cleaned up list.

  8. Added new section. Added sub-section. Pricing updates. Updated some sub-sections. Image changes.

  9. Updated one section.

Frank Moraes
Follow me

Leave a Reply

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

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap