5 Ways to Watch ESPN Online without Cable

Sports channels remain one of the biggest reasons many households have not yet cut the cable. Streaming services have been offering loads of groundbreaking original and hard-to-find content for years, yet professional sporting events are only just recently beginning to move into the streaming world. ESPN is still the undisputed leader in sports coverage, and luckily there are more ways than ever to stream ESPN channels without the need for a cable subscription.

Want to cut the cord and still watch an ESPN live stream? Check out these five ways to watch ESPN online without cable.

1. Sling TV

Sling TV offers another all-purpose cable-cutting solution for a low price. Five ESPN channels are included, plus loads of other sports networks. Aside from sports, dozens of major cable and broadcast networks are included with a Sling TV subscription for all of your television needs. Sling TV is a great way to cut the cable for a low monthly subscription while still retaining most of the most-watched networks.

  • A basic Sling TV package is only $25 per month (includes ESPN live stream and more)
  • Sling TV includes five major ESPN networks across various packages: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN U, and ESPNews (check the full Sling TV channels list)
  • Sling TV can be streamed on multiple simultaneous devices, making it a great solution for households
  • Sling TV is supported by most major streaming-ready devices including Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox consoles, iOS and Android mobile devices, or through your computer’s web browser.
  • No contract required; users can subscribe month-to-month

Like most major streaming services, Sling TV offers a free trial period for new users. This is a great way to test out the service while you watch ESPN online free for a week.

2. PlayStation Vue

Sony’s PlayStation consoles have become much more than gaming rigs. PlayStations can play DVDs and Blu-Rays, and Sony’s new PlayStation Vue service is quickly becoming a cable-cutting option for many households. The Vue network claims that “the rules of TV have changed” with their service, because it offers a contract-free way to stream some of the biggest networks in television. You get a whole lot more than just an ESPN live stream!

  • Packages start at $44.99 per month (check our guide to PlayStation Vue channels)
  • Users can access up to five simultaneous streams, making Vue a great solution for households with multiple cable cutters
  • Vue includes a cloud-based DVR feature which can save recorded programs for up to 28 days
  • Vue isn’t restricted to the PlayStation console; you can also watch on Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, mobile devices, and more. 

Have a PlayStation and want to cut the cable? Give PlayStation Vue a shot with their 5-day free trial.


DIRECTV NOW is one of the best all-in-one cable-free streaming services. For $40 a month, subscribers can watch ESPN online plus over 60 streaming channels including many of the biggest cable networks.

  • Over 60 channels including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, and ESPN U (check our guide to the DIRECTV NOW channels list)
  • Option to upgrade to larger packages with up to 120+ channels
  • No contract: users can unsubscribe at any time
  • New content including more channels are added all the time
  • An easy-to-use interface that should feel familiar to new cable-cutters

Still not convinced? You’re in luck: DIRECTV NOW offers a 7-day free trial period. Give it a shot to see if it’s right for you.

4. WatchESPN App

If you’re a die-hard sports fan who doesn’t watch a lot of other content, ESPN’s WatchESPN app is a great low-cost solution to stream ESPN programming without the need to pay for other channels. Anyone with a high-speed internet subscription or using a computer on a college campus or military base can access ESPN3 content without the need for a cable subscription, although cable subscribers can stream over ten more ESPN networks.

  • WatchESPN is supported on Android, Amazon Fire TV and Kindle devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Windows 8, Xbox One, or through your computer’s web browser.
  • With a cable subscription, users can access ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U, ESPNews, SEC Network, ESPN Deportes, ACC Network Extra, and Goal Line/Buzzer Beater/Bases Loaded.
  • No monthly subscription required
  • Easy-to-use interface which allows users to filter streams by sport, channel, or program.

5. Hulu Live TV

Hulu’s live TV service launched earlier this year and has already become an all-in-one cable cutting solution in many homes. A monthly subscription includes access to dozens of live streaming channels as well as Hulu’s video-on-demand content which now features many award-winning original series and films. Hulu’s live TV service costs just under $40 a month and gives you another way to watch ESPN without cable. Hulu’s live TV is currently supported on Android, iOS, Xbox One, Apple TV (4th gen), and Chromecast, but expanded device compatibility is in the works.

  • Over 50 live channels including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, and ESPN U plus several other sports networks
  • Access to the entire Hulu library, which adds new content regularly
  • Most of the major cable networks are included, plus plenty of family-friendly content
  • Local sporting events and channels are available in many cities
  • 50 hours of cloud DVR storage
  • Allows for two simultaneous screens

Hulu offers a seven-day free trial of their new live TV service. Note that some network restrictions apply based on one’s local area.

With so many different ways to watch ESPN online without cable, you can finally say goodbye to your expensive TV package!

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