If you are thinking about cutting cable when your contract runs out you might be asking yourself, but what about sports? Don’t worry, you are not the first person to wonder that. The good news is that these days there are so many more answers to that question than there used to be.
ESPN3 (offered with some Internet providers)
ESPN3 is not a channel that you will find on your cable box. It is an Internet exclusive offering that is accessible via the web and ESPN’s apps for mobile devices, smart TV’s and streaming devices. The service has lots of live events that stream free provided that you receive your Internet from a participating partner. See if your provider allows it here. With access to ESPN3 you will be able to see lots of games that are not found on ESPN’s main channels across multiple sports including college football and NCAA Basketball. ESPN3 also streams ABC Sports events like NBA basketball as well. ESPN3 is also available via numerous cable replacement services, which are cheaper versions of the traditional cable package.
Major Broadcast Networks
When you look into cable alternatives don’t ever forget to look into what will be coming on your locally available broadcast networks. You may have not thought about it for a while, since you had cable and they were already built in, but a lot of major sporting events actually air for free on major networks like Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS. What do we mean by major? Well at least 4 NFL games every Sunday air on FOX, CBS and NBC respectively. The MLB Plays on FOX, The NHL plays on NBC, major college football and basketball has a major presence on local TV as well. Especially regional teams. At the moment CBS is home to SEC Football but will lose the contract in 2023. You can also catch plenty of tennis, PGA Golf, Racing and more on free OTA TV. You need a working consistent antenna. Depending on where you live your results can be hard to guess. See our guide on using antennas here.
Stadium TV (Streaming and OTA)
Stadium is a free 24-hour sports channel that is available both via its over the air broadcast via an antenna as well as its own apps and inclusion in multiple free streaming services aggregators like Pluto TV. The channel has live sports from a number of smaller college football leagues, a nightly sports wrap up show like Sports Center, and fun stuff like Strong Man competitions. This network feels a lot like sports channels did when ESPN was getting off the ground. Our bet is that as cord cutting grows channels like this will get more of a chance at high-end content. Till then you can still see football games and more. Just not marque ones.
The Fubo Sports Network (Streaming via XUMO)
The Fubo Sports Network is a newer entry to the mix. It includes access to The Champions League, LaLiga and Liga MX news, Boxing Cycling and other Olympic sports. It is also a source for sports news and commentary and original series.
There is tons of great sports content available via Pluto TV, an ad-supported aggregator with lots of choices across the map. It’s sports based content includes MMA via Bellator MMA and Fight. Pluto also includes feeds of Stadium, Glory Kickboxing and NFL game replays.
A major name in ad supported TV and new member of the Comcast family XUMO delivers a host of sports content including its exclusive PGA Channel with live golf, Stadium TV, The Fubo Sports Network, The World Poker Tour (if you consider that sports) and MMA action.
(Bleacher Report) BR Live
Bleacher report live is a hybrid service. It features live access to lots of soccer, All Elite Wrestling events, ONE Championship (MMA), select weekly National Lacrosse League games and other events. For more users can sign up for its monthly service.
Amazon Prime customers get access to the weekly NFL Network games on Thursdays free through the Prime app and Fire TV devices. The games stream in full with the TV announcers. Not a bad throw in for customers who already have the service.
Free Sports News CBS HQ
CBS Sports HQ is a free 24-hour sports news channel, sort of an answer to ESPN News.
ESPN+ is a supplemental streaming option from ESPN that gives users access to a number of live sports including MMA, Major League Baseball, Soccer, college sports, CFL Football and more as well as access to the entire ESPN 30 for 30 films library. The network also has a number of top notch original shows. Not bad for about $6.00 but not a full replacement for ESPN.
DAZN (Think Da Zone) is a pay service with an emphasis on combat sports, at least in the US. It is a service that provides access to big boxing and MMA events for 99.99 per year or 19.99 per month (the year is cheaper). Think of it like the WWE network. It gives access to events you would otherwise pay for per contest. Now in Canada DAZN is a different story. In Canada it provides access to lots of sports including the Premier League, Pac 12 Football and Basketball, FIBA Basketball, Champions League and NFL live and on demand. See more on DAZN international TV rights here.
UFC Fight Pass Channel
The UFC Channel is the name in MMA. Subscribers will get replays of all the action from the promotions UFC events as well as exclusive access to the preliminary fights for its events. Fight Pass also provides access to other MMA events from around the world. UFC Fight Pass/UFC Channel is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, ROKU, Xbox, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, and SONY TVs with Android TV.
Subscribe to League Packages
MLB was actually very early to the game. There is a catch though (See what I did there?). If you want to see, which ever team is considered your local team, it is blacked out. That means Yankees fans can’t watch their team if they live in NYC. But if they live anywhere else in the country they can. And that is how it goes throughout. If you live in a metro without an obvious team like we do in North Carolina a team is assigned as local. This is a great way to keep up with the league but a tough way to do it if your team is right around the corner.
NBA League Pass
NBA League Pass like MLB TV blocks out which ever team is considered local. But it provides a way to see every other NBA game happening everywhere else. Laker nation, the ever suffering Knicks fans and pro basketball fans across the country can stream games via the internet on computers, Streaming devices, iOS and Android devices and numerous streaming platforms like Amazon Fire TV, The Amazon Prime App, Roku, Android TV and Apple TV.
NHL games are available for any out of market team. The service is available on every major streaming devices platform, Internet browsers and iOS and Android devices. Don’t confuse this with NHL Center Ice. It is not an add-on to cable. So you can still see them drop the puck even if you drop cable.
Cable replacement services
Most cord cutting and streaming sites lead with this option but we felt it was important to highlight all of the services that are a departure from cable before we jumped on this subject. There are a number of cable replacement services out there with varied pricing and offerings that carry the major sports channels, entertainment networks and major broadcast networks. Whether you will be able to get the major broadcast channels in your area will depend on where you live and the nature of the agreements between the channel owners and the individual services. If you cut cable because TV was costing you well over $100.00 a month you will be happy to know you can get a decent selection of channels including ESPN’s family of networks for as little as $40.00 on the low end. Other Cable bundle replacements include Sling TV, fubo TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu With Live TV. Each will offer major sports channels like ESPN, ESPN 2 FS1 and more. Prices will vary from one service to the next. But each will provide a large selection of options and add-ons. Check out each site to see their pricing and packages.