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Cutting the cord? Where to live stream NFL, NBA, MLB and more

Sports Streaming Services
(Image credit: ESPN/NFL/NBA)

Cutting the cord is many a sports fan's worst nightmare, as I've re-learned researching where the many professional sports teams can be streamed online. Sure, the NFL is rather simple, but when you go past that, to the NBA, MLB and MLS, your eyes start spinning. Cable isn't great, but this confusion isn't better.

But, because we at Tom's Guide are dedicated to decoding the chaos of cord-cutting, I pushed through and found the ways that you can follow your favorite pro football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer teams in the US. Below, I've compiled which of the best cable TV alternatives stream the national and regional sports networks that die-hard fans need to see each and every game.

Where to live stream NFL Football

Watching NFL live streams is easier than any other kind, the games are easy to find, and easier to watch on one of the best streaming devices. You want Fox for NFC games on Sunday afternoon, CBS for AFC games that same day, NBC for Sunday Night Football, ESPN for Monday Night Football and the NFL Network for most Thursday Night Football games (some, though, air on Fox or Amazon Prime). The Super Bowl in 2022 will be on NBC, so that's going to be easy for all to get.

Of course, the games you get on those channels will vary by region, as there are multiple 1 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET games in each conference across the country.

Here's a refresher to break down who's in which conference:

AFC teams (CBS): Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans

NFC teams (Fox): Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team

Best streaming services for NFL: And for all of that, you'll likely want fuboTV, which we rate as of the best streaming services. It has all of the above channels, while Sling TV has everything but CBS. So, basically, households that follow primarily NFC teams could get away with Sling, where the $50 per month Orange + Blue package (for getting ESPN, NBC and Fox) is $15 less than the $65 fubo package.

All the networks

Fubo.TV (opens in new tab): The best streaming service for getting 2021 NFL live streams, Fubo has all of the right network channels and the two cable channels you don't want to go without. It's got a 7-day free trial (opens in new tab) so you don't need to pay up front.

If you don't need all of the NFL games, Sling TV (opens in new tab) provides a middle ground. The $50 per month Sling Orange + Blue package has Fox, NBC and ESPN.

You have more options, though, as YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV also offer all those channels. Both are also $65 per month. DirecTV Stream (fka AT&T TV), which we don't recommend, has everything but NFL Network.

What about NFL RedZone? Want to see every touchdown? fuboTV, Sling and Youtube TV all offer NFL RedZone in their $11 per month sports channels add-on packages. Hulu's RedZone package is $9.99, but includes fewer other channels.

Where to live stream NBA basketball games

Leaving the NFL for the other pro sports leagues, we hit the confusing world of regional sports networks. Many, if not most, are only available in DirecTV Stream's $85 per month Choice package. That's much pricier than the other streaming services mentioned above, but that's the price you pay. 

Also, of course, it must be noted that regional sports networks are called "regional" for a reason. They're not available nationwide, but in the regions of that those teams "represent." For example, the folks in Boston won't be able to watch Celtics vs Nets games on YES Network with DirecTV Stream, and so on and so forth. 

Best streaming services for NBA: While your team's RSN may dictate the right service for you, NBA live streams are also on national channels, such as NBA League Pass, ESPN (Sling Orange and all other services), and ABC, which is everywhere but Sling, though some ABC games are on ESPN3 (which is on Sling Orange). RSNs aren't necessary once you get to the playoffs, as well as the NBA play-in tournament live streams.

TNT (which is everywhere but fuboTV) also hosts many games, including playoffs action), while NBA TV is on YouTube TV, the $85 per month DirecTV Stream package and available in the $11 per month sports add-on packages on fubo and Sling.

So, while many regional sports networks are available on fubo, know that it doesn't have TNT, which is a problem for nationally televised games and playoffs.

Basketball teamLocal channelStreaming service
Atlanta HawksBally Sports SoutheastDirecTV Stream
Boston CelticsNBC Sports BostonDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Brooklyn NetsYES NetworkDirecTV Stream
Charlotte HornetsBally Sports CarolinasDirecTV Stream
Chicago BullsNBC Sports ChicagoDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Cleveland CavaliersBally Sports OhioDirecTV Stream
Dallas MavericksBally Sports SouthwestDirecTV Stream
Denver NuggetsAltitudeDirecTV Stream
Detroit PistonsBally Sports DetroitDirecTV Stream
Golden State WarriorsNBC Sports Bay AreaDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Houston RocketsAT&T SportNet SouthwestDirecTV Stream, fubo
Indiana PacersBally Sports IndianaDirecTV Stream
Los Angeles ClippersBally Sports SoCalDirecTV Stream
Los Angeles LakersSpectrum SportsNetDirecTV Stream
Memphis GrizzliesBally Sports SoutheastDirecTV Stream
Miami HeatBally Sports SunDirecTV Stream
Milwaukee BucksBally Sports WisconsinDirecTV Stream
Minnesota TimberwolvesBally Sports NorthDirecTV Stream
New Orleans PelicansBally Sports New OrleansDirecTV Stream
New York KnicksMSGDirecTV Stream, fubo
Oklahoma City ThunderBally Sports OklahomaDirecTV Stream
Orlando MagicFox Sports SunDirecTV Stream
Philadelphia 76ersNBC Sports Philadelphiafubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Phoenix SunsBally Sports ArizonaDirecTV Stream
Portland Trail BlazersRoot Sports NorthwestDirecTV Stream, fubo
Sacramento KingsNBC Sports CaliforniaDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
San Antonio SpursBally Sports SouthwestDirecTV Stream
Toronto RaptorsTSNTSN
Utah JazzAT&T SportsNet Rocky MountainDirecTV Stream, fubo
Washington WizardsNBC Sports WashingtonDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV

Where to live stream MLB baseball games

Just like with basketball, the story of MLB live streams revolves around local RSNs. But if your team's channel is available on multiple providers, we have some other notes for national games.

Best streaming services for MLB: Nationally broadcast games are on FOX (Sling Blue and available everywhere else), FS1 (same), ESPN and ESPN2 (Sling Orange and everywhere else) and TBS (everywhere but fubo). This would make Sling, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and DirecTV Stream good options, depending on your team's channel.

Games are also on MLB Network, available with fubo and Sling with their $11 per month Sports add-ons, YouTube TV and the $85 and up DirecTV Stream packages.

The $70 per month Hulu with Live TV (opens in new tab) package has a surprising number of regional sports channels, though your mileage may vary, depending on the team you're looking to follow.

Arizona DiamondbacksBally Sports ArizonaDirecTV Stream
Atlanta BravesBally Sports South and Bally Sports SoutheastDirecTV Stream (both)
Baltimore OriolesMASNDirecTV Stream
Boston Red SoxNESNDirecTV Stream, fubo
Chicago CubsMarquee Sports NetworkDirecTV Stream, fubo
Chicago White SoxNBC Sports ChicagoDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Cincinnati RedsBally Sports OhioDirecTV Stream
Cleveland GuardiansBally Sports OhioDirecTV Stream
Colorado RockiesAT&T SportsNet Rocky MountainDirecTV Stream, fubo
Detroit TigersBally Sports DetroitDirecTV Stream
Houston AstrosAT&T SportsNet SouthwestDirecTV Stream, fubo
Kansas City RoyalsBally Sports Kansas CityDirecTV Stream
Los Angeles AngelsBally Sports WestDirecTV Stream
Los Angeles DodgersSpectrum SportsNet LADirecTV Stream
Miami MarlinsBally Sports FloridaDirecTV Stream
Milwaukee BrewersBally Sports WisconsinDirecTV Stream
Minnesota TwinsBally Sports NorthDirecTV Stream
New York MetsSportsNet NYDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
New York YankeesYES NetworkDirecTV Stream
Oakland AthleticsNBC Sports CaliforniaDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Philadelphia PhilliesNBC Sports PhiladelphiaDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Pittsburgh PiratesAT&T SportsNet PittsburghDirecTV Stream, fubo
San Diego PadresBally Sports San DiegoDirecTV Stream
San Francisco GiantsNBC Sports Bay AreaDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Seattle MarinersRoot Sports NorthwestDirecTV Stream, fubo
St. Louis CardinalsBally Sports MidwestDirecTV Stream
Tampa Bay RaysBally Sports FloridaDirecTV Stream
Texas RangersBally Sports SouthwestDirecTV Stream
Toronto Blue JaysSportsnetSportsnet
Washington NationalsMASNDirecTV Stream

Where to live stream NHL hockey games

The big story about NHL games, outside of the below regional sports channels, is ESPN Plus, as 75 exclusive, ESPN-produced regular-season games will air on ESPN's streaming service. On top of that, more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be on ESPN Plus (but those are subject to regional blackout rules).

Best streaming services for NHL: While DirecTV Stream dominates the RSNs, Sling, due to its price, looks like a front-runner for national games. You may have your choice of service if you have ESPN Plus. ESPN (available with Sling Blue and all other cord-cutting services) is going to have 18 exclusive regular season games, while ABC (available everywhere but Sling) will have 10 regular season games that are also available with ESPN Plus. 

TeamLocal channelServices
Arizona CoyotesBally Sports ArizonaDirecTV Stream
Boston BruinsNESNfubo and DirecTV Stream
Buffalo SabresMSGDirecTV Stream, fubo
Carolina HurricanesBally Sports SouthDirecTV Stream
Chicago BlackhawksNBC Sports ChicagoDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Colorado AvalancheAltitudeDirecTV Stream
Columbus Blue JacketsBally Sports OhioDirecTV Stream
Dallas StarsBally Sports SouthwestDirecTV Stream
Detroit Red WingsBally Sports DetroitDirecTV Stream
Edmonton OilersSportsnetSportsnet
Florida PanthersBally Sports FloridaDirecTV Stream
Los Angeles KingsBally Sports WestDirecTV Stream
Montréal CanadiensTSN, SportsNetTSN, SportsNet
Minnesota WildBally Sports NorthDirecTV Stream
Nashville PredatorsBally Sports TennesseeDirecTV Stream
New Jersey DevilsMSGDirecTV Stream, fubo
New York IslandersMSGDirecTV Stream, fubo
New York RangersMSGDirecTV Stream, fubo
Ottawa SenatorsTSNTSN
Philadelphia FlyersNBC Sports Philadelphiafubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Pittsburgh PenguinsAT&T SportsNet PittsburghDirecTV Stream, fubo
San Jose SharksNBC Sports CaliforniaDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Seattle KrakenRoot Sports NorthwestDirecTV Stream, fubo
St. Louis BluesBally Sports MidwestDirecTV Stream
Tampa Bay LightningBally Sports SunDirecTV Stream
Toronto Maple LeafsSportsnet Ontario, TSNSportsnet Ontario, TSN
Vancouver CanucksSportsnetSportsnet
Vegas Golden KnightsAT&T SportsNet Rocky MountainDirecTV Stream, fubo
Washington CapitalsNBC Sports WashingtonDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Winnipeg JetsTSNTSN

Where to live stream MLS soccer games

In addition to MLS Live on ESPN Plus (as well as Twitter and MLS games are broadcast on a really-wide range of networks, with the local channels listed below and many others for national games.

Best streaming services for NHL: As you'll see from the below list, nationally-televised games are all over the place. The best pick here looks like fubo.

  • ABC: DirecTV Stream, fubo
  • ESPN Deportes: Hulu + Español add-on, Sling + Best of Spanish TV
  • ESPN3: fubo, Sling Orange, YouTube TV
  • Fox Deportes: fubo
  • FS1: DirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, Sling Blue, YouTube TV
  • TUDN: DirecTV Stream, fubo
  • UniMás: DirecTV Stream, fubo, YouTube TV
  • Univision: DirecTV Stream, fubo, YouTube TV

TeamLocal channelService
Atlanta UnitedBally Sports South and Bally Sports SoutheastDirecTV Stream (both)
Charlotte FCWSOC-TVDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Chicago Fire FCchicagofirefc.comn/a
FC Cincinnatifccincinnati.comn/a
Colorado RapidsAltitude, Stream (for Altitude)
Columbus CrewBally Sports OhioDirecTV Stream
D.C. UnitedNBC Sports WashingtonDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Houston Dynamo
Sporting Kansas CityBally Sports KC, Bally Sports MidwestDirecTV Stream
LA GalaxySpectrum SportsNetDirecTV Stream
Los Angeles Football ClubBally Sports SoCalDirecTV Stream
Inter Miami CFInter Miami Appn/a
Minnesota UnitedBally Sports NorthDirecTV Stream
Nashville SCNashvilleSC.comn/a
New England RevolutionCBS Boston (WBZ)fubo
New York Red BullsMSGDirecTV Stream, fubo
New York City FCYESDirecTV Stream
Orlando CityLionNation TVn/a
Portland TimbersRoot Sports NorthwestDirecTV Stream, fubo
Real Salt LakeKSLSports.comn/a
San Jose EarthquakesNBC Sports California, NBC Sports Bay AreaDirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV
Seattle Sounders FCKZJOfubo
Vancouver Whitecaps FCTSNTSN

Where to live stream other sports

What if you're looking to go beyond those? Premier League live streams are found Peacock and on USA and NBC Sports, which are on Sling Blue and all of the other services.

And then there are the Champions League live streams, which live on Paramount Plus, with some games on three other channels: 

  • CBS: DirecTV Stream, fubo, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV
  • TUDN: DirecTV Stream, fubo
  • UniMás: DirecTV Stream, fubo, YouTube TV

F1 races are on ESPN, which is on Sling Orange and all the other services.

UFC fights are available on ESPN Plus.

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.