Eight of baseball's top sluggers will be swinging for the fences tonight (July 8) as part of the All-Star Game festivities at Cleveland's Progressive Field. Major League Baseball's 2019 Home Run Derby figures to be one of the highlights of the All-Star break, with the made-for-TV event often eclipsing the All-Star Game itself.
With baseballs flying over the fence at a prodigious clip, you're not going to want to miss a moment of the Home Run Derby. And thanks to streaming services and VPNs, you don't have to, even if you're nowhere near a TV set to watch this baseball showcase.
Here's how to watch the 2019 Home Run Derby, along with a rundown of the services that can help you tune in to the big event.
When is the 2019 Home Run Derby on?
The Home Run Derby starts at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on July 8. ESPN has the exclusive broadcast rights, so you'll need to tune into the cable channel if you want to watch this annual parade of dingers.
ESPN2 is picking up a simulcast of ESPN's coverage, though the ESPN2 broadcast will be more stat-focused than the main telecast. (ESPN tried this approach last year during the MLB playoffs, and it proved to be a popular option among statistically-inclined baseball fans.)
Canadian baseball fans can tune into Sportsnet to watch the Home Run Derby.
How do I use a VPN to watch the 2019 Home Run Derby?
If you're outside North America when baseball's All-Stars are trying to give the ball a ride tonight, don't worry. A virtual private network (VPN) can help you catch the Home Run Derby. With a VPN, you can make it appear as if you're online in the country of your choosing, allowing you to stream programs just like you would back home.
We've tested many services to find the best VPN, and we recommend ExpressVPN. Its superb speeds and excellent customer service meets the needs of most users, though you have other options if you're looking for a good VPN service.
Here are our top VPN options if you need a service to watch the Home Run Derby.
ExpressVPN: Buying a month of ExpressVPN costs $12.95, though if you need a VPN beyond tonight's Home Run Derby, signing up for a year brings the cost down to $6.77 a month. Our favorite VPN also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN: Cheap and secure, NordVPN is just $2.99/month for a three-year contract, while a month of service costs $11.95. NordVPN uses 2048-bit encryption, and makes it easy to use streaming services.
Windscribe: You won't get the fastest speeds with this VPN. But Windscribe's free tier does off up to 10GB per month, while a monthly plan only sets you back $9. And you get unlimited connections with Windscribe.
How can I live stream the 2019 Home Run Derby?
Because the Home Run Derby airs on ESPN, it's easy enough to watch live, even if you're not in front of a TV. The ESPN website will carry the broadcast, or you can watch the Home Run Derby on ESPN's mobile app (Android, iOS) — just select the Watch tab and you'll get a list of live programming, including the Home Run Derby.
There's a catch, though: ESPN will require you to sign in with the log-in credentials for your cable or satellite TV provider to live stream the Home Run Derby. In other words, this isn't an option for people who've cancelled their cable subscription.
You can't even use ESPN+, the $5-a-month streaming service ESPN created to bring some live sports to cord cutters. The Home Run Derby broadcast won't be shown on ESPN+.
How can I stream the 2019 Home Derby without a cable subscription?
So how can you watch the Home Run Derby if you've dropped cable? Your best bet would be to turn to a streaming service that includes ESPN among its channels. That means you'll want to avoid FuboTV, a sports-focused streaming service that hasn't added ESPN yet. Fortunately, you've got plenty of options among services that do feature ESPN and ESPN2 among their basic offerings.
DirecTV Now: This streaming service's entry-level package costs $50, and it includes both ESPN channels. As an added bonus, you also get HBO with DirecTV Now.
Hulu + Live TV: Hulu's $45-a-month package includes ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN News along with 60 other channels. A cloud DVR lets you record programs if you'd prefer to watch the Home Run Derby later.
PlayStation Vue: Bad news if you're a new customer to PlayStation Vue — the service raised its rates by $5 a month last week. (The rate hike goes into effect for current customers at the end of July.) That means the entry-level Access package, which includes ESPN and ESPN2, now costs $50 a month.
Sling TV: The Orange package on Sling TV includes both ESPN and ESPN2. Even better, a current promotion cuts the monthly cost of Sling TV by 40%, letting you subscribe the Orange tier for $15 a month. If you're shopping for a service that includes Fox as well as ESPN (since Fox carries tomorrow's All-Star Game), be wary of Sling TV, as it only offers local channels in a few select markets.
YouTube TV: YouTube's live TV service costs $50 a month and includes ESPN's offerings among its 70-plus channels. YouTube's service also includes a cloud DVR feature for recording programs to watch later.
Who's participating in the 2019 Home Run Derby?
Eight sluggers from around Major League Baseball will compete against one another to smack the most dingers. The 2019 Home Run Derby participants include:
- Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics (replacing the injured Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers)
- Vlad Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays
- Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros
- Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Pete Alonso of the New York Mets
- Carlos Santana of the Cleveland Indians
- Josh Bell of the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Robert Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves
What format does the 2019 Home Run Derby use?
After years of using a multi-round format that made the competition go on for hours (and resulting in some pooped sluggers), MLB switched to a head-to-head format in 2015, and the Home Run Derby has improved dramatically as a result. The eight participants will square off head-to-head, with four minutes to knock as many baseballs out of the park as possible. The winner advances to the next round, until there's just one home run king left standing.