Skip to main content

How to watch ESPN online without cable

ESPN logo on TV
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sports fans looking to cut the cord likely wonder how they'll watch ESPN online once they get rid of that slow, hideous abomination known as the cable box. Fortunately, we've found multiple ways to keep ESPN in your life, including two of the best streaming services.

And while ESPN is known for its around-the-clock coverage in SportsCenter, it's more than just the news. Depending on the season, you can have any number of live sports games (including NBA live streams and MLB live streams), lively debate shows including Around the Horn and Pardon The Interruption and much more.

Surprisingly, though, ESPN's own streaming service, ESPN Plus, is not one of these options. We're guessing this is because ESPN's cable channels are worth too high a fee for the streaming service not to license (and that such a deal would lower the price of the agreements with cable companies).

So, without further ado, here's everything you need to watch ESPN online:

How to watch ESPN online in the U.S.

A slice of the American flag

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

ESPN is available on all of the best cable TV alternatives, but one of them (our favorite, actually) doesn't put ESPN in all of its packages.

So if you go with Sling TV (which has the lowest starting price of any service we recommend), know that ESPN is only in Sling Orange (and not Sling Blue). For more information on the difference between them, check out our Sling Orange vs. Blue story. Sling TV starts at $35 per month (opens in new tab). ESPN2 and ESPN3 are also included.

The other live TV streaming service we recommend (which has ESPN) is FuboTV. Not only does it let you see multiple channels at the same time, but it's brilliant for international sports. That said, Fubo doesn't have TNT, which is a big no-no for NBA season.

ESPN and TNT are both included in the Sling Orange package, which costs $35. Sling will be a perfect place to watch all of the NBA playoffs, as ABC games will simulcast on ESPN3, and Sling Orange gets you TNT, ESPN, ESPN3, and its Sports Extra pack gets you NBA TV.

Sling and Fubo are two of the picks on our best streaming services list, but we go with Sling here even though it doesn't have ABC (though you can get it with one of the best TV antennas), as those games will be on ESPN3.

(opens in new tab)

Sling TV (opens in new tab): You can get ESPN and TNT in the Sling Orange package. The 30-plus channels in the lineup include AMC, CNN, Food Network, AMC, Comedy Central, HGTV and many more.

(opens in new tab)

Fubo.TV (opens in new tab): One of the best streaming services with FOX, and the top pick for watching all of the 2021 NFL live streams, Fubo has all of the right network channels and the two cable channels you don't want to go without. Who needs cable? Not Fubo subscribers. It's got a 7-day free trial (opens in new tab) so you don't need to pay up front.

What about ESPN Plus?

This is annoying. ESPN made a whole streaming service called ESPN Plus ... and it doesn't have ESPN's TV networks. 

Weird, right? To quote ESPN's own site (opens in new tab), "An ESPN+ subscription does not give you access to stream ESPN’s traditional TV networks or the content on them. To stream those networks, you need a television subscription through a cable, satellite or digital provider."

ESPN Plus does have its own fair share of content to get you to pay $6.99 per month (opens in new tab), including live NHL, college basketball, PGA tour golf, LaLiga and Bundesliga futbol/soccer and Top Rank boxing. UFC is also on ESPN Plus, but you need to spend extra for that. 

How to watch all the ESPN channels online

Sling TVYouTube TVHulu + Live TVDirecTV StreamfuboTV
ESPNYes (Orange)YesYesYesYes
ESPN2Yes (Orange)YesYesYesYes
ESPN3Yes (Orange)YesYesYesYes
ESPNEWSSports Extra ($11 per month)YesYes$90 and up packagesfubo Extra ($8 per month)
ESPN DeportesBest of Spanish TV ($6 per month)NoEspañol Add-on ($5 per month)$105 and up packagesYes
ESPNUSports Extra ($11 per month)YesYes$90 and up packagesfubo Extra ($8 per month)

As you can see below, Sling TV, fuboTV and Hulu's live TV service all pack all of the ESPN channels without charging you over $100.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

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.