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How To Watch ESPN Without Cable (As Cheap As Possible)


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The cheapest way to watch ESPN without cable is currently Sling TV. However, ESPN is available through a variety of live TV streaming services, so consumers can choose the one that best suits their individual needs and budget.

As ESPN is a sports channel, it remains a very popular channel to watch live. Unlike other channels and programs, where watching on-demand or recorded versions can provide a better experience, there’s nothing quite like watching sports live.

All of which makes ensuring ESPN is included in a live TV package all the more important. Thankfully, ESPN is available through multiple live TV services, with the price ranging from as low as $40 a month through to a minimum of $75 a month.

Live TV plans with access to ESPN

For those interested in a live TV plan with access to ESPN, below are your current options, from cheapest to the most expensive.

Cheapest way to watch ESPN without cable

At $40 a month, Sling TV is currently the cheapest way to watch ESPN without cable. Sling offers two main plans, which differ in a few ways including the channel lineups. Therefore, consumers wanting to watch ESPN will want to make sure they are subscribing to Sling Orange.

Sling TV
Updated Sling TV logo with emphasis on TV
Up to 40 channels
Up to 4 streams
50 hours DVR

$15 First Month

The Sling Orange package is a good deal overall for ESPN fans. While it does come with fewer channels than the $40 Sling Blue plan, it not only includes ESPN, but also ESPN2 and ESPN3 as well. With ESPN3 largely missing from many other live TV streaming services, Sling TV is an even better option for ESPN fans.

In addition to the channel lineup, Sling Orange also comes with up to 50 hours of cloud DVR at no additional cost, offering subscribers the option to record ESPN live events and shows for playback later.

Other ways to watch ESPN

The next cheapest option for watching ESPN without cable is Vidgo. At $69.99 a month, Vidgo is more expensive than Sling TV, but the channel lineup is far more robust. Subscribers not only get access to ESPN and ESPN 2, but ESPNews and ESPNU as well. For reference, Vidgo does not currently offer access to ESPN3.

Vidgo live TV guide$69.99+ a month
110+ channels
3 streams
20 hours DVR
Sign up

While Hulu Live TV is also currently priced at $69.99 a month, the cost increases to $76.99/month from October 12, 2023, which will make it one of the most expensive ways to watch ESPN. Then again, Hulu Live TV does also come with ESPN Plus at no additional cost, which helps to reduce the price of access to both ESPN and ESPN+.

Hulu Live TV
Hulu LIve TV guide$77+ a month
95+ channels
2 streams
Unlimited DVR
Disney+ and ESPN+
3 Days Free

YouTube TV is another possibility for watching ESPN, with the base plan priced at $72.99 a month. Similar to Vidgo, YouTube TV subscribers get access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews and ESPNU. Also similar to Vidgo, however, YouTube TV doesn’t offer access to ESPN3 as part of its channel lineup.

YouTube TV
YouTube TV live guide listings$73 a month
100+ channels
3 streams
Unlimited DVR
$58/mo for 3 months

If none of the plans above work, Fubo might be worth considering. The base Fubo plan costs $74.99 a month and provides access to ESPN and ESPN 2. However, Fubo does charge a regional sports fee in most locations, so the price you end up paying is likely to be higher than the advertised $74.99/mo. price.

fuboTV live guide listings$80+ a month
190+ channels
10 streams
1000-hour DVR
7-Day Free Trial

The final option is DirecTV Stream. The cheapest DirecTV Stream plan costs $74.99 a month and unlocks access to ESPN and ESPN 2. For those also wanting access to ESPNews and ESPNU, a Choice or higher subscription will be required, increasing the base plan cost to a minimum of $99.99 a month.

DirecTV Stream
Directv stream live guide$80+
75+ channels
20 streams (at home)
Unlimited DVR
5 Days Free

Watching ESPN directly

In addition to watching through a live TV service, ESPN offers the option to watch directly through the ESPN website. While this route still requires an active live TV subscription, it can be a good option for watching live, accessing additional content, and streaming on more devices at the same time.

One of the issues with TV Everywhere support is that it is not always available through every live TV service or for every channel included with a live TV plan. This is less of a problem with ESPN, however, considering TV Everywhere support is available to DirecTV Stream, Fubo, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, Vidgo, and YouTube TV subscribers.

With Sling TV included in that list, those opting to go with the cheapest way to watch ESPN won’t be sacrificing on TV Everywhere support. In fact, as Sling Orange comes with fewer simultaneous streams than many other services, TV Everywhere support for ESPN will be all the more beneficial.

Watching ESPN without cable — recap

Sling Orange is currently the cheapest live TV plan that includes ESPN. Priced at $40 a month, Sling TV is considerably cheaper than other live TV streaming services. Subscribers also get access to ESPN2, ESPN3. and TV Everywhere support for ESPN, making it a good option overall.

For those willing to pay for a more robust live TV package that includes ESPN, there are plenty of options to choose from. Vidgo’s Plus plan costs $69.99 a month, Hulu Live TV costs $69.99 a month ($76.99 from Oct. 12), YouTube TV costs $72.99 a month, while both Fubo and DirecTV Stream cost a minimum of $74.99 a month.

John Finn


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