4 Ways to Watch Sports without Cable

4 ways to watch sports without cableI’ve been trying to cut the cable cord for years. If it were up to me, I’d be satisfied with Netflix and Amazon Prime. But I’m married, and I have kids.

And my husband and son are both sports fanatics.

A few years ago, we cut out cable as an experiment for one year.

After a year, we went back to cable, because my husband missed his sports so much.

A lot has changed since then, and we recently cut our cable cord again. This time my husband and son are both watching plenty of sports without the high cable bill.

These are the best options we found for watching sports without cable.

Sling TV

Sling TV is a television streaming app that’s quickly growing in popularity.

Instead of cable, you stream your television shows through an app on your streaming device, mobile device, or computer.

Sling TV offers three packages: the orange package, the blue package, or the combined package.

The Orange package is $20 a month and includes the following sports channels (as well as other channels):

  • ESPN
  • ESPN 2
  • TNT (not a dedicated sports channel, but it carries a lot of basketball games)

Orange Sports Extra – If you purchase the Orange package, you have the option of adding all of the following stations for $5 more a month.

  • SEC ESPN Network
  • ESPN U
  • ESPN News
  • beIN Sports
  • ESPN Goal Line
  • ESPN Bases Loaded
  • ESPN Buzzer Beater
  • Outside TV
  • Univision Deportes

The Blue package is $25 a month and includes these sports channels (as well as other channels):

  • TNT
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Fox Sports 2
  • Fox Regional Sports Networks
  • NBC Sports Network
  • Unimas (for soccer in Spanish)

Comcast Sports Network is coming soon to the blue package.

If you go with the Blue package, you can add all of the following channels for $5 more a month.

  • The Golf Channel
  • beIN Sports
  • Outside TV
  • Univision Deportes

The combined package is $40 a month and gives you all the channels in both the Orange and Blue packages. Additionally, you can purchase all the extra sports channels (for the blue and orange packages) for $5 per month.

Sling TV is compatible with the following devices:

  • Apple TV (4th generation)
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Roku (Roku LT and higher)
  • Chromecast
  • AndroidTV
  • ZTE
  • Channel Master
  • iOS 8 and higher
  • Android 4.0.3 and higher
  • Android 4.4.2+ for Amazon Fire
  • XBox 1
  • Lion 10.7 and higher
  • Windows 7 and higher

You can only stream the Sling Orange package on one device at a time. The Blue package can be streamed on up to three devices simultaneously. If you purchase the combined package with the extra sports channels, be aware that ESPN channels can only be streamed on one device at a time.

Sling TV offers a seven day free trial, which my family used on our Roku stick and our Amazon Fire TV box. We thought it worked well on both devices, and it was definitely a strong contender in our cable cutting options.

If you travel a lot, Sling TV is a great choice, because you can stream it from a Roku stick or Fire TV stick in a hotel room (as long as you have Wi-fi available).

The options for watching sports without cable TV are growing. Here's how you can view your favorite sports.

Playstation Vue

Playstation Vue is a streaming service from Sony. It has an unfortunate name, because you don’t need a Playstation to use the service.

It works much like Sling TV, where you stream your television through the Playstation Vue apps on your favorite devices.

The cost of each package depends on your zip code. Some major metropolitan areas are able to get network TV through Playstation Vue, making the cost for each package $10 more a month than for those of use who are in rural areas. Rural areas are not able to stream network TV.

The sports stations in each package are:

Access Slim ($29.99 a month without network TV; $39.99 with)

  • ESPN
  • ESPN 2
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Fox Sports 2
  • NBC Sports Network
  • TNT

Access Core ($34.99 a month without network TV; $44.99 with)

  • All of the sports channels in Access slim
  • beIN Sports
  • Big Ten Network
  • Various Comcast Sports Network stations (depends on zip code)
  • ESPN News
  • ESPN U
  • The Golf Channel
  • SEC ESPN Network

Access Elite ($44.99 a month without network TV; $54.99 a month with)

  • All of the stations in Access Core
  • ESPN Deportes
  • Fox College Sports
  • Fox Deportes
  • One World Sports

Standalone Sports Channels (can purchase alone or on top of one of the above packages)

Playstation Vue programming seems to be highly zip code dependent, so be sure to double check your own zip code for the channels available in your area.

The options for watching sports without cable TV are growing. Here's how you can view your favorite sports.

You can stream Playstation Vue on the following devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Roku
  • Some iOS devices
  • Some Android devices
  • Some Amazon Fire tablets
  • Chromecast
  • Playstation 3
  • Playstation 4

You may stream on up to five devices at once, but there are some restrictions, so be sure to read the FAQs before you subscribe to Playstation Vue.

Playstation Vue offers a 7 day free trial, which you should take advantage of before purchasing a plan.

Our family decided to go with the Access Core plan. We can’t get network TV in our area, so it’s $34.99 a month, much less than what our local cable station would cost for the same stations.

We have found that Playstation Vue works best on the Amazon Fire Box. It works OK on the Roku stick, but the Roku app is much less intuitive than the Amazon Fire app.

You can’t stream Playstation Vue away from home or you risk having your account suspended. If you do a lot of traveling and want to take your TV with you, Playstation Vue is not a good option.

Individual Sports App Subscriptions

If you’re only into one sport, it may be worthwhile to check out a subscription to the sport you like.

Most of these subscriptions work with streaming apps on your Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV or the like.

Available apps include:

Cost varies from app to app, but if you only follow one sport, the yearly cost of watching on an app will probably be less than a cable subscription.

You’ll notice there aren’t any great options for the NFL or the NBA. If you follow a sport I didn’t list, a quick google search will tell you if there is an app available that will let you watch without cable.

The options for watching sports without cable TV are growing. Here's how you can view your favorite sports.

A Good Antenna and Great Friends (or a Sports Minded Pizza Place)

Your last option for watching sports without cable is probably the least expensive. But it’s also the most limited option.

You could install a good antenna to watch all the games available over the air. And hopefully you have great friends or family members who will let you watch games on cable with them.

Additionally, you could visit a pizza restaurant to watch games on cable, but in the long run you may spend more on pizza than you would on one of these other options.

Overall, the options to watch sports without a cable subscription have gotten much better. Before you commit to streaming, though, you’ll want to check two things.

  1. Is your internet connection good enough to stream sports without any trouble?
  2. Does your internet provider impose streaming limits? If so, will you likely hit those limits if you stream your sports?

If you’ve got a great connection and you won’t hit your streaming limits, the doors of sports without cable are wide open for you!

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10 Comments
  1. Eric

    Have you used the Playstation Vue’s Cloud DVR? If so, could you add a few comments regarding how it works? Does it work on the ESPN channels?

  2. Fehmeen

    If you have a good wifi connection, there really is no need to watch sports via cable TV. I wont name the gadget here but there’s this ‘device’ that connects to your tele and anything you stream on your laptop or phone screen can be broadcast on your television, removing the need for TV. There are tons of online sports streams so the options are plenty. The same goes for movies and songs. It just requires a tiny bit of hassle but it’s all worth it.

  3. Jordan

    I’ve had PS Vue for the last few months and been very happy with it (Using it on Amazon Fire TV). I live in the Orlando area so I use a cheap flat antenna from Amazon to get ABC and CBS games live. It comes with ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, local Fox Sports Network channels, etc. and you also get access to WatchESPN.

    The DVR functionality is a huge reason I went with Vue over Sling. Sportswise, it records everything with an unlimited DVR for 28 days after you set it up, but you might need to record shows after your game just in case it runs long. Vue is making updates all the time though, which has already made the DVR better.

    Don’t forget NBA League Pass and NFLSundayticket.tv. The latter is only available for students and some apartment dwellers, but good options nonetheless.

    Great compliation of info!

  4. Naquan

    I’ve ditched cable and have used Playstation Vue. Best choice I’ve ever made. Low cost, yet I get virtually all the channels and want. Win-Win!

  5. Aaron

    I believe the ability to watch sports is one of the main reasons many folks do not cut the cord – so this is helpful. As a golfer, I love to watch the PGA Tour and the Golf Channel – but don’t think I’d pony up the $40 to go with Sling. That said, if you are in to golf and enjoy watching it on TV, one can subscribe to PGA Tour Live at PGATour.com for $30-40/year. This is what I have opted to do.

  6. Margaret

    We cut the cable several years ago. We get local channel that board cast limited football games. It is not a big deal for us since none of us are extreme football fans. We have smartphones that we can get access to some of the games we really want to see. It is free with our phones.

  7. Ricardo

    Dear Bob:

    Happily I don´t have to cut the cable…….I never had it!
    Sometimes I watch Formula 1 just on my computer.

  8. Wendy

    This is the post I’ve been waiting for -thank you thank you! We literally watch no TV except NASCAR races and 1 cable show. It’s been irking me to death to pay for cable for two things. This is going to save us greatly. Really appreciate it 🙂

  9. Kakie Duren

    I would love to use this but it does not have msany of the stations that i enjopy such as FOX news channel, HGTV, A&E, Discovery Channel, Bravo, We, The Cooking channel and E-New.
    When yall add these to the list i will convert.

  10. Shawn

    Outstanding advice. My wife and I have been ready to ditch our cable but there were concerns about getting the missing the sports news and seeing the games of my favorite team. After reading this article we signed up for the sling 7 day trial and purchased a antenna. We already have subscriptions with NetFlix and Hulu and we have not spent no where near the money that we are paying for our cable subscription. Next week some one is getting a call to come pick up their equipment. Thank you for this awesome advise.