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How to stream ESPN without cable in 2023

ESPN streaming options
fuboTV is our recommended service for watching ESPN. Best Provider
Free trial
ESPN does have their own mobile app.
ESPN app

There are a handful of ways to watch ESPN without cable or satellite TV. Some of the more popular options include: DIRECTV Stream, Hulu with Live TV and Fubo TV. If you're a sports/soccer fan, we recommend FuboTV first -- they specialize in all the major sports, including sports channels like ESPN. With regard to free options, you currently can only catch ESPN for free during a trial period. ESPN's mobile app is about as good as it gets. It has ALL the content found on the regular channels, wrapped in a compact and easy-to-use format.

Note: For all sections below, a checkmark A checkmark below means that it's our favorite. denotes our recommendation for that particular plan or category.

Streaming services that include ESPN

3 pay providers and a complementary ESPN+

If you're a big time sports junky or just a casual fan, ESPN is a must-have. From live coverage of the NFL, MLB and NBA to top-notch reporting, ESPN delivers a ton of value. Some of their more popular shows include: SportsCenter, Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, SportsCenter, etc.

In addition to the regular ESPN app, ESPN also offers a separate paid ESPN+ app, which lets you stream premium live content for $9.99/mo. This is NOT the same content as that on their primary channels (ESPN, ESPN 2, etc). It's more specialized live events like MMA, little league WS, poker, etc. Overall, a solid complement to the primary channels and can also be packaged with Hulu and Disney for $14.99/mo.

Back to the regular ESPN channels, here's how best to stream it...

ESPN on FuboTV - our recommended service

Streaming ESPN with FuboTV
  • Channels: 259
  • Best price: $24.99
  • 7-day free trial
fuboTV Program Guide Visit fuboTV

The biggest difference with FuboTV and the rest of the providers on this page is their slant on sports. They came on the scene as a soccer (futbol) hub and, now with a more complete programming lineup, they still have more sports content than just about any other streaming service.

With regard to ESPN, like the other providers on this page, they too have ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN News and ESPNU. However, they also have ESPN Deportes (the Spanish language version of ESPN). So, if you want to catch more Soccer or MLB/NBA, etc in Spanish, it's a cool channel to have.

Price /mo
Free Trial
$54.99 $74.99
$20 off for 2 months
7 days
$64.99 $84.99
$20 off for 2 months
7 days


  • Best overall sports coverage
  • 1,000 hours of DVR storage
  • Unlimited Screens
  • Don't raise rates that often


  • Might pay a little more for sports coverage
Live TVStreaming fuboTVfuboTV

Price-wise, Fubo is competitive to DIRECTV Stream and Hulu, so folks looking for ESPN will get plenty of overall value. MLB fans also get MLB Network in all their plans. If you have a large household, Fubo allows for unlimited, simultaneous connections, so that's a big plus for some. Overall, their 7-day free trial is a great way to try out their 120+ channels (found in their smallest plan, Pro).


Streaming ESPN with DIRECTV Stream
  • Channels: 140
  • Best price: $54.99
  • 5-day free trial
DIRECTV Stream Screenshot Visit DIRECTV Stream

DIRECTV Stream is a lightweight, no installation version of their satellite option. Both DIRECTV Stream and Satellite carry ESPN in all their plans. With respect to Stream, the lowest-priced plan that includes it is Entertainment ($69.99/mo).

ESPN 2 is also included in all the DIRECTV Stream plans. ESPN News and ESPNU, however, are only available in the Choice plan and above (i.e., NOT included in the Entertainment package).

Price /mo
Free Trial
$54.99 $79.99
  • Save $50 over 2 mths
  • Free Sports Pack
5 days
$83.99 $108.99
  • Save $50 over 2 mths
  • Free Sports Pack
5 days


  • Full suite of local channels
  • Unlimited cloud DVR storage
  • Simultaneous connections: 3
  • Fast-forward through commercials
  • Multiple recordings at a time


  • Extra taxes on top of prices above
Live TVStreaming DIRECTV StreamDTV Stream

Of all the ESPN providers on this page, DIRECTV Stream has the most complete lineup (similar to regular cable)... but at a slightly higher cost. However, for that price, you also get plenty of more live channels than other providers, so the value is definitely there. Overall, if you're fine with paying a bit more, DIRECTV Stream is our recommended way to watch the ESPN family of channels.

ESPN on Hulu with Live TV

Hulu Live with ESPN

ESPN and Hulu are in the same family, all owned by Disney/NBCUniversal. Savings-wise, that means if you bundle a combination of their services you'll come out well ahead. For example, bundling Hulu Live, Disney+ and ESPN+ saves you over 50%.

As far as packages go, ESPN is only found in Hulu with live TV (NOT available in the regular on-demand Hulu). There's only one Hulu with live TV plan and it also carries the rest of the ESPN channels: ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPNU and ESPN College Extra. At $76.99/mo (ad supported), it's the identical price as DIRECTV Stream and carries the bulk of the same channels as well.

Price /mo
Free Trial
Hulu with Live TV (ad-supported)
Free Disney+ & ESPN+
Hulu with Live TV (no ads)
Free Disney+ & ESPN+


  • Solid mix of 75 high-demand channels
  • Simultaneous connections: 2
  • Hulu cloud DVR: 50 hrs, no extra cost
  • Access to Hulu on-demand library
  • Disney+ and ESPN+ included free


  • Have to pay more for ad-free version
Live TVStream Hulu LiveHulu Live

Since Hulu live and DIRECTV Stream are exactly the same price, you may be wondering which to choose. With regard to ESPN, they have the same lineup PLUS ESPN College Extra. The rest of the live channels are somewhat similar, so, if you're not a college sports fan, it may come down to the on-demand options. Hulu's on demand library hosts a ton classics from NBC (and, more recently, FX). Examples include I Love Lucy, The Office, Frasier, Cheers, Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development, etc, etc. Toss in the bonuses, we give the slight edge to Hulu Live.

Popular shows on ESPN

ESPN's Pardon the Interruption

ESPN has plenty of original programming and it generally fits into the following categories: live games, news and talk. Their flagship program is, of course, SportsCenter -- it's still the definitive source for breaking news and analysis. Other classic shows still on the air include: Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, Monday Night Countdown, College GameDay, Baseball Tonight and NFL Primetime.

In particular, Pardon the Interruption was one of the first fast-paced sports talk and humor shows to really gain traction on cable. Launched in 2001, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon were the perfect quick-witted duo to discuss (and debate) the prior sporting day. Over 20 years later, they're still getting it done every single day, dishing a non-mainstream perspective to a whole new generation.

Since ESPN hit the airwaves in 1990, plenty of original, popular shows have now gracefully retired. Some of those include: Jim Rome is Burning, Mike & Mike, Outside the Lines, Cold Pizza, Talk2, etc. From time-to-time, you can still catch archived versions of important episodes on the sister channels... bummer ESPN Classic isn't around any longer!

Streaming services with and without ESPN

As you'd expect, ESPN is found on just about all live streaming providers. If you're going to offer live TV, sports fans, whether fringe or hardcore, at the very minimum expect ESPN. ESPN's sister channels (ESPN 2, ESPN News, ESPNU, etc.) are nice to have as well, but without ESPN, a lot of live TV plans just aren't attractive enough to the average subscriber. So, good news is all the major OTT providers with live TV include ESPN in their base plans: Hulu, fubo, DTV Stream, etc. ESPN doesn't usually get bundled with the smaller pay providers, like Philo (licensing fees are too expensive). Here's the full list:

ESPN streaming options
Stream Hulu LiveHulu Live
Streaming DIRECTV StreamDTV Stream
Streaming fuboTVfuboTV
Streaming Sling TVSling TV
Streaming YouTube TVYouTube TV
Streaming PhiloPhilo
Streaming Peacock TVPeacock TV
Streaming Paramount+Paramount+

Similar channels to ESPN

ESPN has been around so long (since 1979) that all other sports channels compare themselves to it. Of course, ESPN now has a ton of sister channels that have carved out their own niche and following. Instead of profiling those channels, below, we'll cover 3rd party channels that have a programming overlap with ESPN (whether they're full-time sports or not).

  • Fox Sports - An off-shoot of big papa Fox, Fox Sports and FS2 are home to a variety of exclusive sporting events: MLB, NCAA football, motor sports, boxing, PBA, etc. In particular, FS is a big part of their overall NCAA football coverage (Big East, Pac-12, Big Ten, Mountain West and Big 12).
  • MLB Network - one of the first full-time sports channel from the big 3, MLB Network made the mold for round-the-clock news and analysis. From former players to fantasy experts, it's a must-have for all big-time MLB fans.
  • Telemundo - if major soccer events is your thing, Telemundo has the rights to all the big tournaments, including the World Cup. It also covers smaller regional soccer tourneys, year-round.
  • Bally Sports - home to a bunch of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs), it delivers local MLB and NBA games all across the country. From Arizona and Socal to Florida and the Great Lakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do these streaming services give me access to the ESPN app?

Yes. In the ESPN app, find the provider and login. It'll unlock all the content found in all the ESPN channels you have access to. Note that this is different from the ESPN+ (separate subscription also accessible via the ESPN app).

Can I get access to ESPN3?

Via streaming, there aren't many ways to get ESPN3. It's mostly a spillover channel, though, that shows live programming when the primary channels are busy or backed up with games in overtime.

What can I watch on ESPN College Extra?

Available via Hulu with Live TV, ESPN College Extra mostly features college basketball and football. They also show a solid amount of baseball and softball, with plenty of live and recorded matches throughout the week.

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