How to stream ESPN without cable in 2022

ESPN streaming options
KEY FACTS
Owned by: Disney Corp.
ESPN+ option? Yes
Dedicated app/website? Yes

There are a handful of ways to watch ESPN without cable or satellite TV. Some of the more popular ways to stream ESPN include: DIRECTV Stream, Hulu with Live TV and Fubo TV. If you're a sports/soccer fan, we recommend FuboTV -- they specialize in all the major sports, including sports/news channels like ESPN. With regard to free options, you currently can't watch ESPN without a subscription, other than during free trials. As far as apps go, 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 denotes our recommendation for that particular plan, feature 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 seperate 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, it's 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 DIRECTV Stream

DIRECTV Stream with ESPN

DIRECTV Stream is a lightweight, no installation version of their satellite option. Both DIRECTV Stream and DIRECTV Satellite carry ESPN in all their plans. With respect to DIRECTV 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 availabe in the Choice plan and above (i.e., NOT included in the Entertainment package).

Plan
Channels
Price
Bonus
Entertainment
65
$69.99 /mo
Unlimited DVR storage (online only)
Choice
90
$84.99 /mo
Save $30 over first 3 months

Features

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

Cons

  • Extra taxes on top of prices above

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 recommnded 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 $69.99/mo (ad supported), it's the identical price as DIRECTV Stream and carries the bulk of the same channels as well.

Plan
Channels
Price
Bonus
Hulu with Live TV (ad-supported)
75
$69.99/mo
Free Disney+ & ESPN+
Hulu with Live TV (no ads)
75
$75.99/mo
Free Disney+ & ESPN+

Features

  • 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

Cons

  • Have to pay more for ad-free version

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 7-day free trial, we give the slight edge to Hulu Live.

ESPN on FuboTV

FuboTV with ESPN

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.

Plan
Channels
Price
Bonus
Pro
121
$69.99/mo
7-day free trial
Elite
177
$79.99/mo
7-day free trial

Features

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

Cons

  • Might pay a little more for sports coverage

Price-wise, Fubo is competitive to DIRECTV Stream and Hulu, so folks looking for ESPN will get plenty of overall value. 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).

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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