2021 Youth World Weightlifting Championships live stream online free Cord cutters no longer have to miss out on live sports, but streaming your favorite teams and games is not always smooth sailing.
The right combination of channels and the right blend of live games, on-demand content, and sports-themed TV shows can be elusive. Without a plan, it can quickly add up to more than the cost of cable TV. Here’s what you need to know about streaming sports in 2021.
So, what’s the best live TV streaming service for sports? That depends on which sports you want to stream. All sports find their way onto your TV screen through a maze of different channels, networks, and local affiliates. Some subscribers have to cobble together a more complicated jigsaw puzzle of streaming services than others.
Compared to the other three major sports in North America, NFL fans are on easy street. Football is the only major sport where every game airs on ESPN or a local broadcast affiliate of a national network like Fox, NBC, or CBS, although Amazon Prime now has a contract for Thursday Night Football.
That means that football fans can watch every single one of their team’s weekly games without dealing with regional sports networks (RSNs)—as long as their team is the home team, that is. Local network affiliates air local games, so NFL fans with out-of-market allegiances might be better off with a league package like NFL Game Pass. Access to national networks becomes especially important during the playoffs, not just for football, but for all sports.
Other sports, like NASCAR and PGA Tour golf, also broadcast on national channels, as do some NHL, MLB, and NBA games. Fans of all three of those major sports, however, will have to catch many of their games on regional sports networks. Different streaming services offer different RSNs, and the ones you’ll need vary by location. If your seemingly flawless sports-streaming strategy runs into roadblocks, it will likely be at the RSN level. Run your zip code through any streaming service you’re considering to see if it delivers the local channels you need before you buy.
Before you go shopping for a streaming service to catch all your favorite sports, consider first that you might not have to. If you’re only concerned with a single league—or even better just a single team —your best best might be one of the dedicated streaming services that the major sports leagues all offer, including NHL.TV, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, and NFL Sunday Ticket.
If you only care about your favorite team, you can save money by signing up only for that franchise’s games. Be warned that most of these services come with frustrating blackouts and other restrictions that can make it tough to watch live games. In a lot of cases, you’ll only be able to watch certain games after the live broadcast has ended.
Anyone looking for a viable all-around alternative to cable TV in general, but with a focus on sports, should keep in mind the importance of the major national networks. Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS are critical both to recurring major sports like football and baseball, as well as to special events like the Olympics and the Kentucky Derby.
If you are cutting the cord, the networks have value beyond sports, even if you don’t watch a lot of network TV. Without them, you’re cut off from special annual events like the Oscars, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and New Year’s Eve coverage in Times Square.
Options like Hulu and YouTube TV can replace both cable TV and non-live streaming services like Netflix at the same time—all while covering your sports needs. That’s because they offer many of the most popular live TV and live sports channels, as well as deep on-demand libraries and highly rated original programming. They also come at a price that’s low enough to help you look past the drawbacks that are inherent to all streaming services—and there are plenty.
Stacker took a look at the top streaming services for sports. See how they compare, what they cost, what they offer, what they don’t, where they shine, and what to watch out for.
FuboTV delivers an industry-leading selection of channels, leagues, and events. Hundreds of channels are available, including dozens dedicated solely or mostly to sports. It stands out as the top choice for international sports like soccer, including LaLiga, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, MLS, Ligue 1, and Liga MX. There are also a lot of options for niche sports like MMA, and all kinds of specialty offerings like fishing and outdoors, as well as a big variety of Spanish-language sports and 4K options.
No matter the streaming service, fans are going to face some tough choices about which sports content they absolutely can’t live without. A subscription to FuboTV opens doors to live sports all over the country and the world, but the tradeoff is that you lose the Turner family of channels—most importantly TBS and TNT.
That’s a gaping hole for fans of college basketball, golf, the NBA, the MLB, and wrestling. On the flip side, when FuboTV announced its break with Turner, it also announced that it was adding ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. The omission of the ESPN suite of channels had long been a dealbreaker for many.
In the end, there are cheaper services out there, but none with so many channels—and FuboTV is generous with cloud DVR storage, too.
Like every streaming service except for AT&T TV, Fubo recently dropped the Fox RSN family of regional channels, which is a tough pill to swallow for sports fans of all stripes across the country.
FuboTV’s impressive list of sports channels includes: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, ACCN, Bein Sports, Bein Sports Extra, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN HD Deportes, ESPN News, ESPN SEC Channel, ESPN U, Fight Network, Fox Deprtes, Fox Soccer Plus, FS1, FS2, Fubo Sports Network, Game, Ginx Sports, Golf TV English, Golf TV Spanish, Insight TV, LAFC, MAVTV, MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, NBA TV, NBC Golf, NBC Sports, NBCSN, NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, NHL Network, NXT LVL Sports, Outdoor Channel, Outdoor TV, Olympics Channel, Universo, Pac 12 Networks, SEC ESPN Network, Sports Washington, SNY, Sportsman Channel, Stadium, Tennis Channel, TUDN, TV5Monde, TVG, TVG2, TyC Sports, UniMas, World Fishing Network, Zona Futbol.
Hulu does not have as many live channels as FuboTV that are dedicated solely to sports. Few streaming services do. But for anyone who is looking to replace cable and Netflix with one single, reasonably priced live TV subscription, Hulu might just be the best all-in-one package on the market. For sports fans who are considering becoming cord cutters, Hulu delivers top-shelf original programming that can compete with HBO and Netflix, a full channel lineup for live TV, a massive and high-quality on-demand library, and, of course, plenty of sports.
You can bundle Hulu+ Live TV, Disney+, and ESPN+ for $72.99 per month. You can also bundle standard Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $13.99 a month.
Hulu lets you customize your profile based on your favorite sports, leagues, and teams. Hulu will automatically record games and other content involving your teams while making recommendations based on your preferred leagues and sports. It also offers handy features like game-time reminders.
Hulu recently followed the non-AT&T crowd by dropping the Fox RSNs. That makes it harder to stream live sports for fans in markets all over the country across all major domestic pro sports and some college sports, too.
Regional sports are available through local channels in many cities, and users also get all major networks—CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox—as well as TNT, TBS, ACCN, BTN, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN 2, College Extra, ESPN U, FS1, Golf, and NBCS.
SlingTV is the most affordable choice by far with packages topping out at just $65. Sports fans can get by with just Sling Orange, which Sling TV promotes as being geared more toward sports. But the truth is, it’s a tough call. With Orange alone, you lose NBC, NBCSN, and the NFL Network. If you go with Blue and ditch Orange, on the other hand, you’ll lose all the ESPN channels.
Get your first month for just $10—that’s $25 off—plus free 200-hour DVR. You can also get a free AirTV Mini—a $79.99 value—when you prepay for two months of Sling TV.