“Cutting the cord” (canceling a cable or satellite subscription) in lieu of streaming videos via broadband or cell phone hotspot) is a big deal these days and shirking expensive sports and cable packages can save you hundreds of dollars a month. Plus, streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube pump out original content regularly at a mind-bending pace.
But rarely will you catch College GameDay on YouTube (except maybe during bowl season), and, you are not likely to see Monday Football on Netflix next to the Game of Thrones series any time soon. So, if and when you decide to finally cut that cable, you are going to have to get your sports fix somehow.
Look. Cable providers want you to stick with them, so they will offer fancy bundles, phone and internet, and all-inclusive sports packages, blah, blah, blah. But the reality is that most major television stations that carry the right to cover the sports, streaming that data anyway.
How so I Watch Live Sports? Where do I Start?
Want to see FIFA World Cup matches? Well, you don’t need the ESPN channel. Just catch them online on Fox Sports. And you don’t necessarily have to hunt and peck the television stations, either - ESPN carries this, NBC carries that, and CBS has got this.
While some stations, will, admittedly, hold out for cable deals and remain hard to find online, many television stations have been offering streaming services for a while now, it might just take a little digging to find them.
And you don’t have to dig too deep to learn about the following services; DirecTV Now, Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue all carry an impressive amount of sports programming.
But, more than that, The NFL official online page even lists all of the different ways you can watch live sports football games, including streaming options for laptops and mobile devices, as well as radio broadcasts. Set-top boxes, tuners, and DVRs all offer sports streaming options and many even offer free trial periods so that you can sample their streams for weeks to a month.
Sure, you are going to get sweet packages, 24/7 seamless sports programming, and color commentary up the wahoo with cable sports subscriptions, but you can find just as much actual sports action out there if you are just will to look a little. Plus, once you mark your spots, and set your subscription, getting your sports fix will be as easy as sitting back in your recliner.
Best Live Sports Streaming Value
To be fair, though, there are a few all-inclusive streaming providers that allow you to watch live sports through all-access packages, and the first on that list has got to be FuboTV. The full package on FuboTV costs $$$ per month and gets you access to CSN, USA, NBA TV, FS1 & 2, NBCSN, beIN Sports (1-10), Big Ten Network (BTN), Golf Channel the Olympic Channel, Fox Soccer Plus, Eleven Sports, and more. And, to round it all out, you’ll get popular channels like TNT, TBS, A&E, HG-TV, the History Channel, The Weather Channel, and a few more, all streamable, all the time.
There is also a neat break down app on the website that compares all games and matches and how you can view them, broken down by sport. You can even record programs using their Cloud DVR so why not try it for free for a week with this 1-week free trial.
Next up on our list of all-in-one steaming services is SlingTV. At Sling, you can effectively watch ESPN without cable and watch FS1 and FS2 online, too. For $$/month you can get one of two sets of channels, and, for $$, you’ll get access to both, as well as a host of other popular channels to round out your subscription.
Finally, Hulu Live TV, strange as it may seem, is actually a pretty groovy place to get your game day face on as the famous ABC and NBC stand out now provide access to ESPN, ESPN-U, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, FS1 & 2, and CBS Sports Network in a package called Live TV. Plus, they cover regional sports, and they do it all for under $$/ month. You can see what the hype is all about by trying their 1-week free trial today.
Watching Sports Online: Cutting Out the Fat
Now, we like convenience as much as the next blog, but sometimes you just have to cut out the fat and get straight to the watching of live sports. Packages are great and all, but, isn’t that why you cut the cord in the first place… to stop paying for channels you do not watch?
Well, thanks to our friends at groundedreasion.com, we are proud to make specific recommendations on viewing based directly on the sport.
If you are a baseball buff and simply can live without watching America’s Favorite Pasttime, the n MLB.tv may be for you. Get streaming access to all games in your area for the season for about $$ for the year or follow your favorite team for the year for only $$. MLB.tv is available online and on many devices, including the AppleTV, Roku, and TiVo.
Last year, the NFL was infamous for their new concussion protocols, so, if you just can’t stand to be away from any of the action this year, hook yourself up with one of the many all-inclusive packages mentioned above, check out CBS All Access, FS1, or, better yet, sign up for your NFL Game Pass. You’ll get access to all the games for the year for only $$. Plus, the app is already available on the AppleTV, the Roku, and the Xbox One.
Of, course you could go old school instead and break out the old TV tuner and antenna and watch the games for free, but that wouldn’t be streaming would it? However, it may be locked into what you have to do to get NBA games in your area as well. And, according to one site, you are further going to need a combination of streaming content from ABC, TNT, ESPN, and NBA.tv to really the max viewing out of the NBA season. Your best bet to do all of that would be subscriptions to FuboTV, SlingTV, and DirectTV Now.
Of course, you can just skip all of that fancy footwork and go with the NBA League Pass Premium for $$$ available on AppleTV, AndroidTV, and Roku. Luckily, catching the college sports season is not as difficult or expensive, though you will have to dust off your TV antenna and tuner. Also, since many college games are carried exclusively by CBS, you may want to sign up for CBS Sports, starting at $$/month for the games outside of local coverage.
TV Tuner Wrap-up
Other popular sports not covered here that are available online include NASCAR, WWE, MLS soccer, NHL, Golf, and UFC. These and more - even cricket and rugby - are available from the cordless universe if you know where to look.
Though it may not seem like the switchover is worth it, especially if you need to invest in a new TV tuner, just remember that a tuner is a one-time investment that can get you months of free television streaming to watch live sports as much as you want in the long run.
Plus, local channels like CBS, ABC, and NBC often carry lots of sports, and they are all free to watch via the airwaves. Moreover, if you add on some streaming services, even at $$ or $$/month, it still beats a $$$/month cable bill. Moreover, you have the benefit of pulling down golf and NASCAR programming too.
And, finally, if you are still worried about those nagging latency issues when you watch live sports, the kind that will have streamers as much as 15 to 30 minutes behind the real action, don’t worry; the streaming community is working on that, too. According to one source, Limelight is a company that is using open-source WebRTC technology to deliver reliable, broadcast-quality UDP data transfer protocols and deliver real-time video streaming over the UDP data pipes.
So, think about cutting the cord today and the cable companies won’t be the only ones with bundles after the bundle you will save without them.