Let’s be honest, there are few feelings that can match the rush of watching live as your favorite team catches a pass in the end zone, snags a game winning run in the bottom of the ninth, or gets a sudden KO in the middle of the octagon. Even seeing these major moments an hour later — or worse, catching wind of them on Twitter — is enough to cause despair.
But how do you watch live sports if you don’t have cable — or even a TV? The good news is that you don’t have to rely on cable anymore in order to follow your favorite sports teams live, and these services prove that.
There are lots of services out there though, making it a little hard to navigate which are the best. For example, the best place to watch the World Cup are sites like Fubo TV and Hulu Live, while something like NFL Game Pass is going to get you all the football you need. With the exception of NFL Game Pass, these offer great options for watching other sports as well and strike a nice balance between price and options.
There are others that work best for one sport but maybe not another, and others still that offer more flexibility. Read on to discover which streaming apps and services will be the best for you.
Another great option out there right now is . Hulu, as a service, built itself by offering on-demand network and cable TV shows the day after they aired but eventually began to develop their own series too, like the Emmy Award winning show The Handmaid’s Tale. While that may not sound conducive to watching sports, that’s where Hulu Live comes in.
By signing up for Hulu Live or upgrading from the base $7.99 service, you get access to live TV through most major networks, plus some local channels as well. That means Fox, NBC, CBS, and their affiliated sports channels are right there at your fingertips on any device. The portability of Hulu cannot be overstated. Not only can you watch it on your smart TV or your laptop, but via the Hulu app as well on any streaming platform.
Hulu organizes channels and networks by genre, so you can find Group B games in the World Cup or jump between MLB games. It also makes finding replays easier as well, so if you missed the World Cup opener where Russia throttled Saudi Arabia, it’s right there at your fingertips. And while it might not get as many local channels as some other offerings, you do get a pretty decent movie selection with it, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I, Tonya, and Arrival.
YouTube built its domination of the internet as an easy-to-use video platform that started in the mid 2000s. As time went on, it became a new entertainment platform with some of the biggest personalities and content providers on the internet. As such, this has helped it grow to the point where it can now offer live programming.
This is where YouTubeTV comes into the equation. Growing out of the original platform and YouTube Red, YouTubeTV offers live coverage of most major networks, including sports affiliates. That means FSN and NBCSN are available so that you don’t miss the biggest games of the week, much like Fubo TV and Hulu Live.
And unlike a cable provider that’s going to lock you into a contract, a site like YouTubeTV lets you cancel at anytime. This means that if you’re really only into basketball, you can tune in during the regular season then cancel your account once the NBA finals conclude. And, much like Fubo and Hulu, you can try YouTube TV free for seven days if you’re undecided.
The downside is that YouTubeTV is a little more limited in its offerings when it comes to local channels, giving services like the aforementioned Hulu and Fubo an edge. That said, it does provide access to all YouTube Red originals, which has slowly been building a large and varied catalogue of original content, its most recent hit being Cobra Kai.
Believe it or not, PlayStation has a valid entry in this category as well. For those unaware, PlayStation is Sony’s successful video game arm that serves as the force behind the PlayStation series of consoles that compete with Nintendo and Microsoft’s Xbox. In recent years, Sony has started using this branch as a means to test new services that it may want to explore. That has resulted in a viable and flexible option to compete in the world of streaming television.
serves as a similar option to the aforementioned services, providing national and local networks without the need for a cable box. (And a robust package for the World Cup, to boot.) Compared to the others, though, this is a little more of a build as you go setup, with four different tiers. These do scale up with more becoming available the more you’re willing to spend, with the $74.99 ultra tier offering access to HBO and Showtime.
As it relates to sports, that flexibility really works in favor. With four options to pick from, you can definitely pick between a basic selection of channels leading up to the full monty along with NFL Red Zone. That does include some local affiliates as well, so the local FSN affiliate would be available. However, the downside is the price for everything. The two cheaper packages do offer the basic channels like ESPN and FS1, but the top tier package is the one most would like shoot for, and that’s before the extra charges for the sports package, which includes Red Zone and doesn’t work with the starting package. That does push to the pricier side of things, though compared to some cable contracts, its still an improvement.
Next, there’s CBS’s own entry in the streaming space with . This is where we start to get into more specific desires when it comes to sports viewing.
Compared to most other networks, CBS offers the best coverage of men’s NCAA basketball than any other network. From the men’s regular season, division championships, and finally March Madness, CBS has established itself as the undisputed king of college basketball. And since you can get the first week free (and ostensibility can cancel before the subscription kick in) you can watch the height of the action without paying a penny.
It’s also worth mentioning CBS’s dedicated coverage of the NFL AFC, which prove to be some of the most competitive and dominant teams in the league.
Unfortunately there isn’t much of a selection beyond NCAA basketball and the NFL AFC. However, CBS has shown a desire to supply original content to the service as well, much like Netflix and Amazon. CBS All Access launched with Star Trek: Discovery, which will be getting a second season, with more exclusive shows on the way.
This one is a little more subjective, depending on how you feel about esports, but stick with us. Twitch, at its core, is a streaming service dedicated to live streaming video games, leading to a new collection of personalities, like Annemunition and Ninja, who are able to rival some of the most successful YouTube personalities when it comes to building a devoted following.
It’s because of this kind of exposure that several leagues, like the Overwatch League, have chosen to use Twitch as their core streaming platform. And given the booming popularity of esports, it only made sense that Twitch would serve a major role. And the great thing here is that there are two options available. If you don’t want to pay for anything, you don’t have to. Just use Twitch to sit back, relax, and see if the Shanghai Dragons can get their first win. If you get sick of commercials though, sign up for (or link your account if you already have one) and you get all the added benefits, like streaming music, a deep movie library, and free two-day shipping on select Amazon products.
NFL Game Pass is one of the best of the dedicated league services out there. We don’t have to tell you that NFL Sunday is one of the biggest modern traditions for sports fans, with friends and families gathering at the house, apartment, bar — wherever — to see how their teams will play that week. provides the most die-hard fans with an avenue to keep up with every game, every week. This also includes replays of games you might have missed and the extensive NFL films archive, like HBO’s Hard Knocks series. And, like most of the services on this list, offers a seven-day free trial to see how you like it.
It does come with a couple of catches, though. The biggest is that you cannot watch the Super Bowl live through Game Pass. This is due to network rotation between CBS, Fox, and NBC to air the Super Bowl. Also, given NFL and network practices, “local” games tend to suffer from blackouts in favor of the out of market games in . That means that, say you live in Los Angeles and want to watch the Rams, you’ll have to go through Fox, CBS, NBC, or ESPN depending on where and when they’re playing. This is a common problem you’ll run into with any league-dedicated streaming service. Even so, the NFL Game Pass is probably the best value of them all.