For those who don’t speak sports, a blackout happens when a local game does not sell out. In those cases, the game does not air live on local TV and is blocked from streaming in the local market. Even when a local game does sell out, locals may not be able to watch it on a streaming service. For example, NBA League Pass won’t allow you access to your local team’s game or any nationally televised games.
Have you cut the cord on cable TV, but still want to watch pro sports live? Rest assured, you have plenty of options for streaming your favorite sports online. Games are available to watch on nearly any device you own. The trick figuring out how to watch live sports for free is subscribing to the best combination of streaming services and free viewing options for your favorite teams.
No matter which sport is your favorite, you don’t need cable to root, root, root for the home team from your home. Here’s our guide showing you how to watch sports without cable and the best sports streaming services, with options for each major U.S. sports league.
Here’s how you can stream sports without a cable subscription.
The fine print: Blackout rules and regional networks
Before diving into the options and pricing, be aware of each league’s blackout rules, in addition to rules about games airing on national networks.
Regional sports networks pose another challenge. Make sure your team’s games will be available on whatever streaming service you choose. The former Fox Sports regional networks (now known as Bally Sports) have been dropped by many of the streaming services listed below.
If you want to watch a specific team’s full season, head over to the official team website for viewing options.
If you’re a well-rounded sports fan and want to watch live sports from all the major leagues, you’ll need an option that offers the broadest coverage. Subscribing to multiple individual-sport streaming services adds up quickly, and you could wind up spending more than cable would have cost in the first place. Even so, many of the options that pair sports networks with other TV channels can get expensive fast.
$10 for your first month of Sling TV
YouTube TV. YouTube TV is essentially an online cable subscription from Google. It includes 85+ channels including several major sports channels for streaming live sports and most anything else you could watch on live TV. YouTube TV includes an online DVR and doesn’t require a cable box. It works on your computer, smartphone, or many smart TV apps and devices.
For sports, you’ll want to click on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, NFL Network, NBC Sports, MLB Network, Golf Channel, NBA TV, NBCSN, SEC ESPN Network, and other channel options. You can pay to add on MLB.TV, the NBA League Pass, and YouTube TV Sports Plus (includes seven more sports channels).
All you need is a Google account to sign up, which you already have if you use Gmail. It’s $64.99 per month after a three-month introductory rate of $54.99 per month. You can start with a two-week trial for free as of this writing.
fuboTV. Use any connected device to stream fuboTV, which offers a collection of sports and entertainment channels with add-on options. You can watch leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, and more. There are 50 channels in its list of sports channels in my area in Southern California (out of 224 channels total). However, some regional restrictions may apply. For example, you may not be able to get regional Bally Sports channels (formerly Fox Sports Network).