The definitive guide to live sports streaming
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The definitive guide to live sports streaming

Wondering about streaming sports live without cable? Our guide covers the best cord-cutting options for watching sports after you cut the cord.

Live sports streaming across your devices has never been easier

These days, more and more viewers are cutting the cord and relying on different streaming services to get their viewing fix. If there was one segment of viewers the cable companies could rely on though, it was sports fans. For one thing, streaming sports wasn’t nearly as easy as tracking down an episode of Friends. Also, streams weren't always reliable. As a result, cable and network TV channels were given a stay of execution by the most hardcore aficionados.

As more and more online services have offered live sports streaming as an option, however, it looks like cable’s sports dominance is on its way out. There’s the added convenience that you can watch your team on any device, even while on the go. At home, with crazy-fast gigabit fiber Internet from Ting, you can be sure that your HD streams won't fail you right before the big play. From MLB to March Madness, you'll be able to see it all. “But Ting, surely there isn’t any way to see every single game from every sport live?” you might ask dubiously. Well, we can’t assure you that every game will be at your fingertips as it happens, but if you follow these suggestions, it’ll be pretty darn close. 

How to watch sports online live

The definitive guide to live sports streaming - one football player tackles another.
Photo by Wade Austin Ellis

Something that sets sports fans apart from the average viewer is the importance of watching games live. Most sitcoms are just fine to watch on-demand the next day or even weeks later. With sports, there’s something magical about seeing the drama unfold in real-time. Also, you won’t have to worry about that social media post or jerk friend spilling the beans on the final score before you can watch the rebroadcast game. That’s why our focus is going to be on ways to watch live sports. Your new best friends in this realm are Over The Top (OTT) streaming services that offer content from multiple channels (and yes, nearly all of them offer the holy grail of ESPN streaming). Think Netflix, but with entire channels instead of single shows. For those of us who aren’t interested in battling pop-up ads, broken links and low-quality streams/unexpected dropouts, OTTs provide reliable, high-quality streaming. Here are some of the absolute best!

The best sports streaming services

Sling TV

Live sports streaming without cable

Sling TV launched the same year as Fubo, but gained popularity as an all-encompassing service. While it may not have the variety of regional sports channels that Fubo boasts, its overall selection guarantees you’ll have access to a ton of streaming sports content. Sling’s enormous 100 hours of cloud DVR storage is a nice touch as well when you need to record a few days' worth of games to watch on the weekend. Pick the Orange or Blue package that has the channels you want for $30, or get both for $45.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV let's you watch live sports without cable

The often-misunderstood YouTube TV isn’t just a pumped-up version of the popular website. It’s a true streaming media service like the ones above. At $65 per month, it's more expensive with a cost comparable to cable. However, you get a heck of a lot including 85+ channels and unlimited cloud-based DVR storage. NFL ,NBA and MLB league channels are included, as is a huge list of sports shows. If it's in your budget and you're a firm believer in "more is more," YouTube TV may be the one for you.

Fubo TV

Live sports streaming on Fubo TV

When Fubo TV launched in 2015 as a soccer-only streaming service, Stateside fans of "the beautiful game" rejoiced. While it has since expanded to include a wide range of programming, without a doubt, it continues to be a sports-first service. With its incredible selection, a long list of supported devices and features like 4K support, Fubo is one of our favorites. There are even eight live channels including the Fight Network and their own sports channel. With 30 hours of DVR storage, you can record games and shows to watch later at your convenience. Since we can never get everything we want (thanks for nothin’, universe) here’s the bummer—there are no ESPN channels. Still, if you’re looking for a wide range of sports including international sports, Fubo is tough to beat. At $15.99, it's a good deal as well.

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV = Live sports streaming without cable

Hulu entered the live TV fray with Hulu + Live TV (we would have loved to be a fly on the wall at the marketing meeting that birthed that imaginative title). Priced identically to YouTube TV, you'll get numerous ESPN offerings, CBS, NBC and Fox's sports channels, and a few more. Of course, then there are the local and regional channels that show different games.

Other live sports streaming options

UFC Fight Pass

Live sports streaming - UFC Fight Pass - fighters fighting. A man kicks another fighter.

UFC Fight Pass is unique amongst single-promotion or league streaming services. Due to owning a number of other promotions and the brand’s sheer popularity, you’ll be able to see MMA fights from around the world even when UFC is dormant. In addition, live boxing, kickboxing, submission grappling and other combat sports are all on the roster. Thanks to an impressive list of original programming that keeps growing, you won't be bored between events. Of course, its bread and butter remain exclusive live UFC events and replays. If you love the world’s fastest-growing sport, UFC Fight Pass is a must-have.

CBS All Access

CBS - All Access logo for live streaming sports.

CBS All Access won’t let you see all the games in any pro league—just like regular CBS, they’ll only stream games in your market. Where the service shines is its coverage of college sports. With CBS All Access, you’ll get your fill of NCAA football, March Madness and a bunch more.

If you just can’t see it live

As much as we wish we could see every game live, work/school/life/Netflix binges can get in the way. Luckily, there are a few ways to get your peepers glued to the action as quickly as after the final whistle. League-specific services, like NBA League Pass, and NFL Game Pass, all offer on-demand streaming sports. They also have different packages to suit your level of fandom. If you can stay off social media during your commute home (those kitten posts will still be there after, we promise), you can enjoy that afternoon game after dinner as if it was just starting. Don't forget though, some of the larger streaming services covered earlier include league-specific options.

Live sports without cable is at your fingertips

As you can see, there’s never been a better time to watch live sports without having to rely on cable TV. If you’re savvy with your choice of live sports streaming providers, you can watch every game your action-loving heart desires. Schedule conflict between two games? No problem, just DVR one and pull it from the cloud afterward! And when you choose crazy fast fiber Internet from Ting Internet, you can count on reliable, crystal-clear UHD streams. No need to thank us, cord-cutters—just don’t tell your significant other we’re the reason you were able to watch live sports all weekend and we’ll call it even.

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