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How to Watch ESPN Without Cable (As Cheap as Possible)

ESPN is available to watch without cable through a number of different streaming services, but some are much cheaper than others.

The cheapest way to watch ESPN without cable is Sling TV. However, the ESPN channel is available through a variety of live TV streaming services, resulting in a choice for consumers. While some services do cost more than others, the additional features or channels may make the more expensive options more worthwhile for some individuals and households.

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Live TV streaming can be a good alternative to traditional cable and satellite services. However, finding the right service is not always so easy. One of the reasons for this is the disparity between channels. While two services could be priced similarly and offer the same features, they might also drastically differ on channel lineups.

As ESPN is a sports channel, it remains a very popular channel to watch live. Unlike other channels where watching content on demand can actually be a better option than sitting through the ads during a live broadcast, there’s nothing quite like watching sports as it happens, and as the drama unfolds in real time. All of which makes ensuring ESPN is included in a subscription all the more important.

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Cheapest way to watch ESPN without cable

At$35 per month, Sling TV is currently the cheapest way to watch ESPN without cable. Sling TV offers two main plans which differ in a few ways, including the channel lineups. Therefore, consumers will want to make sure they are subscribing to the $35 per month Sling Orange plan, if access to ESPN is important.

At the price, the Sling Orange package is a good deal overall for ESPN fans. Although it comes with fewer channels than the $35 Sling Blue plan, it not only includes ESPN, but also ESPN2 and ESPN3 as well. In fact ESPN3 is largely missing from many other live TV streaming services, making Sling TV an even better option, regardless of the cheaper price.

Besides the channel selection, Sling Orange also comes with up to 50 hours of cloud DVR at no additional cost, offering subscribers the option to record ESPN live events and shows for playback later (or for a second watch). This is in addition to access to a selection of on demand content as well.

Other ways to watch ESPN

Beyond Sling TV, the next cheapest option for watching ESPN without cable is Vidgo. Priced at $55 per month, it is more expensive than Sling TV, but the channel lineup does also include ESPN2, ESPN news and ESPNU as well. However, there’s no ESPN3 available through Vidgo and also no cloud DVR to record content.

Moving up the price ladder and the next cheapest options are fuboTV, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV. All three of these services start at $64.99 per month and all three include ESPN in their base plan. Besides ESPN, fuboTV also provides access to ESPN2, while both Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV include ESPN2, ESPNews and ESPNU. Similar to Vidgo, neither fuboTV, Hulu Live TV nor YouTube TV include ESPN3.

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The final option is AT&T TV. This service does offer more than one plan to choose from and while ESPN is included in the cheapest package, the Entertainment plan still costs $69.99 per month, making it the most expensive option overall. In addition, the Entertainment plan only comes with access to ESPN and ESPN2, with ESPNews and ESPNU only available with the even more expensive plans, starting with Choice at $84.99 per month.

Watching ESPN directly

In addition to watching through a live TV service, ESPN does also offer the option to watch directly through the ESPN website. To be clear, this route still requires an active live TV subscription. However, it can be a good option for watching live, accessing additional content, or streaming on more devices at the same time.

Generally, one of the issues with TV Everywhere support, is that not all channels offer the feature equally to all partner live TV streaming services. Although this is less of a problem with ESPN, considering its TV Everywhere support extends to AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, Vidgo and YouTube TV.

With Sling TV included in that list, those opting to go with the cheapest way to watch ESPN won’t be sacrificing on TV Everywhere support. In fact, due to Sling Orange coming with fewer simultaneous streams than the other services, those subscribers may find the TV Everywhere support even more appealing and useful.

Watching ESPN without cable summary

Sling Orange is currently the cheapest live TV plan that includes ESPN. Priced at $35 per month, it is considerably cheaper than the other live TV streaming services, and also comes with ESPN2 and ESPN3 as well. Furthermore, through TV Everywhere support, Sling TV subscribers can take advantage of an addition way to stream ESPN live sports and on demand content.

Besides Sling TV, Vidgo also provides access to ESPN for $55 per month, while fuboTV, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV include ESPN in their $65 per month subscriptions. At $69.99, AT&T TV’s Entertainment plan is another option for streaming ESPN without cable, although it is the most expensive overall.

Read more: How to Watch FX Without Cable (As Cheap as Possible)

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By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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