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With movies and TV shows so readily available to stream, it has been tough for traditional pay TV companies to make the case for live TV.
But there is at least one area where live TV still dominates: sports. And that has left many cord cutters or would-be cord cutters asking how to watch sports without cable. In some ways, sports are cable's best argument.
For that, we can thank a few different movements, including the fast-expanding skinny bundle arms race, the resurgence of free over-the-air TV, and the direct-to-consumer streaming services put out by sports leagues themselves.
Watching sports without cable is easier than ever before, but there are a lot of options, so let us walk you through it!
This is our complete guide on how to watch sports without cable. The list starts with skinny bundles, which means I should probably explain what those are. No single innovation has been bigger for cord cutting sports fans than the rise of the skinny bundle. A couple of years ago, when we first asked how to watch ESPN without cable , the answer was pretty short: you can't.
Now, viewers have tons of answers to this question and to the question of how to watch sports without cable. We have skinny bundles to thank for that. Skinny bundles offer slimmed-down packages of cable networks. After skinny bundles we'll cover over-the-air TV before wrapping up the section.
But we won't be done — stay tuned for the next section after that, in which we'll drill down into guides for individual sports and sports leagues. It's in that section that we'll finally discuss one more major way to watch sports without cable: league streaming packages.
More on those later. First up: general solutions for watching sports without cable, starting with those aforementioned skinny bundles!
Unfortunately, there's one rather glaring omission: ESPN is missing from the service. Still, this is a skinny bundle marketed squarely at sports fans, and it's a great pick for soccer fans in particular.
Check out our full review of fuboTV to learn more, or sign up for the service's free trial offer and start testing it out for yourself. Sling TV is also noteworthy for its somewhat a la carte business model, which starts you off with a base package and then invites you a build a more customized bundle with add-on packages.
This allows for the creation of sports centric bundles that trim the fat in order to remain cost-effective. YouTube TV Google has a skinny bundle of its very own. It's called YouTube TV, and it's great way to watch live sports without cable. You can test YouTube TV out for free by clicking on the link below and signing up for the service's free trial offer.
Fans of college basketball, college football, the NBA, the NHL, MLB, and soccer will find at least some games to watch as well, particularly big games and championship matches. For that, you'll get live sports, talk and analysis shows, and a solid on-demand library that includes everything from 30 for 30 documentaries to replays of recent and classic sports games, matches, and races.
But if there's one sport or league in particular that you're dying to watch without cable, then you may appreciate our next section, which features links to our sport- and league-specific guides, plus information about a vital tool for sports-loving cord cutters: the league streaming service.
What are the league streaming services? Well, they're another genre of live OTT service. Unlike skinny bundles, they're event-focused rather than channel focused: the streams are live during the games, and that's it. That means home games for your local team are usually blacked out, as are national broadcasts.
So read on for more on how to watch sports without cable, including information about specific sports and league streaming services. NBA League Pass, the league's streaming service, is also worth checking out. We haven't reviewed it here yet, but it seems to be keeping fans happy following a rough patch a few years ago.
Though the NCAA doesn't have a subscription streaming service, the channels that college football and basketball games are on can be obtained via skinny bundles like the ones we listed above.
Plus, some of the biggest college action can be found on broadcast over-the-air networks.
Check out our guides for more information. TV variety, but there are still a lot of ways to watch the NFL without cable. The Super Bowl is always on a broadcast channel, too. NHL Hockey The hard-hitting action of the NHL is best secured via a skinny bundle, because skinny bundles have the regional sports networks and national channels that will air your local games and the league's marquee match-ups.
Super-fans will also want to check out NHL. TV NHL. It has a nice if somewhat incomplete classic game archive and works pretty much exactly how you'd expect it to.
Check out NHL. TV MLB Baseball Skinny bundles are a valuable option for fans of MLB, because many of them offer access to the regional sports networks that will cover you local games.
OTA is key, too, because World Series games and other playoff games are often on broadcast television. For everything else, you'll likely want to check out MLB.
TV, which we'll cover below. TV MLB. TV was the first of these services to emerge, and it remains the gold standard for league streaming services. TV service is nearly flawless. Check out our review of MLB.
TV here. Check out MLB. It's a good idea to grab a free trial or two to see what's available in your region. But for die-hards who want more than just local games, the answer is MLS Live.
Premier League Soccer Watching England's top-flight soccer league without cable isn't tough. You'll just need a mix of over-the-air and skinny bundle solutions. Check out our full article on the subject to learn more.
WWE Wrestling If wrestling is your thing, cutting the cord is easy. Oh, and there's a free trial, too. For the most part, you can! Let's talk platform support, shall we? As for the league streaming services, they offer pretty good platform support, too.