If you're a sports fan and a cord cutter, you know how difficult it is to find the best (aka the cheapest) mix of streaming services so you don't miss a game or drain your bank account. With leagues signing exclusive deals with networks and local blackout restrictions, it's not always easy to know which combination of subscriptions you need. And that combo can change every year.
That's why we created this sports streaming tool. Simply tell us which sports and teams you want to watch, click the button, and our AI engine will sort through available streaming services to find the combination that lets you see all your teams for the least amount of money.
To start, the tool includes info for these leagues:
- NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision
We plan to add more leagues and special sporting events (the big fights, bowl games, golf, etc.) in the future. Give the tool a try and tell us what you think.
Best streaming services for sports
We're a personal finance site, so to us, the best streaming service for sports is the one that saves you money and lets you see what you want to see legally. We wish it were as simple as subscribing to one service and seeing it all. But with exclusive deals spread across multiple networks and streaming providers, you often need a combination of streaming services to see the games you want.
Streaming NFL games
Want to stream your favorite team(s) on Sunday? You'll need to start with whether the team you want to watch is in your local TV market or not. If your team is in market (i.e., you live in Jacksonville and want to watch the Jaguars), you'll be able to see most, if not all, games on your local TV stations — ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. You have lots of options to stream these channels, including AT&T Now, Hulu, YouTube TV, and fuboTV. Or, you can just use a digital antenna and try to watch games for free. For Monday night games, you'll also need ESPN.
If your team is out of market (i.e., you don't live near your team), you'll want to look into NFL Sunday Ticket to see Sunday afternoon games. Sunday Ticket is offered by satellite TV provider DirectTV. If you're a cord cutter and don't want to sign up for DirectTV, it also offers a streaming service called NFLSUNDAYTICKET.TV. But, there's a catch — it's only available if you're a student or you live in an area or building where DirectTV isn't available.
Streaming college football games
While streaming the NFL is all about location, the key to streaming your favorite college football team is all about networks because conferences — like the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Big 10, etc. — sign exclusive deals with TV networks. That's good news because you don't need to worry about local blackout restrictions.
If you sign up for a service that lets you access a wide range of national networks — like the ESPN family of networks, the CBS networks, and the Fox networks — you can view almost every college football game all season. For example, if you want to watch a game in the SEC, you'll need the SEC Network, which is owned by ESPN and available on streaming platforms like AT&T Now, Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling.
Streaming NBA games
You have a few options if you want to stream NBA games. If you're a casual fan who's happy just to catch the marquee games, you should be covered with a TV package that includes national channels like ABC, ESPN, and TNT.
If your favorite team is in market and you want the option to see all their games, you'll need a streaming package that includes the regional sports network with rights for your team. AT&T Now has exclusive rights to many of these regional networks, so it can be a good place to start. But, depending on your particular region, you may also find your regional sports network on YouTube TV or Hulu for less money.
If your favorite team is out of market, you'll need to look into NBA League Pass, which offers both single-team and full-league options. Unfortunately, if you choose the full-league option, your local team will be blacked out.
Streaming WNBA games
Similar to the NBA, if you want to watch all the WNBA games, you'll need to look into several streaming options. Nationally-televised games are carried on channels like CBS, CBS Sports Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and NBATV. You’ll likely get all those channels with YouTube TV or AT&T Now.
Additionally, if your favorite team is in market, you should be able to catch all their games using YouTube TV. If your favorite team is out of market, you'll want to look into WNBA League Pass, which offers a one-time pricing structure where you can choose between access to a single team or the entire league.
Streaming NHL games
Hockey fans can catch NHL games — except for their local team's games — on ESPN+ for just $6.99 a month. If you want to watch all the games played by your in-market team, you'll need to research which regional sports network has the rights to your team. There's a good chance AT&T Now will be streaming your regional sports network, but it's worth looking into YouTube TV and Hulu, too, as they sometimes have a cheaper option.
Streaming MLB games
MLB.tv offers both single-team and full-league packages that will get you access to every game from your favorite team(s) if you're out of market. It provides an option to be billed monthly, or you can choose to make a one-time payment to save a little money.
If you're in market, you'll need to find the streaming service that offers the regional sports network with rights to broadcast your team's games. For example, if you're a Mets fan living in the New York metro area, you'll need SNY to stream the games. You can find it on AT&T NOW, Hulu, or fuboTV.
FAQs about streaming sports
What's the difference between in-market and out-of-market teams?
Knowing whether your team is in market or out of market is key to understanding how to stream their games. "In market" refers to the geographical area wherein a station or network has purchased exclusive broadcast rights for their local team's games. In-market areas are usually located in the team’s city or metro region, but can sometimes extend to larger geographic areas. Anyone living in the market for a team will need access to a streaming service that includes the channel that owns the local broadcast rights in order to see their team's games.
What is a sports blackout?
Sports blackout refers to when a game that is broadcast on a nationally available network or streaming service can not be watched in a certain area because the viewer is located in the market for the team. To get access to in-market games, you'll need access to the local channel with exclusive rights to your team.
How can I stream sports for free?
If games are broadcast on your local networks, you can catch them for free using a digital antenna. There are other not-so-legal ways to stream sports for free, but we're focused on legal options here.
How can I avoid paying for too many streaming services?
Unfortunately, it's getting harder and harder to have access to everything you want to see — especially sports — without subscribing to several streaming services. We built our sports streaming tool (see above) to help you figure out the cheapest combination of services that will meet your sports needs.
If I cut the cord, how can I stream sports?
It's possible to stream ALL the sports, but you may need to subscribe to severalstreaming services to do it. Generally speaking, if you want to watch a localsports team, you'll need access to the local network with broadcast rights tothe team. If you want to watch an out-of-market team, you'll need to subscribeto a league-specific streaming service like MLB.tv or League Pass.
If you decide to cut cable, a service like Rocket Money can help you cancel withoutneeding to make that painful call yourself. Read our Rocket Money review for moreinformation.