Let’s be honest, there are few feelings that can match the rush of watching live as your favorite soccer team wins in PKs during the World Cup, snags a game winning run in the bottom of the ninth, or gets a sudden KO in the middle of the octagon. Even seeing these major moments an hour later — or worse, catching wind of them on Twitter — is enough to cause despair.
But how do you watch live sports if you don’t have cable — or even a TV? The good news is that you don’t have to rely on cable anymore in order to follow your favorite sports teams live, and these services prove that.
How to watch the World Cup live:
There are lots of services out there though, making it a little hard to navigate which are the best. The best place to watch the World Cup are sites like Fubo TV and Hulu Live, which both offer great options for watching other sports as well. We like them the rest of the year too because they’re able to strike a nice balance between price and options.
There are others that work best for one sport but maybe not another, and others still that offer more flexibility. Read on to discover which streaming apps and services will be the best for you.
Thanks to a streaming boom that has prompted more people to rely on the internet to get TV, several companies have popped up to offer a sort of “internet cable” alternative. These get most major networks and channels that you get from cable for way less.
The best option out there for the biggest sports fan is Fubo TV. It offers access to a wide array of local and national channels live so you don’t miss out on the latest shows. But the backbone is the 30+ channels available to choose from (depending on how many local channels there are in your area). There are the obvious ones like Fox and NBC, that way you can prioritize every game in the World Cup, from group stages to the final match. And examples of local channels include MSG and YES network for those living in New York City. And as an avid Rangers and Yankees fan, that’s definitely a selling point. (Just saying.)
And if you’re not sure, there is a free, seven-day trial available so you can test it out before committing to the full price.
Another great option out there right now is Hulu Live. Hulu, as a service, built itself by offering on-demand network and cable TV shows the day after they aired but eventually began to develop their own series too, like the Emmy Award winning show The Handmaid’s Tale. While that may not sound conducive to watching sports, that’s where Hulu Live comes in.
By signing up to Hulu Live or upgrading from the base, $7.99 service, you get access to live TV through most major networks, plus some local channels as well. That means Fox, NBC, CBS, and their affiliated sports channels are right there at your fingertips on any device. The portability of Hulu cannot be overstated. Not only can you watch it on your smart TV or your laptop, but via the Hulu app as well on any streaming platform.
Hulu organizes channels and networks by genre, so you can find Group B games in the World Cup or jump between MLB games. It also makes finding replays easier as well, so if you missed the World Cup opener where Russia throttled Saudi Arabia, it’s right there at your fingertips. And while it might not get as many local channels as some other offerings, you do get a pretty decent movie selection with it, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I, Tonya, and Arrival.
Continuing the trend from the previous entries, YouTube has its own contender to throw into this ring. YouTube built its domination of the internet as an easy-to-use video platform that started in the mid 2000s. As time went on, it became a new entertainment platform with some of the biggest personalities and content providers on the internet present. As such, this has helped it grow to the point where it can now offer live programming.
This is where YouTubeTV comes into the equation. Growing out of the original platform and YouTube Red, YouTubeTV offers live coverage of most major networks, including sports affiliates. That means FSN and NBCSN are available so that you don’t miss the biggest games of the week, much like Fubo TV and Hulu Live.
And unlike a cable provider that’s going to lock you into a contract, a site like YouTubeTV lets you cancel at anytime. This means that if you’re really only into basketball, you can tune in during the regular season then cancel your account once the NBA finals conclude. And, much like Fubo and Hulu, you can try YouTube TV free for seven days if you’re undecided.
The downside is that YouTubeTV is a little more limited in its offerings when it comes to local channels, giving services like the aforementioned Hulu and Fubo an edge. That said, it does provide access to all YouTube Red originals, which has slowly been building a large and varied catalogue of original content, its most recent hit being Cobra Kai.
Believe it or not, PlayStation has a valid entry into this category as well. For those unaware, PlayStation is Sony’s successful video game arm that serves as the force behind the PlayStation series of consoles that compete with Nintendo and Microsoft’s Xbox. In recent years, Sony has started using this branch as a means to test new services that it may want to explore. That has resulted in a viable and flexible option to compete in the world of streaming television.
Playstation Vue serves as a similar option to the aforementioned services, providing national and local networks without the need for a cable box. (And a robust package for the World Cup, to boot.) Compared to the others, though, this is a little more of a build as you go setup, with four different tiers. These do scale up with more becoming available the more you’re willing to spend, with the $74.99 ultra tier offering access to HBO and ShowTime.
As it relates to sports, that flexibility really works in PlayStation Vue’s favor. With four options to pick from, you can definitely pick between a basic selection of channels leading up to the full monty along with NFL Red Zone. That does include some local affiliates as well, so the local FSN affiliate would be available. However, the downside is the price for everything. The two cheaper packages do offer the basic channels like ESPN and FS1, but the top tier package is the one most would like shoot for, and that’s before the extra charges for the sports package, which includes Red Zone and doesn’t work with the starting package. That does push to the pricier side of things, though compared to some cable contracts, its still an improvement.
Then there’s the undisputed king of sports coverage, ESPN. Since 1979, ESPN has dominated sports coverage, providing 24/7 coverage of all professional sports in the United States. As time has gone on, the network has evolved and expanded, covering sports from all over the world and an ever growing list of sports related shows and specials.
That sort of coverage and varied programming is what makes ESPN+ worth it, and a steal at such a low price tag. While it doesn’t get the same number of big games as some other networks or providers, ESPN+ definitely makes up for it in sheer variety. You could go from MLB to college lacrosse to tennis in a snap. Add to that programs like 30 for 30 and SportsCenter, and you’ve got a pretty decent sports offering right there.
Next, there’s CBS’s own entry in the streaming space with CBS All Access. This is where we start to get into more specific desires went it comes to sports viewing.
Compared to most other networks, CBS offers the best coverage of men’s NCAA basketball than any other network. From the men’s regular season, division championships, and finally March Madness, CBS has established itself as the undisputed king of college basketball. And since you can get the first week free (and ostensibility cancel before the subscription kick in) you can watch the height of the action without paying a penny.
It’s also worth mentioning the dedicated coverage to the NFL AFC, which prove to be some of the most competitive and dominant teams in the league.
Unfortunately there isn’t much of a selection beyond NCAA basketball and the NFL AFC. However, CBS has shown a desire to supply original content to the service as well, much like Netflix and Amazon. CBS All Access launched with Star Trek: Discovery, which will be getting a second season, with more exclusive shows on the way.
This one is a little more subjective, depending on how you feel about esports, but stick with us. Twitch, at its core, is a streaming service dedicated to live streaming video games, leading to a new collection of personalities, like Annemunition and Ninja, who are able to rival some of the most successful YouTube personalities when it comes to building a devoted following.
It’s because of this kind of exposure that several leagues, like the Overwatch League, have chosen to use Twitch as its core streaming platform. And given the booming popularity of esports, it only made sense that Twitch would serve a major role. And the great thing here is that there are two options available. If you don’t want to pay for anything, you don’t have to. Just use Twitch to sit back, relax, and see if the Shanghai Dragons can get their first win. If you get sick of commercials though, sign up for Amazon Prime (or link your account if you already have one) and you get all the added benefits, like streaming music, a deep movie library, and free two-day shipping on select Amazon products.
To quote Bruce Buffer, “IT’S TIME!!!!!!” For those combat sports fans, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Growing out of fairly unregulated tournaments in the ’90s to see whose fighting style was best, the UFC has grown into the biggest MMA organization on the planet.
So it only makes sense that it would offer its own dedicated platform for MMA fanatics to catch every fight, no matter where they are. That means you can catch an entire packed card, from the prelims to the main event, with no fuss through UFC Fight Pass. It also gets you access to every piece of content dropped by UFC, whether that be the latest in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender or a vlog following fighters leading up to a big fight.
NFL Game Pass is one of the best of the dedicated league services out there. We don’t have to tell you that NFL Sunday is one of the biggest modern traditions for sports fans, with friends and families gathering at the house, apartment, bar — wherever — to see how their teams will play that week. NFL Game Pass provides the most die hard fans with an avenue to keep up with every game, every week. This also includes replays of games you might have missed and the extensive NFL films archive, like HBO’s Hard Knocks series. And, like most of the services on this list, offers a seven-day free trial to see how you like it.
It does come with a couple of catches, though. The biggest is that you cannot watch the Super Bowl live through Game Pass. This is due to network rotation between CBS, Fox, and NBC to air the Super Bowl. Also, given NFL and network practices, “local” games tend to suffer from blackouts in favor of the out of market games in Game Pass. That means that, say you live in Los Angeles and want to watch the Rams, you’ll have to go through Fox, CBS, NBC, or ESPN depending on where and when they’re playing. This is a common problem you’ll run into with any league-dedicated streaming service. Even so, the NFL Game Pass is probably the best value of them all.
We know what you’re thinking. Yes, the idea is to cut cable. And yes, the NBC Sports App requires a cable account in order to work. But like many other things today, thanks to technology, there’s always a work around.
While there are plenty of people cutting cable, there are still plenty others happy with what they have. To that end, it is always worth seeing if anyone in your family still has cable. If they do, you can simply share the account to get access. That way, you won’t miss the NFL’s Sunday night game or NHL’s featured game of the week. Just log into the NBC Sports App and you’re good to go.