Yes, it is possible to watch live sports without cable! This article will cover everything you need to know to unlock live sports without paying those monthly cable subscriptions. That’s right everything from local sports to ESPN, FOX Sports, NHL…you name it we’ll cover it here.
There are three primary ways you can watch live sports without cable or satellite. All of these topics we will cover in explicit detail in this article:
- Install an OTA (Over-the-Air) Digital Antenna to receive local sports.
- Subscribe to “legitimate” online streaming services with sports packages.
- Subscribe to “not-so-legitimate” online streaming services, otherwise known as IPTV.
Watch Live Sports Without Cable – OTA Antennas
Without question the easiest way to access local live sporting events is by installing an HDTV antenna at your home. We’ve done many articles here on AntennaJunkies.com catering exactly to this topic which I’ll list at the end of this article…heck that’s what we’re all about here.
A digital HDTV antenna is a great choice and once setup has no recurring fees whatsoever! This will allow you to access large network broadcasters such as FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC to name a few. All of these major networks will host live sporting events local to your area. In fact, I would recommend installing this option even if you are considering one of the other online streaming services we’ll be discussing shortly.
If you are, or have been considering cutting the cable cord and trying an HDTV antenna, let me break down everything you’ll need to setup a good, reliable system that’ll be sure to get full wife approval!
Selecting an HDTV Antenna
Of course the most important item you are going to need in any OTA digital antenna system is an HDTV antenna. You really have two broad categories of options here depending on your specific situation, location, and geographic region. This includes whether or not you will install an “Indoor” antenna or an “Outdoor” antenna. I will cover the pros and cons of both.
Choosing the Right “Indoor” Antenna
If your situation requires that you install an indoor antenna, let me make a few suggestions here. Indoor antennas have come a long way in recent years in terms of style, reliability, quality and price. It was once the case that if you installed an indoor antenna you were likely not going to be very satisfied. This is no longer true.
Indoor antennas these days are designed with optimization and maximum signal strength in mind. Whether your in a large city with a lot of obstructions, or in an apartment complex where it just isn’t feasible to install an outdoor antenna, one of the options listed below will be sure to satisfy your needs.
Before I recommend some top-rated indoor antennas, let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of installing an indoor antenna versus an outdoor antenna that we will be discussing shortly.
- Very easy to install.
- Lightweight and stylish.
- Extremely affordable alternative when compared to the cost of cable.
- Since you’re installing indoors there’s likely more obstructions versus an outdoor antenna.
- May be limited on number of channels received depending on your location and proximity to the broadcast towers in your area.
Recommended Indoor HDTV Antennas
- Mohu Curve 50 TV Antenna Amplified 50-Mile Range MH-110567
- ClearStream ECLIPSE Amplified TV Antenna
- Channel Master CM-4001HD FLATenna Ultra-thin Indoor TV Antenna
Without question the Mohu Curve would be my number one choice in this category as I’ve had very good success with this antenna in a variety of installation environments. It will allow you to access all HDTV channels available in your area and is 4K ready. The other nice thing about this antenna is that it boasts a full 1-year warranty and advertises an impressive 50 mile range. And since it will allow you to watch live sports without cable it is a must check see!
Choosing the Right “Outdoor” Antenna
If you have the ability to install an outdoor antenna then I highly recommend you do so. While an indoor antenna will provide good results if you have no other options, an outdoor antenna is the best way to go. It is a little more work to get up and running, but the payoff will be unobstructed, crystal clear HDTV channels such as NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX in your local area. There is really no substitute to installing an outdoor antenna.
Some things to consider when contemplating the installation of an outdoor antenna:
- Location on your home or property to locate the antenna.
- Direction of the television broadcast tower or towers in your region – check out my
TV Tower Locator Tool page to get a complete listing of channels and the towers in your area.
- Proper antenna “Grounding” – check out my article How To Properly Ground A TV Antenna.
Like indoor antennas, outdoor antennas have come a long way in terms of design, style, quality and price. No longer do you need a large, obtrusive (ugly) looking antenna slapped to the side of your house to pull broadcast signals in from 60+ miles away. Today’s antennas are built with both maximum signal efficiency and aesthetics in mind.
- Will all you to receive the best possible signal quality for your area.
- Should have no trouble picking up all the major networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX.
- Still very cost effective to purchase over indoor antennas (average 2x the cost).
- The antenna you buy today will be future proof for tomorrow (i.e., 4K ready).
- Definitely more work to install than its indoor counterpart.
- May not be a viable option depending on where you live (i.e., you live in a condo).
- More expensive than the indoor antenna option but still very affordable.
Recommended Outdoor HDTV Antennas
- 8 Element Bowtie Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna – 70 Mile Range
- Channel Master CM-4228HD High VHF, UHF and HDTV Antenna
- ClearStream 4 Outdoor HDTV Antenna
For me both the 8 Element Bowtie and the Channel Master CM-4228HD are clear winners in this category and form-factor (style) of antenna. I personally own both of these antenna types (2 Channel Masters on my house and the 8-Element Bowtie at my cottage for a little extra range). A friend of mine has the ClearStream 4 and has been very happy with it – and it looks pretty cool too!
Antenna Network Tuner Hardware (Optional)
To truly give your shiny new HDTV antenna setup full wife approval, I highly, highly recommend the use of an antenna network tuner. An antenna network tuner is a small device that accepts your antenna signal in one end and connects that signal to your local network via a connection to your router. I know, sweet right!
Some advantages to spending a little extra and picking up a digital antenna network tuner such as the HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner) to which I own two.
- No need to wire your antenna cable to a splitter to service multiple televisions which will degrade the quality of your signal – see my article 7 Ways To Boost Your Antenna Signal.
- Most digital network tuners on the market will have at least 2-tuners (including the one I listed above). This means that a single antenna feed becomes two feeds that you can watch or record different channels at the same time.
- You can wirelessly stream your antenna signals to any PC, laptop, smart phone, tablet, or streaming box in your home.
- Provides easier installation and shorter antenna cable runs (shorter is better) because you can locate the digital network tuner anywhere it is most convenient – then just run an Ethernet cable back to your router.
- If you use the HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner) I’m recommending or any tuner from SiliconDust for that matter, you can also take advantage of their new fee-for-service Premium TV.
If you’re interested in learning more of the Premium TV offering above, check out my article HDHomeRun Premium TV Available Now after you’re done here. The nice thing about this offering is it will integrate your antenna signals into their 35 channel “cable type” offering in one seamless guide and DVR package…sweet!
I know it sounds like I’m really pushing their products, but I’m in no way affiliated with SiliconDust or their HDHomeRun product line. I’m just a huge fan of their products and have been a long time supporter and user of HDHomeRun
Watch Live Sports Without Cable – “Legitimate” Paid Services
I’m being very careful to break up the “legitimate” from the “not-so legitimate” or illegitimate paid streaming services that I’ll discuss later. For the legitimate streaming services, I am going to focus on the most popular ones that will give you the ability to watch live sports without cable. It should be noted that of course there are others.
Fubo TV – $17.99 to $44.99 /month
Fubo TV is a sports-centric Internet TV streaming service with the world’s most popular live sports and entertainment content. The service offers access to national and regional networks via TVs, tablets, mobile devices, and desktop computers.
With Fubo TV, subscribers can watch sports without having to pay for a cable bundle. fuboTV has partnered with the leading sports and entertainment networks to bring you the best live content for as low as $17.99/ month. No long-term contract is required. Click here to try their free 7-day trial.
Fubo TV content is currently available in the United States and has content partnerships with NBC Universal, FOX Networks, A+E Networks, Univision, NBA TV, and beIN SPORTS among other networks. Users can access live content via Desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone & Tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV (Gen 4). fuboTV has DVR capability and content is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
*Some channels are also available in Canada, Regional Sport Networks are only available in their respective regions.
The specific channel lineup and what live sports you’ll have access to will depend largely on your geographic region and subscribed package. If you’d like to see what’s available in your area click here to see if it’s a good fit and will give you everything you need to watch live sports without cable or satellite.
Sling TV – starting at $25 /month
Sling TV has really become the defacto standard when it comes to live TV streaming and yes it also has an impressive lineup of sports as well. With Sling TV you’ll have most, if not all of the options you would have through your regular cable company including the ability to watch live sports.
With their basic package you get upward of 25+ channels for just $25/mo. Add-on their live sports package for an additional $5 /month and you’ll have the ability to watch live sports without cable. Plus, there are multiple ways to add lineup diversity with kids programming, specialty channel networks such as Showcase and HBO as well as industry-leading options for International programming. Try Sling TV free for 7 days!
Users can stream up to 150+ channels at home or on the go with over 50+ ways to watch, including on their TV, tablets, mobile devices, computers and gaming consoles. Sling TV offers customers more choice over their lineup than any other TV streaming service on the market.
Hulu with Live TV – $39.99 /month
Hulu has up’d its game by adding live TV to its already impressive library of content. That’s right, now with Hulu’s premium subscription you can watch live sports without cable!
Hulu with Live TV will allow you to catch all your favorite games at home or on the go. Stream live games from major college and pro leagues, including the NCAA, NBA, NHL, NFL, the English Premier League, and more. With top national sports channels, and local sports channels in many cities, there’s no better place to watch live sports without cable.
Hulu also supports an impressive lineup of devices that includes iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV & Fire Stick, Apple TV (4th gen), Chromecast, Xbox One & Xbox 360, Samsung (select TV models), LG (select TV models), and Nintendo Switch.
Watch Live Sports Without Cable – “Not-So-Legitimate” IPTV Streaming Services
No list would be complete without mentioning some of the “not-so-legitimate” IPTV streaming services that are on the market that will allow you to watch live sports without cable. Full disclaimer, AntennaJunkies.com in no way endorses or encourages the use of these types of streaming services. That said, they are an option that our readers may be considering so I mention them here for completeness.
IPTV services provide large comprehensive television packages at hugely discounted prices. Many of which are offering 1000+ channels at less than $150 /year. That’s just over $10 /month! If you’ve been contemplating trying one of these services I do encourage you to check out the article I did Are IPTV Subscriptions Legal?.
There are many IPTV services available that a quick Google search will reveal. I’m not going to tell you which ones are good or better than others because quite frankly that would mean I’d have to try them all. There are simply too many of these types of providers out there to keep up with.
Due to the illegitimate nature of these providers I certainly do recommend you consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in all cases. I’ve heard of cases and actually know people who’s ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have sent Cease-and-Desist type letters because they are monitoring your activities online. VPNs are reasonably priced these days and the providers I recommend below keep no traffic logs of your activities – very important!
Recommended VPN Providers
If you are going to subscribe to an online IPTV service provider I highly recommend that you use one of the VPN providers listed below to keep your anonymity intact and shelter your activities from your Internet Service Provider.
|Ease of Use||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5|
|Price||approx. $8.32/month||approx. $3.99/month||approx. $3.74/month||approx. $3.59/month|
|BUY NOW||BUY NOW||BUY NOW||BUY NOW|
Watch Live Sports Without Cable – Final Words
If you’ve made it this far congratulations, you’re up-to-date on some of the best ways to watch live sports without cable! I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article. Be sure to check out some of my other great articles that talk about everything cord-cutting, IPTV and just about everything else that doesn’t involve monthly cable or satellite subscriptions.
- Best Android Box for IPTV
- Why You Need a VPN for IPTV
- How To Watch Live Sports Without Cable
- Next Gen TV – The Future Is Now!
- Sling TV vs Fubo TV – Which One Is Better?
- Best Coaxial Cable For HDTV
- What Is IPTV? Everything Cord Cutters Need To Know
- How To Watch IPTV On PC
- FREE TV – The Ultimate Cord Cutters Guide
- Are VPNs Safe? Find Out Here!
- HDHomeRun Premium TV Available Now!
- How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer
- MECOOL KM8 TV Box – Sorry Nvidia Shield TV
- Best Long Range Outdoor HDTV Antenna
- 7 Ways To Boost Your HDTV Antenna Signal!
- What Is The Best TV Antenna Signal Booster
- How To Properly Ground A TV Antenna
- Are 4K OTA Broadcasts Available Right Now?
- The Best HDTV Antenna Setup Right Now!
- The Best External HDTV Network Tuners
- Everything You Need To Know About ATSC 3.0
- Are IPTV Subscriptions Legal?
- How To Get A 4K Signal
- How To Watch TV While Camping