Sling TV was one of the first options for live-television streaming, but there are better options now that the likes of Hulu, YouTube and more are on board. And that’s especially true when it comes to sports. Sling doesn’t offer access to ABC or CBS, and Fox and NBC are limited to select markets. This means you’ll have to get an antenna to watch these over the air — something Sling is happy to help with. Given the lack of local/big four networks, it’s hard to justify the monthly cost here. Plus, you’ll also need Sling Blue and Orange to get everything you need. You only save money on Sling when you can survive with one or the other.
What’s more, in order to get SEC Network, Pac-12 Network, ESPN U and ESPN News, you’ll have to pay $10 more per month for the Sports Extra add-on. Cloud DVR will also cost you an additional $5 per month for 50 hours’ worth of storage. You can record multiple shows/events at once, though, if that’s an attractive consolation prize.
ESPN’s standalone streaming service won’t replace a full-on TV subscription. That’s mostly because it doesn’t offer access to the main ESPN broadcast networks. However, for $5 per month, ESPN+ is a stellar supplement for sports fans who want as much action as they can get. The service is loaded with baseball (MLB), soccer (MLS, Serie A, FA Cup), MMA (UFC) events and a whole lot more. And when it comes to college sports, the options are also robust.
ESPN told Engadget that there will be more than 300 college football games on ESPN+ this season, covering 12 conferences like the Big 12, C-USA, MAC, Sun Belt, WAC and Ivy League. The network also confirmed that all college football games that appear on ESPN+ will also be available for replay on demand. This means if you’re a fan of a team that isn’t in one of the bigger (read: more popular) conferences, this is likely your best bet for streaming or watching live. There’s also a ton of other college sports on the service. I watched a lot of this year’s NCAA Baseball Regionals and Super Regionals via ESPN+. You get so much for so little, it’s almost silly for a die-hard sports fan not to have this.
It’s game time
I’m all for cutting the cord, but it’s difficult to live without live television if you’re a sports fan. Cable companies still have a foothold thanks to sports, but you don’t have to saddle yourself with that headache in order to follow your team(s). For that reason, live-TV-streaming services like Hulu and YouTube TV are your best options. If you want to shop around further before you commit, be sure any service you consider offers ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox (local channels) in addition to the likes of ESPN and FS1. The games you want to watch likely won’t be on the same channel every week, so you need several channels if you want to save yourself some headaches down the road.