How to Watch Sports Without Cable TV

Tips for how you can cut the cable cord without missing the big game.

You’ll have a tough time rooting for the home team without the regional sports network in your cable package because of policies that often ban coverage of games in a team’s local market. But if your loyalties lie with a team from another town or you usually catch local games at the stadium, you may be able to ditch cable for streaming.

See Our Slide Show: Save Big by Getting Rid of Your Cable TV

Sling TV, which includes both ESPN and ESPN2, is the biggest breakthrough in streaming for all-around sports fans. For more sports coverage, Sling also offers a $5-a-month add-on package with ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network and others.

If you’re an avid fan of one or two sports, you can still do an end run around cable with a Web streaming package. For example, baseball fans can subscribe to MLB.TV for $110 a year ($130 for a package that can be streamed on compatible devices such as Roku and Xbox One and 360) to catch live games of any Major League Baseball team that is not in your region. NBA fans can watch any of nearly 1,000 nonlocal games during the 2015–16 season for $200. This year, the NBA is also offering a single-team pass for $120 or single games for $7. And the NHL’s GameCenter Live will allow you to stream games that aren’t in your region ($169 in previous seasons). For live regular-season NFL games, stick with an antenna or Sling TV. The NFL's Game Pass ($100 per year) allows you to watch 256 regular-season games after the game is over.

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Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.