Best sports streaming service for 2022
are great for TV and movie buffs, but can be tricky for sports fans looking to watch their favorite team or league. Unlike other forms of entertainment, sporting events are meant to be watched live. This means that in many cases like DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV, tend to offer the most channels for sports fans.
Unfortunately, many sports fans will need to access their local regional sports networks, or RSNs, to access their local team’s games. For example, local Bruins and Red Sox fans will need NESN to catch the majority of their games, even if they subscribe to a league-sponsored sport-specific package like MLB TV, which does not cover games on the market.
Due to rights deals, most live TV streaming services don’t offer much RSN.is the exception. It has almost every RSN, especially the Bally Sports (formerly Fox Sports) channels offered by Sinclair, but the company has just and you’ll need to take advantage of its now $90 per month plan to access it.
Depending on your location, hardcore fans of local teams might end up saving more money by getting a cable subscription, which tends to come with your RSNs along with ESPN, TBS, TNT, as well as your local network channels. This might especially make sense if the plan comes with the home internet you’re likely to get anyway.
If you’re a determined cord cutter or know you only need a few channels to get your sports fix, here are the best streaming services on the market for sports fans.
DirecTV Stream is expensive. It’s the most expensive of the top five live TV streaming services, but it’s also the one with the most RSN and offers the most for sports fanatics. Its cheapest Plus plan, at $70 a month, includes major networks plus ESPN, TNT, FS1 and TBS. You’ll need to upgrade to the $90 per month Choice plan to get all available RSN and many league channels like the Big Ten Network and NBA TV. You can use his string search tool to see which local and RSN channels are available in your area.
Read our DirecTV Stream review.
ESPN’s standalone streaming service is ideal for casual sports fans and is a must-have accessory for fanatics. It costs $7 per month or $70 per year and shows all out-of-market games, NHL hockey games, and MLS soccer games.
It is also heavily invested in world football, hosting Spanish LaLiga and German Bundesliga matches. ESPN Plus is also home to English football: the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Community Shield, as well as the EFL Championship – which is the league below the Premier League.
ESPN Plus doesn’t show live NBA basketball or NFL football, but it does provide coverage of Wimbledon and the US Open. During MLB baseball season, the service offers select out-of-market Major League Baseball games as well as MLB archive unlocks of classic games. It also features NCAA football and basketball, as well as the Little League World Series for fans who want to watch up-and-coming athletes. Some UFC matches are included in the subscription, with pay-per-view matches usually requiring an additional fee.
The service is also home to exclusive shows, such as Peyton’s Places with Peyton Manning, and the extensive 30 for 30 library. As an added incentive, the subscription removes the paywall on ESPN’s website, giving you access to all articles and online reports.
There’s something here for most sports fans and it’s almost a necessity for hardcore hockey, soccer and UFC fans.
Read our ESPN Plus review.
FuboTV costs $65 per month and offers 12 RSN. It includes ESPN, but not TBS and TNT – which might be a problem for some sports fans. It also has most of your local networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, as well as FS1, FS2, BeIn Sports, the Big 10, and the Golf Channel.
You’ll need to pay an extra $7 per month for the Fubo Extra package or pay for the $80 per month Elite streaming tier which includes Fubo Extra for NHL, NBA, MLB, SEC, PAC 12, and Tennis channels. Find out what local networks and RSN offered by FuboTV here.
Read our FuboTV review.
YouTube TV costs $65 per month and offers four RSNs, as well as FS1, FS2, ESPN, TBS, TNT, and all major national networks. The standard package includes just about every league channel except the NHL Network. There’s an additional Sports Plus package, but it doesn’t offer much other than BeIn and NFL Red Zone, so you might be able to skip it. Plug your postcode into YouTube TV home page to see which LANs and RSNs are available in your area.
Read our YouTube TV review.
Peacock, owned by NBC, offers live sports to accompany its on-demand entertainment. The $5 per month tier grants users access to Premier League Soccer, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, select WWE events, Indy Car races, and select PGA golf tournaments. The service also broadcasts a few other less popular sports, such as rugby, figure skating, athletics and cycling. Since the Super Bowl only happens once a year and the Olympics every two, the platform is best suited long-term for Premier League Soccer and WWE fans.
Read our Peacock review.
Hulu Plus Live TV can be considered an option for more casual sports fans. It costs $70 a month and carries four RSNs with all major networks plus ESPN, TBS, TNT, FS1 and FS2. It comes with the NFL Network, but even the Sports add-on doesn’t have MLB, NHL, NBA, or Tennis channels. The biggest appeal of the add-on is the inclusion of the NFL Red Zone. Otherwise, it doesn’t add much value to the package. Click the “Show all channels in your area” link at the bottom of Hulu Plus Live TV home page to see which LANs and RSNs are available where you live.
Read our Hulu Plus Live TV review.
Sling TV packages don’t have much to offer except to the most casual fans. Sling Blue currently lacks a single RSN, but you can use it to watch some national broadcasts. Sling TV’s Orange package includes ESPN, while the Blue package includes FS1 and the NFL Network. Although both plans offer TBS, neither of them gives you access to ABC, which might be a problem for many fans. The Sports Extra add-on, which costs $11 per month for the Blue or Orange plan or $15 for the combined Orange and Blue plan, offers NBA, NHL and MLB channels, as well as the PAC 12 channel, BeIn and Tennis, among others. The individual plans cost $35 per month each, and the Orange and Blue plan costs $50 per month. You can see what local channels you get here.
Read our Sling TV review.
Sports Streaming Services FAQ
Don’t some on-demand streaming services also stream live sports?
Yes! Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Paramount Plus all stream live sports from time to time.
Paramount Plus, a CBS company, is giving its Essential subscribers $5 per month access to AFC football games during the NFL season as well as select Champions League games. UEFA, although viewers do not have full access to their local CBS station. Paramount Plus is also home to the NWSL women’s soccer league.
Hulu has started showing select NHL hockey games on its regular service, while Amazon Prime has partnered with the NFL to show select Thursday night football games.
While these services have some sports offerings, they mostly focus on on-demand entertainment. That might change in the future, but right now they don’t offer much specifically for sports fans.
Is there any lag or delay when streaming live sports compared to cable?
Unfortunately, there are. The broadcast delay often reaches 40 seconds, compared to around 5 seconds for cable and satellite.
This could be particularly concerning for those using Twitter, group chats, and phone push notifications, where a delay of this size can lead to big game spoilers. It could also make it difficult for sports bettors to get in on the action. If you plan to bet legally, it may be a good idea to watch your match via cable or satellite.
Turning off your phone notifications and staying away from Twitter will allow you to stream your games without spoilers. Sure, your friends can try calling and texting to brag about the score, but you can always choose to ignore them while you watch.
Can I cancel my subscriptions when the season is over?
Yes! All of these services are contract-free and you can cancel at any time. Some offer free trials or special introductory subscriptions, which you can only use once. If you cancel and return at a later date, you will most likely have to pay full price. That said, you might not need a particular service year-round, which could make temporary cancellation an attractive way to save a few bucks.
How do I access these services on my devices?
All of the services on this list have apps that you can download. You will need a smart TV or streaming device to watch content on your TV. Just search for the service name on your TV or smart device, download the app to your TV and enter your login details, and you should be ready to stream.
You can also download apps from these services to your phone, iPad or Android device to stream around the house or on the go.