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Best Streaming Services for Sports 2021

What’s the best live TV streaming service for getting your game on? CableTV.com breaks down five for streaming live sports.

Best overall for sports

Price: $64.99$79.99/mo.
Live channels: 160+
Sports channels:  35+

Best for sports add-ons

Price: $30$60/mo.
Live channels: 70+
Sports channels:  30+

Best for entertainment

Price: $64.99/mo.
Live channels: 100+
Sports channels: 20+

Best for college sports

Price: $64.99$70.99/mo.
Live channels: 70+
Sports channels: 15+

Best basic sports lineup

Price: $64.99$134.99/mo.
Live channels: 65–140+
Sports channels: 15+

The biggest strike against live TV streaming services used to be the lack of sports, but they’re catching up with cable and satellite TV. Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and fuboTV all cover the action these days.

We’ve picked five services that give you the best spread of streaming sports channels, even if they’re not exactly cheap. If sheer quantity of sports isn’t your game, however, you might find another live TV streaming service here that hits the sweet spot.

Best streaming services for live sports

Specs and features comparison

Streaming service
Best overall for sports
fuboTV
Best for sports add-ons
Sling TV
Best for sports and entertainment
YouTube TV
Best for college sports
Hulu Live
Best basic sports lineup
DIRECTV STREAM
Price Live channels Sports channels Cloud DVR Streams Choose your plan
$64.99–$86.98/mo. 170+ 35+ 250–1,000 hrs. hrs. 3–10 View Plans
$35.00–$65.00/mo. 70+ 30+ 50–200 hrs. 1–4 View Plans
$64.99/mo. 100+ 20+ Unlimited (for 9 mos.) 3 View Plans
$64.99–$70.99/mo. 70+ 15+ 50 hrs. 2 View Plans
$64.99–$134.99/mo. 65–140+ 15+ 20 hrs. 3 View Plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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Summary of best streaming services for live sports

We think Sling TV and fuboTV are the best sports streaming services if you’re willing to shell out the extra bucks, but we also like YouTube TV for its balance of sports and entertainment channels. As for Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM, well, we’ll get to them in a minute.

Best overall for sports: fuboTV

Price: $64.99–$86.98/mo.
Live channels: 170+
Sports channels:  35+

Pros

  • Loads of soccer channels
  • Plenty of add-on options

Cons

  • Expensive plans
  • Limited local channels

If you’re willing to pay for it, fuboTV can give you more sports channels than any other streaming service—including some you’ve never heard of, unless you’re really into soccer. fuboTV launched as a futbol-centric streaming service, and it still excels at that, but it also offers a decent array of entertainment channels and custom add-on options.

fuboTV recently added ESPN channels, which cemented its place as a true streaming sports leader: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNews, and ESPN Deportes are now all onboard with fubo, as well as SEC Network and AAC Network. Score!

Or we should say, Goooaaalll! fuboTV is definitely for diehard soccer fans, and those fans will want the Elite plan ($79.99 a month) with the International Sports Plus add-on ($6.99 a month). Why? Because the International Sports Plus add-on gets you seven more channels, including FOX Soccer Plus. That’s a bargain for FOX Soccer Plus, but now the monthly price tag is $86.98 a month. Ouch.

fuboTV (Ultra + International Sports Plus) sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • ESPNU
  • ESPNews
  • ESPN Deportes
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • FOX Soccer Plus
  • FOX Deportes
  • FOX RSNs*
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NBC RSNs*
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • NFL RedZone
  • NHL Network
  • beIN Sports
  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • SEC Network
  • AAC Network
  • Eleven Sports
  • Pac-12
  • Fight Network
  • fubo Sports Network
  • Game+
  • Golf Channel
  • GolTV
  • Olympic Channel
  • Stadium
  • Tennis Channel
  • TUDN
  • TVG
  • TyC SPorts
  • VISN
  • Zona Futbol
  • MOTOR TREND

* RSNs (regional sports networks) vary by area.

Best for sports add-ons: Sling TV

Price: $35–$65/mo.
Live channels: 70+
Sports channels:  30+

Pros

  • Over 30 sports channels
  • Customizable lineups

Cons

  • Limited DVR
  • Limited local channels

Sling TV offers three plan options, but, to get the most sports channels, you’d want the priciest one ($50 a month) with an add-on sports package ($15 a month). It involves a little more thinking and math—we know, not cool—but Sling TV can stream almost all the sports you can handle.

Sling Orange (30 channels) and Sling Blue (45 channels) aren’t bad individually, but Sling’s combined Orange + Blue plan nets you mainstream sports channels like ESPN, FS1, and NBC Sports. Combined with 24 more sports channels from Sling’s Sports Extra package, that’s over 30 sports channels for $65 a month.

 Of course, you may not be interested in all of the sports in the Orange + Blue + Sports Extra plan, in which case you might want to downsize to either the Orange or Blue plan alone, both of which offer their own individualized Sports Extra add-ons. Sling TV is nothing if not customizable.

 Big “but” warning: Sling TV includes only 50 hours of cloud DVR space, which can be upgraded to an only-slightly-better 200 hours for an extra $5 a month. Good luck recording more than a few sports events with that allotment.

Sling TV (Orange + Blue + Sports Extra) sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNEWS
  • ESPNU
  • ESPN Bases Loaded
  • ESPN Buzzer Beater
  • ESPN Goal Line
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • FOX Sports RSNs*
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NBC Sports RSNs*
  • beIN Sports
  • MLB Network
  • MLB Strike Zone
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • NHL Network
  • AAC Network
  • AAC Network Extra
  • SEC Network
  • Big Ten Network
  • Campus Insiders
  • Longhorn Network
  • Stadium
  • Stadium Plus
  • Golf Channel
  • Tennis Channel
  • Olympic Channel
  • Outside Television
  • MOTOR TREND
  • Motorsport TV

* RSNs (regional sports networks) vary by area.

Best for sports and entertainment: YouTube TV

Price: $64.99/mo.
Live channels: 100+
Sports channels: 20+

Pros

  • Over 20 sports channels
  • Unlimited DVR

Cons

  • No NFL or NHL channels
  • Few international sports

YouTube TV, our favorite overall livestreaming service at CableTV.com, is loaded with pro and college sports channels, and you can add on FOX Soccer Plus and NBA League pass to up your futbol and B-ball coverage. The included cloud DVR space, which comes with no limits but does delete recordings after nine months, is also great for keeping up on games. It even has a score-hiding “no spoiler” function.

Unfortunately, none of those games will come from NFL RedZone or NHL Network: YouTube TV doesn’t carry those channels—that’s a fumble worth a trip to the penalty box (sorry to mix sports metaphors). Still, YouTube TV gives you a lot of sports and entertainment channels for $64.99 a month.

YouTube TV sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNEWS
  • ESPNU
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NBC Sports RSNs*
  • CBS Sports Network
  • MLB Network
  • NFL Network
  • NBA TV
  • AAC Network
  • AAC Network Extra
  • Big Ten Network
  • SEC Network
  • Golf Channel
  • Olympic Channel
  • MOTOR TREND
  • FOX Soccer Plus ($15.00/mo.)
  • NBA League Pass ($40.00/mo.)

Best for college sports: Hulu + Live TV

Price: $64.99–$70.99/mo.
Live channels: 70+
Sports channels: 15+

Pros

  • Solid college sports coverage
  • Basic major sports channels

Cons

  • No pro league channels
  • No sports add-ons

Hulu + Live TV’s channel lineup includes the basics of sports with ESPN, FOX, and NBC networks, as well as college ball with Big Ten, CBS Sports, and a few others. However, even though it’s a solid livestreaming service overall, Hulu + Live TV probably isn’t for pro sports fans.

MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and NHL Network are nowhere to be found on Hulu + Live TV, and there are no available sports add-on packages either. Hulu gets it right on the entertainment side, but it’s spotty on sports.

Hulu + Live TV sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNEWS
  • ESPNU
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NBC Sports RSNs*
  • CBS Sports Network
  • AAC Network
  • AAC Network Extra
  • Big Ten Network
  • SEC Network
  • Golf Channel
  • Olympic Channel
  • MOTOR TREND

* RSNs (regional sports networks) vary by area.

Best basic sports lineup: DIRECTV STREAM

Price: $64.99–$134.99/mo
Live channels: 65–140+
Sports channels: 15+

Pros

  • Decent college sports lineups
  • Add-ons available

Cons

  • Limited pro sports channels
  • No league channels

DIRECTV STREAM may be a streaming twin of DIRECTV, but you’d never know it from its light sports lineup. Its basic plan, ENTERTAINMENT, gives you only four proper sports networks (ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, and NBC Sports Network) for $69.99 a month.

If you’re looking for sports from DIRECTV STREAM, the ULTIMATE plan is the way to go: it adds FS2, NBA TV, and NHL Network, as well as seven college and three other sports channels (Golf, Tennis, and Olympic). But, the biggest penalty against DIRECTV STREAM as a sports streamer overall is the complete lack of any NFL-dedicated channels.

And don’t even ask about NFL SUNDAY TICKET—that’s still a DIRECTV satellite exclusive.

AT&T TV (ULTIMATE) sports channels:

  • NBA TV
  • NHL Network
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNU
  • ESPNEWS
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • NBC Sports Network
  • AAC Network
  • Big Ten Network
  • NBC RSNs*
  • FOX RSNs*
  • Golf Channel
  • Tennis Channel
  • TVG

* RSNs (regional sports networks) vary by area.

Related sports articles

Looking for a specific sports league? Want more viewing options? Check out one of our guides or reviews to get the right TV provider for you.

Final take: Price vs. quantity in live streaming sports

Sling TV, fuboTV, and YouTube TV all stream a wide variety of sports; Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM, not so much. We assess each service’s strengths like this:

  • fuboTV kills it at soccer and international sports, though it starts expensive and only gets pricier with requisite futbol add-ons. If you live and breathe sports, this is for you—just be prepared for the bill.
  • Sling TV turns into a real sports contender only when its basic plans are combined and then beefed-up with an add-on package. But 30 sports channels for $65 a month? Not bad.
  • YouTube TV is a solid overall choice, with a loaded basic lineup of sports and entertainment channels. We also like the unlimited cloud DVR.
  • Hulu + Live TV is better as an entertainment streamer than a sports destination, but it still carries a decent lineup of mainstream sports channels.
  • DIRECTV STREAM isn’t cheap, and it doesn’t carry as many sports channels as the rest. We like it well enough as a general live TV streaming service, but a sports hub it ain’t.

Methodology

Our live TV streaming experts spent dozens of hours testing the above services to compare visual and audio quality, features, and user experience. We compared these services’ packages and channel lineups to each other and all the other major live TV streaming services to help you find real value for your money. For more details, check out our How We Rank page or our annual Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Streaming services for live sports FAQ

Which streaming services have live sports?

fuboTV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and DIRECTV STREAM all carry live pro and college sports. Philo is the only major live TV streaming service that doesn’t feature any live sports channels.

Does Amazon’s Prime Video have live sports?

While Amazon Prime Video does offer some sports channels with on-demand content, like MLB.TV and NBA League Pass, the only live sports are select NFL Thursday Night Football games.

Can I watch sports on Netflix?

While there are plenty of movies and documentaries about sports on Netflix (our favorite: Andy Samberg’s motorcycle-daredevil classic Hot Rod), you won’t find any live programming, sports or otherwise, on the service.

What is the best free streaming for sports?

While you can catch some streaming sports on free apps like Pluto TV, Xumo, and Sling Free, there is an easier way: Local ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, and Univision stations carry live sports, and all you need to watch them is an over-the-air antenna. You’ll need to buy and install the antenna, but that’s just a one-time purchase as opposed to a monthly cable or streaming service bill.

Do regional sports blackouts apply to streaming?

Regional blackouts, wherein cable providers defer to local broadcast stations for game coverage, applies to livestreaming TV just as it does with cable and satellite. But, blackouts can be worked around on streaming TV by using a VPN (virtual private network) to mask your location.