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What Channel Is ESPN On?

Got sports on the brain? Learn how to watch ESPN and its sister networks via cable, satellite, and live TV streaming services.

Since its launch in 1979, ESPN has regularly revolutionized how we watch sports on TV. Of course, sports broadcasting has changed a lot in recent years. Over-the-top streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, and Peacock are revving up their live sports content. But there’s still much demand for the traditional ESPN channels because of their exclusive programming.

In this play-by-play guide, we outline how to add ESPN channels to your viewing roster. We also explain the difference between ESPN and ESPN+. And, if you already have an existing TV subscription, we’ll point you in the right direction to find the channel number for ESPN.

Score a TV provider with ESPN

The first step in getting ESPN channels is determining what providers are in your area. Enter your zip code below to find the best TV service for your home turf.

Please enter a valid zip code.

What is the channel for ESPN on TV?

ESPN channel numbers can vary by TV provider location. Only satellite services like DIRECTV and DISH maintain consistent channel numbers because they’re available nationwide.

Pro tip: To find ESPN channel numbers specific to your area, click “View Plans” in the table below and enter your zip code on the provider’s website.

ESPN channel availability on popular TV providers

Provider ESPN ESPN2 ESPNews* ESPNU* ESPN Deportes* Details
Astound Broadband powered by RCN
Cox
DIRECTV 206 209 207 208 466 View plans
DISH 140 143 142 141 854 View plans
Optimum View plans
Sparklight View plans
Spectrum View plans
Verizon Fios View plans
Xfinity View plans
Xtream powered by Mediacom View plans

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by area and are subject to change.
*ESPNews, ESPNU, and ESPN Deportes may require higher-tiered plans or add-on subscriptions.

Bask in the winning spirit with ESPN

Enter your zip code to see TV providers in your area. You can also view plans and explore channel lineups specific to your location.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Get ESPN with cable or satellite

Most cable and satellite TV providers offer ESPN and other important sports channels like FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and CBS Sports Network. No matter which service you go with, you’re bound to find coverage of your favorite sport.

Here are four of our favorite cable and satellite TV providers:

Pro tip: When shopping for a TV plan, you should keep regional sports networks (RSNs) and league-specific channels on your radar. MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, and NHL Network come in handy for watching the major pro leagues.

Get ESPN with a live TV streaming service

All the major live TV streaming services carry ESPN channels. Each service has its pros and cons, so we recommend visiting our Best Streaming Services for Sports page to review how they stack up sportswise.

One of our favorite services to stream ESPN is Hulu + Live TV. Not only does it come with ESPN and ESPN2, but it also has ESPN College Extra, ESPNews, and ESPNU in its base plans. And if that’s not enough ESPN for you, Hulu + Live TV includes ESPN+ at no extra cost. That means you can seamlessly navigate between the traditional ESPN channels and ESPN+ content, all within the Hulu app.

For reference, here’s a quick look at all five of our top ways to watch ESPN without cable:

To stream live TV—especially live sports—you want fast and reliable internet. Check out our Best Internet for Streaming guide for ways to improve your streaming experience.

ESPN vs. ESPN+

ESPN upped its game in 2018 when the worldwide leader in sports expanded into streaming with ESPN+. While the streaming service is a popular destination for UFC, soccer, and college sports, it’s also a source of confusion because it doesn’t carry the same live content from the main ESPN channels.

While ESPN+ is accessible in the ESPN app, you need a separate TV provider login to access anything from ESPN and ESPN2. Sometimes ESPN+ features simulcasts from the main ESPN channels—it occasionally happens with Monday Night Football. But you’re better off pairing ESPN+ with a cable, satellite, or live TV streaming service for total ESPN coverage.

What’s the cheapest way to get ESPN?

Price:
$40.00–$55.00/mo.
Channels:
30–45+
Features:
50 hr. DVR included; 30+ add-on channels and packages

Data effective as of post date. Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sling TV offers the cheapest way to get ESPN. The Sling Orange plan costs $40 a month and comes with ESPN and ESPN2. You even get in-app access to ESPN3, a digital-only overflow network that airs tons of live sports that ESPN can’t fit onto its main channels.

The biggest downside to Sling TV is that it doesn’t carry many local channels, which are vital for watching events like the Super Bowl and the World Series. Luckily, an over-the-air (OTA) antenna can pick up channels in your area, and there’s a slick Sling TV deal featuring a free antenna. Plus, ESPN3 usually simulcasts extra Formula One coverage and live sports airing on ABC, so you can still get those marquee ESPN on ABC broadcasts through Sling TV.

What’s on ESPN?

ESPN airs news and analysis programs, debate shows, documentaries, and live games. The channel basically covers every sport under the sun—especially when ESPN8: The Ocho programming rolls around each year with its obscure sports. Delivering sports content 24/7 is a bold strategy, but it pays off for us fanatics.

Here’s just a fraction of what you’ll find on ESPN and ESPN2.

  • 30 for 30
  • Around the Horn
  • Baseball Tonight
  • College Football Final
  • College Football Live
  • College GameDay
  • E:60
  • ESPN Hockey Night
  • First Take
  • Get Up!
  • Monday Night Countdown
  • Monday Night Football
  • NBA Countdown
  • NBA Friday
  • NBA Today
  • NBA Wednesday
  • NFL Live
  • NFL Matchup
  • NFL Primetime
  • NFL Rewind
  • Outside the Lines
  • Pardon the Interruption
  • Saturday Night Baseball
  • SportsCenter
  • This Just In
  • WNBA on ESPN

What’s ESPN?

ESPN is a basic cable network dedicated to all things sports. Founded in the late 1970s, the channel was originally the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. But that name eventually became “ESPN” before its debut on September 7, 1979, at 7 p.m. Eastern with the first broadcast of SportsCenter.

Over the years, ESPN helped popularize events like the NFL Draft and created its own, like the X Games. ABC’s purchase of ESPN in 1984 took the channel to another level, introducing more live games from leagues like MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL. Now, ESPN is still that same channel from 1979 airing SportsCenter daily, but it’s also a major media outlet with an international TV, radio, and internet presence.

What channel is ESPN on FAQ

Can you watch ESPN live for free?

No, there isn’t a long-term way to watch live ESPN channels for free. If you need quick access to ESPN, you can sign up for a free live TV streaming trial. Services like Fubo and YouTube TV usually offer free trials throughout the year.

Is the ESPN app free?

Yes, the ESPN app is free to download on mobile devices, smart TVs, and TV-connected devices like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. To access the app’s live and on-demand ESPN programming (sometimes known as WatchESPN), you need to log in with an active TV provider subscription that includes ESPN channels.

Are ESPN and ESPN+ in the same app?

Yes, you can stream live ESPN channels and ESPN+ programming in the ESPN app and on ESPN.com. Video content exclusive to ESPN+ displays the ESPN+ logo in the top left corner to differentiate it from ESPN network programming.

Does ESPN Classic still exist?

No, ESPN Classic went off the air in the US at the end of 2021. Some ESPN Classic programming is now on ESPN+ and college conference channels like ACC Network, Longhorn Network, and SEC Network.

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