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Watch the World Cup without cable or satellite TV

So, for soccer fans in the United States, all of the viewing options are in for this summer’s World Cup. You can only choose to watch the games on FOX Sports or Telemundo Deportes, right? Actually there are several options for you to consider.

All of the options below are legal. You can pick up a pair of Rabbit Ears to watch most of the games for free. Or you can use a legal streaming service that also includes a DVR so you don’t miss a single match. And then there’s the option of a VPN so you can watch a broadcast from overseas. Plus you can always go to your nearest pub as long as they’ll be open for the kickoff times (most games will start at 8am ET, 11am ET and 2pm ET).

The 2018 FIFA World Cup marks the first time that cord cutters in the United States will be able to watch the world’s greatest sports tournament without requiring a cable or satellite TV subscription.

It’s also the very first time that FOX Sports and Telemundo will broadcast the World Cup after ESPN and Univision lost out on the rights.

While times have changed since the 2014 Brazil tournament, neither FOX Sports nor Telemundo Deportes are shouting from the rooftops that cord cutters can watch the tournament. In fact, the opposite is true. Both broadcasters will want you to watch as many of the games through traditional television in order to appease advertisers and produce impressive TV viewing numbers. FOX Sports even has gone to the extent of removing the World Cup 2018 streaming coverage from its FOX Soccer Match Pass app in order to “force” people to watch it with a TV subscription.

But the good news is that there are several legal options to watch 2018 World Cup without a TV subscription. And we’ve spent tens of hours conducting interviews and researching all of the possibilities to ensure you have all of the information you need to make the decision that’s best for you.

 

OPTION 1: GO OLD SCHOOL WITH RABBIT EARS

If you’re fortunate to have access to your local over-the-air FOX and Telemundo stations in your area through the use of an indoor HD antenna, you can conceivably watch all of the World Cup games for free.

FOX Sports will broadcast 38 of the 64 games via the over-the-air FOX network. The other 26 games will be via FS1, which requires a TV/satellite subscription. However, you can watch most of the remaining 26 games via your local Telemundo over-the-air channel (again with an indoor HD antenna or a pair of “rabbit ears”.)

Between the two channels, you’ll be able to watch almost all of the games. The only ones you’ll miss out on are the games televised on FS1 and Universo during the final days of the First Round of the World Cup where there are simultaneous games being shown. Both Universo and FS1 require a TV/cable subscription.

 

OPTION 2: BEST CASE SCENARIO

While FOX Sports has made more World Cup games available via over-the-air television than ever before, it doesn’t help cord cutters who want an easy way to access and record every single game. With most of the games kicking off at 8am ET, 11am ET and 2pm ET each day, a DVR is going to be a must-have.

Out of all of the legal streaming solutions available, the one that we recommend the most is fubo — for three reasons. One, fubo includes FS1, FOX (which fubo has coverage of in 90% of US households) and Telemundo (which fubo offers in 17 markets nationwide). Two, fubo includes a DVR with 30 hours of storage at no extra cost. And three, fubo has gone above and beyond with offering so much World Cup coverage this summer (plus they offer a free 7-day trial).

 

Other legal streaming options include Sling Blue for $25 per month, which includes FS1 and FOX (in select cities). Sling TV offers a DVR with 50 hours of storage for an extra $5 per month. YouTube TV is available in select cities for $40/month with a DVR included. Sling TV is offering several different international packages that include commentaries in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Arabic. Last but not least, PlayStation has a product called Vue that’s $40 per month and also includes a DVR (as well as FOX and FS1, etc).

If you have an indoor HD antenna or pair of Rabbit Ears, another option to consider is a subscription to Sling TV’s Best of Spanish TV for $10/month which includes Universo. Combined with the free, over-the-air Telemundo network, you could make sure you don’t miss any of the games in Spanish-language. Sling’s Best of Spanish TV package doesn’t include a DVR, however.

 

OPTION 3: WATCH BROADCASTS FROM OVERSEAS WITH A VPN

Another option to consider is signing up with a VPN service.

Plus when using a VPN, your ISP will have difficulty slowing down your connection so you’ll experience less buffering when watching the World Cup, a tournament you’ve waited four years for.

There are several VPN services to choose from. VyprVPN is the leading one and offers a free 3-day trial.

 

OPTION 4: BROADCASTER APPS

All of the World Cup games will be streamed via the official apps from FOX Sports and Telemundo Deportes. However, you need a cable/satellite subscription to log into these apps.

FOX’s apps are FOX Sports GO and FOX Sports Mobile. Both require authentication to verify that you subscribe to FS1 through your cable or satellite TV subscription.

Telemundo’s app is named Telemundo Deportes en Vivo. As of press time, a Telemundo spokesperson said “Telemundo is still considering its approach on authentication for World Cup content,” so it’s possible the Spanish-language broadcaster may allow some access to games for cord cutters without requiring authentication. But don’t count on it.

The FOX Sports GO and FOX Sports Mobile apps have been upgraded recently in preparation for the World Cup. There’s also the FOX Soccer Match Pass app, but FOX Sports decided not to make any of those games available via that streaming service.

One workaround with FOX Sports GO is that you can subscribe to fubo and log in to the FOX Sports Go with your fubo credentials. But if you’re going to do that, you can just watch games on the fubo app. But having access to FOX Sports GO via fubo is a good backup to keep in mind.

 

 

 

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Eric T

    June 15, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Anyone else having issues with their Fox affiliates cutting away or ignoring the World Cup? My Fox affiliate just cut away from Spain-Portugal right before kick-off for the People’s Court…this shit pisses me off.

    • Christopher Harris

      June 15, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Try seeing if you can watch the game on Telemundo or log into FOX Sport GO since your local FOX station is clueless. Sorry.

      • Eric T

        June 15, 2018 at 2:31 pm

        Good idea, just disappointing that my Fox affiliate disrespects the World Cup.

  2. ConfusedFan

    June 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Learning the hard way, Fox airs WC matches on Fox and FS1, and mimics this in their apps for some awful reason. Live matches aired on FOX will not be available as a live-stream on the Fox Sports app, just the bonus feeds (the team streams include the broadcast in a small format).

    My cable provider provides watchtvanywhere live stream access to Fox Sports, but not FXNOW for some reason (I have FOX in my channel package). For me without access to a TV during most of the day when matches are played this is absolutely frustrating, since it means I’ll be blocked from viewing any live matches aired on FOX on my mobile device.

    I do not understand why this is even the case? Why not stream all matches on Fox Sports like they advertise during their own broadcast? I’m very confused.

    • Christopher Harris

      June 15, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      The issue is that your local FOX station where you live is probably not owned and operated by FOX, so those games won’t be shown live via the FOX Sports Go app.

      One alternative is to look at fuboTV. They have FOX coverage in 91% of U.S. households, including 50 of the top 50 and 136 markets total.

  3. German

    June 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    FYI, fubotv is no longer offering $19.99 for the first month

  4. Ian

    May 25, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Will Fox Soccer MatchPass show WC matches?

  5. SomosOrgulloYPasión

    May 18, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Who has the 2018 Toulon Tournament T.V. rights for the United States?

    • Christopher Harris

      May 18, 2018 at 11:10 am

      I haven’t heard any details yet. Last time, the tournament was on beIN SPORTS Connect. If I get an update, I’ll add to it in this comment.

  6. SoccerFan

    May 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Chris
    I believe that nobody is providing 4K stream, correct? I am using Fubo, do you know if their stream of fs1 and fox is 1080 or 720? How about the fps?
    Thanks

    • Christopher Harris

      May 16, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      fuboTV’s streams of FS1 and FOX are 60 FPS. I believe they’re also 1080p too.

      Only HiSense TV’s can play a 4K stream via an app that was created between HiSense and FOX called “FOX Sports: 2018 FIFA World Cup Edition”.

  7. Brad

    May 16, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Great info, Chris. Thanks. Sorry about Swansea.

  8. Robert

    May 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Will you lost a article on how you can listen to a audio stream/radio only vision? Haven’t heard if It will be on FOX radio which I doubt.

    • Christopher Harris

      May 15, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      When I get details about radio, I’ll write a separate article about that. But so far, I haven’t heard a word regarding who will be broadcasting the radio coverage.

      • John

        May 16, 2018 at 8:46 am

        SiriusXM FC adverts that the games will be aired on Sirius via Fox Sports Radio, SiriusXM FC will just be doing coverage.

      • Azer

        May 16, 2018 at 10:34 am

        Hi Chris,
        I have a question for you about the commentary for the World Cup.
        Why won’t Fox Sports use one of their best Mr. Ross Fletcher? he’s great commentator did a couple of Bundesliga games for Fox this past season. Is Mr. Fletcher no longer with Fox?
        Why not Ross Dyer and pair him with Ian Joy? both talented, knowledgeable.
        There is also Cullum Williams who I believe is on the Fox payroll, he’s from the UK currently works as a commentator for Minnesota United on Fox Sports North. Why won’t they include these guys, all three are domestic and talented. The team Fox has assembled is not even the B team, rather lower.
        I’m sorry for going off topic on this article but it’s related.
        Thank you Chris.

        • Christopher Harris

          May 16, 2018 at 11:05 am

          Hi Azer, I’m surprised that Ross Fletcher wasn’t included in the team of commentators. When he was paired with Keith Costigan on the Europa League commentaries this season, he was superb. They both were, in fact.

          Why FOX has decided not to hire him for the World Cup comes down to, I believe, FOX’s penchant to hire mostly American commentators instead of the best commentators that are available.

          I don’t believe Ross Fletcher is a full-time FOX Sports employee. I think he’s a freelancer. Same with Ross Dyer (although I may be mistaken since he’s on a lot more than Ross Fletcher, and could be a part-time employee).

          I’ve heard good things about Cullum Williams but I haven’t heard him commentate.

          Thanks for taking the time to share your comments.

          • vjones

            May 25, 2018 at 4:20 pm

            i’m dreading tomorrow, having to hit the mute button when i realize it is the dreadful duo (strong/holden). everytime this year when they’ve done a CL game i wonder WTF is wrong w/ fox sports, but then there is fox alt news which is just as bizarre….. ; (

            • Christopher Harris

              May 25, 2018 at 4:25 pm

              Well, the good news is that the UEFA Champions League final will be the last time FOX Sports is broadcasting that competition.

  9. Lovac

    May 15, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    FoxSportsGo app IOS version 4.0 released yesterday includes the ability to replay previously aired content, and I already see replays of some soccer games available. It seems FOX upgraded its app, so it could be an alternative to having a DVR-supported subscription.

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