These days there are more options than ever to stream sports. With so many options to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to decide which service is best for you. So let’s take a look and try to help narrow down the best sports streaming service for you.
The main players
The major streaming options available generally fall into two categories. The first are “Netflix” style streamers that offer live and on-demand content all from their own library of content (and live sports broadcast rights). These include ESPN+, Paramount+, and Peacock. The second are streaming services that more closely resemble traditional cable or satellite TV services. That is, they include a lineup of different live TV networks, with available packages that expand that lineup, as well as select on-demand content. Fubo, Sling, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Stream fall into this category.
Whether you go one way or the other, or go with a combination of the two, it depends what kind of sports fan you are.
Casual sports fans who are interested in a wide variety of leagues and games, but nothing consistently specific, have it a little easier. If you’re a hardcore fan of specific teams, your options largely depend on the specific channels you need.
Sports Streaming Service Comparison
Here’s a breakdown of the best services:
|Sports||NBA, MLB, NHL, UFC, golf, F1, boxing, tennis, etc||NFL, golf, March Madness, etc||NFL, MLB, USFL, rugby, horse racing, Olympics, etc||NFL, NBA, MLB, etc||NBA, NHL, MLB, golf, F1, etc||NBA, MLB, NHL, golf, tennis, etc|
|Live soccer||La Liga, Bundesliga, USL, etc||UCL, Serie A, NWSL, etc||EPL, Chivas, USMNT, USWNT, World Cup||EPL, UCL, Liga MX, Euros, World Cup, etc||EPL, Ligue 1, Copa Lib, MLS, etc||World Cup, MLS, USL, etc|
|Local Regional Sports Networks||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes|
ESPN+ is a great option for the casual sports fan. There’s a robust amount of soccer, including every single league game from LaLiga, Bundesliga, and the USL Championship and League One. A wide variety of pro and college sports is also featured, including some pretty niche stuff, so you’re never short of something to watch. Tennis, motorsports, lacrosse, cricket, golf, UFC and more feature on the service. And you get select big league games as well from the NFL, MLB, NBA.
Our Pick:Includes: Bundesliga, LaLiga, FA Cup, & More
For hockey fans, NHL Power Play is built in to ESPN+ at no additional cost. It has over 1,000 out-of-market games throughout the season. That means if you, like me, live outside your favorite team’s TV market, you can get almost every regular season game through ESPN+. Even better, each game stream offers you the choice of the home or away regional broadcast. The only games not included are national TV broadcasts on channels such as TNT or NHL Network. With the uncertainty surrounding the future of regional sports networks, everything landing on ESPN+ directly would be a convenient direction for the NHL (and others) to go.
And at $9.99/month, or $99.99/year, it’s a darned good bargain for all the content you get. For as little as $12.99/month you can upgrade to the Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+ and Hulu for a huge library of movies and shows.
Paramount+ is very soccer heavy when it comes to sports content. The headliners are UEFA’s Champions League, Europa League and Conference League competitions, from which every match is shown. Italy’s Serie A, the Argentine Primera and Brasileirão leagues also have the full league schedules available live. For NWSL fans Paramount+ is essential, as nearly every regular season and Challenge Cup match is exclusively on the service.
Our Pick:Includes: Champions League, Europa League, Serie A, NWSL, Argentine Primera, Brasileirão, Scottish Premiership, Women's Super League, & More
When it comes to other sports, Paramount+ is limited to select NFL games and Combate Global MMA. The “Premium” tier does include your local CBS channel live, which features occasional NCAA sports, golf, and other events.
But, if you dig high-level soccer (and Star Trek 🖖), at $4.99/month for the “Essential” ad-supported plan, Paramount+ is a crazy good value.
NBC’s Peacock service is best known as the home of the English Premier League. Games not shown live on the USA Network or NBC are shown on the service. After that, soccer on Peacock shifts to Telemundo’s Spanish coverage, with the men’s and women’s World Cups, Chivas (Liga MX) home games, and the United States men’s and women’s national teams.
Our Pick:Includes: Exclusive Premier League games, USMNT/USWNT & Women's World Cup in Spanish, & More
Other sports on Peacock range from the NFL, USFL, featured MLB games, pro and international rugby, horse racing, golf, motorsports, WWE, and of course, the Olympic games and related events. In addition to sports, you also get movies and shows that are exclusive to Peacock.
Fubo offers as many as 229 live channels depending on the plan you choose. These include major local networks, plus FS1/2, NFL Network, beIN SPORTS, TUDN, USA, ESPN, SEC Network, ACC Network, Golf Channel, CBS Sports Network, UniMás, Universo, Big 10 Network, and Fubo Sports which has certain exclusive soccer games.
Very important for fans of your local teams, Fubo carries a wide variety of regional sports networks. Altitude Sports, AT&T SportsNet, Bally Sports, MSG, NBC Sports, ROOT Sports and SNY are available, depending on your region. In general, you’ll need one of these networks to watch your local NHL, MLB, or NBA team’s games.
Our Pick:Includes: Premier League, Liga MX, Ligue 1, + 84 Sports Channels
Having access to beIN SPORTS is huge for Ligue 1 fans, as they are the exclusive rights holder for all games in the US. Copa América and Copa Sudamericana are also exclusive to beIN, with overflow games from all three competitions on beIN CONNECT, which Fubo subscribers have access to.
Things like NFL RedZone, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, and international sports (which includes GolTV and FOX Soccer Plus) are available as add-ons.
In addition to all the sports networks, there’s plenty of entertainment and news channels as well. It’s very similar to the offering your cable or satellite provider would have.
Fubo is much pricier than the steaming options above, starting at $74.99/month. But crucially it carries channels that show in-market live games for your local teams, which (except for NWSL and USL) are not available with any of those services. And you’re getting dozens of live channels from a large spectrum of content.
Sling is similar to Fubo, but with fewer channels and three levels. You can get 31-44 channels with a base plan (regularly priced at $40-$55 per month). These include FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, NFL Network, TNT, and USA. For your local NBC, CBS or ABC affiliate, you’ll need an antenna.
The Sports Extra add-on adds SEC Network, ACC Network, PAC 12 Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, ESPNU, ESPNews, and beIN SPORTS.
Our Pick:Includes: Over 44 channels including ESPN, FS1, USA, beIN SPORTs, & More
The killer for Sling however is the lack of regional sports networks. As of today, the service only offers NBC Sports Bay Area, California, and Washington. Sling once carried all Fox Sports Net (now Bally Sports) regional channels, but dropped them in 2019. I was once an enthusiastic Sling subscriber, but when I lost my teams’ games, I was out.
The cost savings compared to something like Fubo are pretty good for Sling, as long as you’re not looking to watch your local teams consistently.
DirecTV Stream is analogous to Fubo, with a large variety of live channels, similar to their traditional satellite service. Packages start at $64.99/month.
The cheapest plan comes with ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1. Higher tiers offer ACC Network, Big 10 Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPNews, ESPNU, FS2, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, Tennis Channel, and TUDN.
Our Pick:Includes: Over 100 channels including ESPN, FOX Sports, TUDN, & More
DirecTV Stream does carry a wide array of RSNs, including Altitude, MASN, AT&T SportsNet, ROOT Sports, NESN, Yes Network, NBC Sports, Marquee Sports, and Bally Sports. So it’s likely your local teams are covered.
The caveat is to get the RSNs you need to subscribe to the “Choice” ($89.99/month) tier or higher.
At the end of the day, the best sports streaming service for you comes down to what games you want.
If you want to watch your local NHL, MLB or NBA teams, you’ll need regional RSNs. And that means Fubo or DirecTV Stream are the way to go. For NHL fans who’ve moved away from their team, ESPN+ is a great choice to catch most of those games.
For your local soccer team(s), your choices are clear cut. USL fans need ESPN+, and NWSL fans need Paramount+. For MLS, MLS Season Pass is the only way to see all your favorite team’s games, as only a few games throughout the season are available on traditional channels (and even less, if any, of those will feature your team). Unfortunately for MLS fans, MLS Season Pass is more expensive than either ESPN+ or Paramount+, and offers no additional content beyond MLS.
For the general sports fan, ESPN+ is your top option for the variety of sports it offers, plus for a few extra bucks you can get access to a boatload of movies and shows with the Disney Bundle, saving you a ton of money over something like Fubo, or standard cable/satellite.
We hope this breakdown has been helpful in helping you find the streaming service that best satisfies your sports fandom.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Women’s World Cup, Euro 2024 & Gold Cup
The New Home of MLS
- Price: $14.99/mo. for MLS Season Pass
- Watch every MLS game including playoffs & Leagues Cup
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $9.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $12.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & FA Cup
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $5.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & Brasileirāo