The Best Streaming Services for Sports: NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA

Best Streaming Services for Sports
YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV

We’ve got a few streaming service suggestions for those looking to watch sports like the NFL or NCAA Football. Live sports coverage is important to cable subscribers, but you can often get the same great content, and then some, from a more affordable streaming service.

If you’re looking for a cable replacement service to stream sports at home, or want to watch the game from work, family events, or even while you’re out to dinner, we have you covered.

What Channels You Need to Stream Sports

First things first, you’ll want to choose a streaming service that offers the most channels that show the sports you’re interested in. A good example is NFL content, which always airs on local broadcast channels including CBS, FOX, NBC, not to mention ESPN or NFL Network. You’ll also want the NFL RedZone, which is amazing.

Keep in mind that local networks will host local teams, so if you’re a Packers fan like myself living in Las Vegas, you probably won’t be able to catch very many Green Bay games. Instead, local channels will stream games featuring teams in this region. And while you can sign up for NFL Game Pass to watch every single game, you can’t watch them until after the game ends, which is a bummer.

Sling TV's new app on a Fire TV.
Sling TV

If you’re an MLB, NBA, or NHL fan, you’ll have to try a little harder to find a service with your channels. For example, you can watch NBA games on ABC, TNT, ESPN, or NBA TV, and you’ll want all of those. Sling TV is a big player in streaming TV, yet they don’t offer ABC, so NBA fans might have better luck with fubo or YouTube TV.

Another potential issue you’ll run into is regional channels like Fox Sports 1 and 2, Pac-12 Network, and NBC Sports affiliates in specific cities. These are great for NCAA Football, but again, many streaming services don’t offer Sports RSN (Regions Sports Network) channels. Check the channel lineup for each streaming service before signing up, and take advantage of free trials.

With that out of the way, here are your best streaming services broken down by sports.

Best Streaming Service for NFL Games: YouTube TV

There are loads of streaming services around, from Sling TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Youtube TV, Philo TV, and even DirecTV Stream. With no shortage of options, choosing the right one can be a challenge.

Youtube TV with NFL Network
YouTube TV

Luckily for NFL fans, there’s a clear-cut winner when it comes to catching the most NFL Football as possible. YouTube TV is the only streaming service with all of the channels that broadcast NFL games: CBS, FOX, ESPN, NBC, and NFL Network. More importantly, YouTube TV lets you add the NFL RedZone channel for only $11 per month, which you can add during the season and remove after your team gets eliminated from the playoffs.

  • Local Networks: CBS, FOX, NBC, (and sometimes ABC)
  • Cable Sports Networks: ESPN, FS1, FS2, & NBCSN
  • Extras: NFL Network and NFL RedZone

RedZone shows several games from all around the league on Sunday, and it cuts between every single red zone scoring opportunity. If you’ve never experienced RedZone, get ready to spend your entire Sunday on the couch. RedZone shows replays of the best plays throughout the day, then ends the day by putting together one clip showing every single touchdown.

Better yet, YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR storage means you can literally record every single NFL game if you want. Now that’s something any fan can appreciate. Try it today.

YouTube TV

Youtube TV delivers 85+ channels, including everything you need to watch the NFL. Try it today for $64.99 per month.

Runner up: Those looking for a secondary option will want to consider fuboTV or Hulu + Live TV services. fuboTV finally offers all main NFL channels now that it has ESPN, and it also has the NFL Network and RedZone, which is a huge plus. It’s $64.99. And Hulu + Live TV just added NFL Network in time for the 2021 season, but for an extra $10, totaling $75 per month.

Best Streaming Service for NCAA Football: Hulu + Live TV

Watching your favorite college football team without a cable subscription might not be as easy as catching NFL action. That said, you still have plenty of options, although we believe Hulu + Live TV is your best bet.

Hulu + Live TV Sports
Hulu

Most NCAA Football games air on major cable channels or local networks, but many smaller conference games are on regional sports networks, which are harder to come by. Here’s a breakdown of where you can catch NCAA Football.

  • Local Networks: CBS, FOX, ABC, & NBC
  • Cable Sports Networks: ESPN, FS1, & NBCSN
  • College Sports Networks: Big 10 Network, SEC Network, ACC Network, etc

As we said earlier, most streaming services don’t carry ABC, which happens to host a slew of the biggest college gameday games each week during the NCAAF season. As a result, Hulu + Live TV is your best option for college ball. Additionally, you’ll get access to Hulu’s expansive list of TV shows and movies, plus several other channels the whole family can enjoy.

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV offers endless content from NCAA Football, NFL, TV shows and more on 75+ channels. Try it today for $54.99

Runner up: A close second for streaming NCAAF is fuboTV, mainly because it offers almost everything you get from Hulu, not to mention a slew of access to other sports. To get the most you’ll need the fuboTV Elite $79.99 per month package. The big bonus for college football fans is this delivers the Pac-10 network, beIN Sports, and ESPN3 .

Best Streaming Service for the NBA: YouTube TV

With so many NBA games throughout the year, we thought finding the best streaming service would be difficult, but it wasn’t. That’s because YouTube TV wins again.

NBA on YouTube TV
YouTube TV

YouTube TV gives you access to all three major channels that show NBA games (ABC, ESPN, TNT), plus your subscription comes with NBA TV, which is a huge bonus. The only other service that offers all three and NBA TV is DirecTV Stream. Some offer a combination of the two, but not all of them.

  • Local Networks: ABC, CBS
  • Cable Sports Networks: ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT
  • Extras: NBA TV package, RSN’s

Plus, YouTube TV has a decent selection of regional sports networks to offer select games that aren’t nationally televised. Just keep in mind that with dozens of games, and many teams, you might not always be able to see your favorite team unless you get something like the NBA League Pass, which shows every single game.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV gets you 85+ channels, including ABC and TNT, not to mention NBA TV for all the action on the court. Try it today for $64.99

Runner up: Another solid option for NBA fans is DirecTV Stream (previously AT&T TV) simply because it offers all three major NBA channels, NBA TV, plus several RSN’s from Bally Sports, Fox Sports, Yes Network, AT&T SportsNet, and others, which may help you watch more games in your area. The choice package with sports starts at $84.99 per month.

Best Streaming Service for MLB: DirecTV Stream

If you don’t want to miss a single play, that triple, or a home run, we’ve picked the best streaming option for MLB fans too.

direcTV baseball
DirecTV Stream

Unfortunately, just like the NBA, with so many games in different regions, it’s hard to narrow down to just one option. Where you live or which team you want to watch will decide which option is best for you.

  • Local Networks: ABC, FOX
  • Cable Sports Networks: ESPN, FS1, FS2, TBS
  • Extras: MLB.TV, MLB Network, tons of Regional Sports Networks

That said, your best overall bet is DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV), thanks to offering every major nationally televised MLB game, plus a slew of regional sports network options. This ensures you can watch as many games as possible throughout several channels.

DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream has several packages, but the 90+ channel ‘Choice Plan’ is $84.99 a month with plenty of regional networks for MLB fans.

Runner up: A solid second-place option is fuboTV’s Elite plan for $79.99 per month, considering it offers ESPN, FS1, MLB Network, all the NBC Sports RSNs, SNY, and several AT&T SportsNet regional channel options.

Other Streaming Options

While we’ve laid out several of the best streaming options for popular sports above, those are just a few of your many options. Of course, not any single service delivers every channel, but YouTube TV is one of the best all-around choices for sports fans.

It’s also worth mentioning that some providers offer different packages or streaming tiers, which can be helpful. For example, the base fuboTV package is $64.99 but if you spend $79.99 for the Elite package, you’ll get a broad range of sports coverage and more regional channels.

Sling TV

Along with the suggestions above for Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, and DirecTV Stream, we recommend checking out Sling TV, as it offers tons of sports channels and NFL Network. You can also watch Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, several sports on NBC’s Peacock service, or sign up for smaller services including ESPN+, DAZN, NCAA March Madness Live, NFL Sunday Ticket streaming, or MLB TV.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the streaming service you choose should come down to which sports or teams you’d like to follow. But, at the same time, it may be beneficial to see what else each service offers outside of sports. That way, you’re getting everything you pay for.

For example, the sports-focused streaming service fuboTV may not have as many regular channels for TV shows, movies, and family content as YouTube TV. You need to decide what works best for you and your household.

So what are you waiting for? Here are which streaming services offer free trials, so pick one and get started today.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Based in Las Vegas, Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He’s a freelance writer for Review Geek covering roundups, apps, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and TechRadar, and he’s written over 6,000 articles. Read Full Bio »

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