Just a few years ago, sports lovers had very little options to watch their favorite NBA, NFL or NHL stars live. They either had to use the cable or get a ticket to the game. But that has changed a lot today with many people now preferring to switch to watching TV online. This also applies to how you can watch sports after cutting the cord.
Despite being expensive, many sports lovers find it difficult to ditch their cable or satellite subscription. However, all you need to know is that there are alternatives to cable TV, today more than ever before. So, let’s take a look at how to watch sports after cutting the cord?
- 1 Option #1: Watch Sports Using An HDTV Antenna
- 2 Option #2: Watch Sports Online Via Streaming Services
- 3 Where to Catch The Latest Sports Programming?
- 4 Final Words
Option #1: Watch Sports Using An HDTV Antenna
Using an HDTV antenna is usually the first go-to option for most people. There are many advantages to using HDTV antennas, but the most prominent of them is that fact that you get to do away with heavy monthly bills. This is because you’ll be watching live TV without any charge.
The antennas are usually not expensive, yet they are known to provide very satisfying results. If you live close to a broadcasting tower, you can be sure to get very good HD quality content with an indoor HDTV receiver. For those who are a little further from these towers, they will also get good signals but they will need an outdoor HDTV antenna. These are more performant than indoor receivers but they too are not expensive.
If you want to watch sports channels, your local TV station will most likely do a live broadcast of major sports games and events in your city. But let’s face it; who doesn’t want more than just a few sports events your local TV stations offer? Most HDTV antenna installations will capture some of your favorite Cable TV stations. NBC, ABC, FOX, and NBC are some major TV stations that are free to air. With proper installation and a little tuning, these channels will be captured with relative ease.
CBS, FOX, and NBC are the main channels over which the NFL airs their games. NFL lovers will definitely keep enjoying all their games immediately the cord is cut. At least one of these channels also broadcasts major soccer games, college football, the NHL, the NBA and the MLB.
Option #2: Watch Sports Online Via Streaming Services
Contrary to what many people think, many online services offer a legal means through which you can watch sports online. You might be able to get a few services offering you sports broadcast online for free, but those are usually interrupted with many adverts. To get the best of sports watching online, you will have to pay a monthly subscription or take things a little further by buying a yearly subscription which will in most cases, saves you some cash up front.
Requirements of Sports Streaming Services
It is always important to properly prepare before embarking on any project. A proper preparation helps to avoid failures when you encounter challenges in the course of the project. That principle holds true even when you plan to subscribe to online sports content. Below is a list of things to consider before choosing a streaming service to watch sports.
Buying A Streaming Box or Stick
A streaming box allows you to access the internet using your standard TV set. Though some television sets come pre-packed with a standard wireless modem that can connect to the internet, a streaming box will offer a more appealing result and better performance with a lot more functionality. There are different types of streaming boxes that will get the job of connecting your TV to your preferred online TV service. You can search online for alternatives and compare prices on Amazon, BestBuy, and other websites online. Some popular streaming boxes include Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV.
Check Your Internet Speed
The first thing to note here is that all streaming services make use of the internet to provide you with great sports programming. A slow internet connection will give a not so pleasant result because you might experience short breaks (buffering) while watching your favorite programs.
The recommended download speed for online streaming is 10Mbps. However, slower speeds of about 5Mbps might do just fine, even though your video quality might be reduced in an attempt to offer you a seamless viewing experience. You can ask your Internet Service Provider for more information, or do a speed test online (many websites do this for free – like Ookla’s SpeedTest, for example).
Know Your Sporting Calendar
If you want to watch sports after cutting the cord, knowing the season for your favorite sports disciplines will help you schedule your payment plan for your TV service. Unlike cable TV where you risk being disconnected (and charged a penalty fee for reconnection), you can actually schedule your streaming service to be available only during your favorite sports season. You can do all this without any reconnection fees. You are not obliged to pay all year long if you don’t have to.
Sports News Services
Getting regular updates on sports events is a must for football lovers. You want to keep track of all the big games and be in the know of all the latest classifications. Getting minute by minute stats and updates on your favorite sport after cutting the cord is easier than it sounds. You can subscribe to Sling TV, a renowned online streaming service for sports lovers. With that, you will have access to ESPN which will give you news feeds and regular sports center updates. DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue equally offer ESPN and other sports news TV channels in their beginner package.
Where to Catch The Latest Sports Programming?
Now you know that there are two ways to watch sports after deciding to ditch your cable TV provider. You can use an antenna or go for an online streaming service. Either way, here’s where you can watch the latest sports games – categorized by different disciplines. Keep on reading.
NFL Football League
Most of the games of the professional football league and many of your favorite Thursday Night Football games are broadcast on CBS. On NBC, you can also enjoy the Sunday Night games for a perfect end of the weekend. FOX will also provide you with all NFC games. Remember we earlier advised on installing an HDTV after cutting the cord? This here is one of the reasons.
Your popular Monday night games are equally not left out. Your Sling TV subscription comes pre-packed with ESPN that covers Monday night football games. You can equally acquire an NFL Game Pass and get free live games (and past games from the NFL since 2009).
College football can be watched over-the-air through your HDTV antenna via Fox or ABC. NBC is also likely to show some of your home-team games. Enjoy all College Football games streaming over ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3. All these channels are incorporated into the default Sling package which will cost you approximately $20 a month. You can equally have these channels using PlayStation Vue (more expensive than Sling).
Just like football, ESPN will most likely broadcast your favorite baseball games, alongside TBS. Both of these channels are available in the default Sling TV package.
ESPN broadcasts live games at least 3 times (Sunday Night, Monday Night and Wednesday Night Baseball) on a weekly basis during the regular playing season. You can also enjoy other exhibition games like the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and the Celebrity Softball Game.
TBS, on the other hand, does not own exclusive rights to the games and broadcasts a game weekly (Sundays).
NBA – Basketball
Only three main television networks air NBA games: ABC, ESPN, and TNT.
TNT is the most comprehensive TV station when it comes to NBA Basketball. You can’t miss any important games in the NBA if you follow just this channel. All games scheduled for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are aired on TNT, including NBA All-Star Games. To get a more advanced feel of the TNT – NBA coverage, subscribe to TNT overtime and get up to 4 different camera angles displayed just for your viewing pleasure.
ESPN, on the other hand, airs the NBA playoff games on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. You can also enjoy the two conference finals and the NBA Draft Lottery.
There’s quite an impressive list of TV channels that air college basketball games. Interestingly, they can be accessed without cable TV. CBS and Fox are some of these channels and they can easily be watched with the help of an HDTV antenna. It is therefore easy to watch sports and especially College Basketball after cutting the cord.
Sling TV is a good option for watching College Basketball. For a monthly subscription of just $20, you can catch all the fun on March Madness through ESPN and TNT.
One important thing to note is that there’s no guarantee all your favorite college matches will be broadcast over ABC, CBS, ESPN or TNT. Some infamous college matches do not make it to the “big” channels. College Sports Live, however, has all these covered. For a minimal amount of $10, you can access content for matches of more than 100 colleges.
If you want to watch sports after cutting your cords, soccer is probably one of the disciplines you don’t want to miss. It is not uncommon to find many free-over-air channels with programming for soccer.
There are equally many streaming services that are exclusively geared towards satisfying your every soccer need. Online live TV sources are usually the preferred method of watching soccer, as you get to not miss a game even when you’re not at home on your regular television. You can stream through your phone or computer.
Online streaming sources such as FuboTV, GOLTVM, MLS Live, and Fox Soccer offer some of the premium content from competitions such as La Liga, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League, Women’s world cup qualifiers, and many other competitions.
Watching Golf after cutting the cord usually proves a little difficult as most of the channels airing the games are typically found in Cable TV subscriptions only. Nonetheless, you can still enjoy a wide majority of late-season tournaments either on CBS or NBC, which are all free to air channels. Golf enthusiasts can, therefore, continue to enjoy The US Open, The Masters, and the Open Championship. A Sling TV subscription is a good place to search Golf sports channels.
When cutting the cord, you can be sure to watch at least the French Open as most of the games are aired free on channels that can be watched using HDTV antennas. People who want to watch sports activities including tennis games can, therefore, do so after cutting their cords.
You can also use streaming services to watch your favorite tennis games over ESPN which broadcasts the Australian open, the US Open, Wimbledon, ATP World Tour, and the American WTP Premier. You can subscribe directly to the Tennis Channel online and gain access to over 650 live events and/or watch other matches for up to seven days after they have been aired.
Many people who watch sports after cutting the cord may have wrestling as their favorite sports content. The WWE Network offers a well-organized streaming service where you can stream all your favorite matches and events.
Some events can be watched on a pay per view basis or on a monthly subscription. The WWE Network is really one of the main alternatives you’ll have to cable TV, but the truth is the service is good and packed with quite a lot of content.
Hulu Plus is equally a good option for wrestling fans, as it offers matches on demand, barely one day after they are aired. You can, therefore, enjoy your favorite Monday Night Raw and SmackDown at your convenience.
ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox air a few NHL games and could be captured with an HDTV antenna without any monthly subscriptions.
Most serious NHL fans, however, go a step further to subscribe to NHL Game Center Live, for a fee of $159 yearly. The subscription grants you access to many live games and extras.
We hope you’ve found this article to be useful. We gave our best to cover as many different sports as we can. The most important thing to understand is that you can watch sports after cutting the cord. There are dozens of different options out there, so you can quite picky when choosing.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, feel free to post a comment below. Tell us what are your favorite sports streaming services?