The Best Sports Streaming Services

The best sports streaming service is all about live games. We scored each service on the number of channels they carry that air both national and local games, as well as additional perks like DVR storage and simultaneous streams. Each package will change depending on your location, so be sure to check your zip code when shopping around.

The 4 Best Sports Streaming Services

Best
Overall
PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue
$45 per month for comprehensive NFL, NBA, and MLB coverage.
Pros
All the national games
Strong offering of regional sports networks
Unlimited cloud DVR storage
Five simultaneous streams
Cons
No NHL Network
No European soccer

Why we chose it

All the national games

PlayStation Vue’s "Core" package ($50) was the only option we found that carried every national game from America’s top three leagues — the NFL, NBA, and MLB. (It also has the most games for car racing, and college football and basketball.) The package includes the big four networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — along with cable channels like ESPN, TNT, and TBS. PlayStation Vue especially stands out is its inclusion of each league’s independent network. The Core package comes with the NFL Network, MLB Network, and NBA TV, channels that no other provider offers. This ensures you’ll never miss out on a national TV game.

Strong offering of regional sports networks

We know that catching local team games is a necessity for sports fans, and the PlayStation Vue Core package has the largest collection of regional sports networks around. It includes every channel under the Fox Sports and NBC Sports umbrella, as well as independents like New England Sports Network and YES. That means you’ll always have a way to access your favorite MLB, NBA, and NHL teams' local games.

PlayStation Vue is also unique in that it lets you stream regional sports networks out of market. That means you can keep up with your favorite team on a business trip or while visiting family out of state. No other provider offered this perk. Services like YouTube TV and DIRECTV NOW only allow you to stream those networks if you’re within your billing zip code.

Unlimited cloud DVR storage

One of the greatest perks PlayStation Vue offers is its unlimited cloud storage. If you’re running late and don’t want to miss the beginning of a game, for instance, this feature can be a lifesaver. And while most providers place a limit on how much you can store, PlayStation is completely unlimited. The only downside? You’ll only be able to store it for 28 days.

Five simultaneous streams

Most providers only allow between two and three devices to stream TV programming from the same account at the same time. PlayStation Vue lets you stream five. This feature is especially useful for households where everyone wants to watch something different. Between five streams and unlimited cloud DVR storage, you’ll never have to miss a big game again.

Points to consider

No NHL Network

If you're mostly interested in hockey, PlayStation Vue has one drawback: It doesn’t carry the NHL Network. You’ll still get all the national hockey games on NBC, NBC Sports, USA, and NBC — and the local games on your regional sports network. But if you're a huge fan, this point is worth taking into consideration.

No European soccer

PlayStation Vue also isn't the best option for fans of European soccer. While it does carry every channel that airs MLS games, PlayStation Vue doesn’t have anything that show games from conferences like the English Premier League or La Liga. If soccer is what you watch the most, FuboTV is a much better option, with 11 different channels devoted to the sport.

Best for
Soccer
Fubo TV
FuboTV
$40 per month for the best selection of soccer channels.
Pros
11 European soccer channels
Strong offering of regional sports networks
30 hours of free cloud DVR storage
Cons
Not a good option for other sports
Only two simultaneous streams

Why we chose it

11 European soccer channels

Fubo TV blows the competition out of the water in one very specific area: European soccer leagues. It has 11 different channels of beIN Sports, and it’s the exclusive broadcaster of La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Copa del Rey (excluding the final), CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers, Football League Championship matches, and Real Madrid TV. In addition, Fubo carries NBC Sports, the U.S. provider of English Premier League games, generally regarded as the top league in the world. If all that isn't enough for soccer junkies, Fubo also carries a number of channels that broadcast MLS games like Fox, FS1, and Univision.

Strong offering of regional sports networks

If you follow the MLS more than the European leagues, Fubo’s extensive collection of regional sports networks make it a strong option. It has all of the Fox Sports and NBC Sports stations, as well as independents like the MSG Network. You can check to see if your local NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL teams are covered in Fubo’s local networks guide.

If you want a service primarily to follow your local MLS team, just be sure to check your zip code before purchasing: Teams like Los Angeles FC and Chicago Fire have exclusive deals with streaming services like YouTube TV and ESPN+, so you won’t be able to find them in any other cable or streaming package.

30 hours of free cloud DVR storage

Fubo offers 30 hours of storage for free. There's no option for upgrading, but unlike PlayStation Vue and Philo, you can keep the content for as long as you want, so you won’t have to worry about a show deleting itself before you can watch it.

Points to consider

Not a good option for other sports

If you’re not completely sport-monogamous, you may find Fubo inadequate. It’s missing a lot of channels that are essential for fans of other sports — namely ABC, ESPN, TNT, and TBS. Football lovers might find that they can get by with Fubo; the only channel it’s missing is ESPN, which means no Monday Night Football. But Fubo only carries two of the six channels that show national MLB games, and only one out of four for the NBA, the worst coverage we saw for these sports.

Only two simultaneous streams

If you live in a small household, two devices streaming from one account might be plenty. But if you have a bigger family with diverse TV tastes, this might not be enough. Fubo does let you up that number to three for an extra $5.99 a month. Still, most providers offer between three and five streams right off the bat, without requiring you to pay extra.

Best for
NHL
YouTube TV
YouTube TV
$40 per month for the most hockey channels of any provider.
Pros
Every channel that shows NHL games
Strong offering of regional sports networks
Unlimited cloud DVR storage
Cons
No NFL Network
Not compatible with Fire TV

Why we chose it

Every channel that shows NHL games

If you’re a diehard hockey fan, there are only two companies out there that let you watch every nationally televised NHL game: DIRECTV NOW and YouTube TV. YouTube TV's $40 package represents the cheapest option. This package also includes every other cable channel the NHL shows national games on: NBC, NBC Sports, USA, and CNBC.

Strong offering of regional sports networks

YouTube TV offers every Fox Sports and NBC Sports affiliate, plus a number of independent channels like NESN and YES. In total, it’s tied for first with PlayStation Vue for the most regional sports networks for NHL fans: Out of 24 American cities with NHL teams, both carry 17 of the RSNs that broadcast games. Unfortunately for fans of the New York teams, YouTube TV doesn’t currently carry any of the MSG networks. If those are must-haves for you, the only services that offer them are Fubo and DIRECTV NOW.

Unlimited cloud DVR storage

YouTube TV offered by far the most generous DVR feature that we saw. You get unlimited space, and there’s no expiration date on the content that you record. Most packages offer one of these two perks, but not both. YouTube TV lets you record as much as you want and never once feel bad about it.

Points to consider

No NFL Network

The biggest omission in YouTube TV’s package of sports channels is that it's missing the NFL Network, which shows 13 regular season games, eight of which are exclusive to the channel. That’s a big hit for NFL fans — there’s a decent chance your team will be involved in one of those eight games. Even if it’s not, fantasy football players will be stuck monitoring those games from their phones, a much less enjoyable experience.

Not compatible with Fire TV

Due to the ongoing feud between Amazon and Google, YouTube TV (owned by Google) isn’t available on any of Amazon’s Fire TV products. When we reviewed TV streaming devices earlier this year, the Fire TV was our favorite because of its speed, 4K video compatibility, and intuitive interface. It’s also one of the most popular devices out there, coming in second behind Roku with 24% of the market, so the lack of compatibility with YouTube TV is a big loss.

Best
Budget
DirecTV Now
DirecTV Now
$35 per month for most national games (cheaper than competitors).
Pros
Cheapest price
All the Big Four networks
Strong offering of regional sports networks
Cons
No league channels
Weaker perks

Why we chose it

Cheapest price

If you’re a sports fan who wants to catch your local team plus the occasional national game, DIRECTV NOW's "Live a Little" package is more budget-friendly than other options — $40 vs. the more typical $50. And while it’s missing league-specific channels, like the NFL Network and MLB TV, we think DIRECTV NOW is the best all-around value if you want more than just sports, offering more popular channels, like Discovery, History, and FX, than any of its competitors.

All the Big Four networks

DIRECTV NOW includes all the major networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — in its "Live a Little" package. These are by far the most important channels for sports fans. They show all the NFL games (aside from the eight Thursday Night Football games exclusive to the NFL Network), playoff and regular season games from the MLB, NBA, and NHL, and all the major golf tournaments. If you’re a sports fan who wants to catch the biggest games from every sport, these are the channels you’ll need.

Strong offering of regional sports networks

DIRECTV NOW’s lineup of regional sports networks was on par with our other top picks: Everything from Fox Sports and NBC Sports, plus a smattering of independents like MSG and YES Network. Coverage was a little patchier than we saw with PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV, though. DIRECTV NOW doesn’t have any regional sports networks in cities like Boston or Seattle, for instance, but we found those kinds of blackouts in most services.

Points to consider

No league channels

If you’re a huge fan of one sport and want to have every channel that broadcasts its live games, DIRECTV isn't the best option. The NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network are all available, but you’ll have to upgrade to a more expensive plan — and the NFL Network isn’t available at all. DIRECTV is best for casual fans who don’t want to pay more for league-specific networks.

Weaker perks

Of the major live TV streaming services, DIRECTV NOW scored the second worst in our evaluation of extra perks like cloud DVR storage and simultaneous streams (rock bottom was Sling). You only get 20 hours of DVR storage, and recordings delete after 30 days. You’ll also only be able to stream on two devices at once. Compared to PlayStation Vue — unlimited storage and five simultaneous streams — this is pretty meager.

Guide to Live Sports Streaming

How to choose a streaming service

Decide what sports are important to you

The sports you follow most closely determine which streaming service you should go with. Do you just want to catch the big games from every sport without paying extra for niche league channels like the ACC Network? Do you want to see as many NFL games as possible, regardless of who’s playing? Or do you only watch your local region’s pro teams? To make it easier to find a package tailored to your specific preferences, we've put together a list of all the major channels that show live games for each league:

  • NFL: CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, NFL Network
  • MLB: ESPN, ESPN 2, Fox, FS1, MLB Network, TBS, Regional Sports Networks
  • NCAA Football: ABC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, ESPN U, Big Ten, SEC, PAC-12, ACC
  • NASCAR: ABC, Fox, NBC, NBC Sports, FS1
  • NBA: ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, Regional Sports Networks
  • NHL: NBC, NBC Sports, NHL Network, USA, CNBC, Regional Sports Networks
  • Men’s Soccer: NBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, USA, Fox, FS1, ESPN, ESPN 2, Univision, Regional Sports Networks, beIN Sports
  • NCAA Basketball: ACC, Big Ten, CBS, CBS Sports, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, ESPN U, Fox, FS1, FS2, NBC Sports, Pac-12, SEC, TBS, TNT, TruTV
  • PGA Golf: CBS, NBC, Golf Channel, TNT

Check coverage

Regional sports networks and the "big four" channels are important for sports fans — but the availability of these channels can vary by location. The recommendations we made are based on tests we ran using Seattle, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston as our cities of residence. But after you determine the sports and channels you want in your lineup, we'd suggest checking your specific zip code against the providers you're interested in.

Explore current promotions

It’s a good time to sign up for a streaming service. Companies are in an arms race to obtain channels and customers, and they’re offering some pretty incredible deals to entice you. Sling, for example, is currently running a promotion where you can get either a Roku Express or HDTV antenna for free when you prepay for two months of service.

Connect to your TV

To stream sports, you'll need a strong internet connection (see below for recommended speeds) along with a way to access the internet through your TV. Most TVs sold in the past several years have the technology necessary to connect directly to the internet. You can also use a gaming console like Xbox or PlayStation. However, these options may not allow you to download the specific streaming service app that you’ve settled on. If you don’t have a TV or console (or it’s just not compatible), you’ll need to purchase a streaming device like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV separately. We discuss our favorites in our main review of TV streaming services.

Sports Streaming FAQ

What is a regional sports network (RSN)?

Regional sports networks are the cable channels that broadcast your local teams’ live games. Because these channels represent the only way to see most MLB, NBA, and NHL games live, they’re extremely important for sports fans. Most of them are operated by Fox Sports and NBC Sports. Almost all streaming services have deals with these two companies, but it's important to check availability in your zip code, as some areas have more access than others (and deals are constantly being renegotiated, as evinced by the May 2018 split between Sinclair and PlayStation Vue).

Why are some local networks only available on demand?

If you live in a major market, then ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and their local affiliate channels are probably all available. But if you live in a smaller city or rural area, some channels might only be available on demand — or not at all. This is because local affiliates are generally owned by a company other than ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. These local affiliates require providers to sign separate contracts for channel access. That’s not a problem for big cities and major markets, like New York or LA, but some providers won't negotiate comprehensive access for less populated areas.

Can I stream my local team’s games when I’m traveling?

Generally, regional sports networks are only available to stream when you’re in the same zip code as your billing address. The only exception we found was PlayStation Vue, which lets you stream your home RSN from anywhere in the country, a useful feature for those who travel a lot but still want to keep up with their local teams.

What internet speed do I need to stream sports?

The FCC recommends at least 5-8 Mbps download speeds for HD streaming, and 25 Mbps for 4K Ultra HD. Keep in mind, those speeds are for streaming from one device. The more devices you’re using at one time, the higher the speeds you’ll need for glitch-free streaming. (Trust us, there’s nothing worse than a stream freezing in the final minutes of a big game.) If you’re not sure how fast your internet is, Ookla’s Speedtest.net is an easy way to measure your connection.

What if my TV doesn’t have an HMDI port?

TVs more than ten years old generally don’t come with HDMI ports, which is how most streaming devices connect to your TV. If you have an old TV, you have three options: Buy a new TV, purchase a Roku Express+, or invest in an HDMI to AVI converter. We think the simplest option is to go with the Roku Express+, which retails around $35, and has options to connect via HDMI or the red, white, and yellow composite jacks on older TVs. If you’d rather go the converter route, the New York Times recommends a model from Cirago for $70, although there are several cheaper versions on Amazon for closer to $20. This would allow you to use any streaming device you want, but be warned that there have been some complaints about converters not working well with older TVs.

The Best Sports Streaming Services: Summed Up

PlayStation Vue
Fubo TV
YouTube TV
DIRECTV NOW
Best Overall
Best for Soccer
Best for NHL
Best Budget
Cloud DVR Storage
Unlimited (stores for 28 days)
30 hours free; 500 hours for $10
Unlimited
20 hours free (stores for 30 days)
Simultaneous Streams
Five
Two; Three for $6
Three
Two
Local Channels
ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC
CBS, Fox, NBC
ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC
ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC
Recommended Plans
Core Package ($45/mo)
FuboTV ($45/mo)
YouTube TV ($40/mo)
Live a Little ($35/mo)