ESPN2 carries top-tier games from the NFL, NBA, MLS and more. But you don’t have to give all that up when you cancel your cable subscription. Here are six ways you can still watch ESPN2 without cable’s high monthly fees.

Streaming TV Services That Offer ESPN2

ESPN2 Without Cable
Source: ESPN

The best way to replace cable is to subscribe to one of the internet-based streaming TV services. They offer channel lineups that are similar to cable — but at a fraction of the price.

Sling TV

sling tv epsn2
Source: Sling TV

Sling TV was once the most popular live TV service. Launched four years ago, Sling TV earned a reputation for offering low-cost options and flexible plans that let you pay for what you watch. New competitors have eaten away Sling TV’s dominance in the market, but it remains a popular choice.

Channels and packages

Sling TV’s innovative approach to subscription plans takes a bit of effort to figure out. The two primary plans, Sling Orange and Sling Blue, have different lineups that require careful consideration. Of course, even paying for both plans will save you big bucks when you cut the cord.

 Sling OrangeSling BlueSling Orange + Blue
Price$25$25$40
Channels30+40+50+
Simultaneous Streams134*
ESPNYesNoYes
Fire TV SupportYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYes
Special OffersFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEAL
* You get one stream with Sling Orange and up to 3 simultaneous streams with Sling Blue.

If your only priority is watching ESPN2, then the choice is easy. Sling Orange is the only plan that includes ESPN’s family of sports channels. Other channels unique to this subscription plan include the Disney Channel, Freeform, and Motor Trend. The other 25 channels in the Sling Orange lineup overlap with the Sling Blue plan.

Sling Blue’s unique offerings include the local Fox and NBC broadcasts in certain markets, as well as the Fox and NBC sports channels. Additional lifestyle and entertainment channels that come with Sling Blue include SyFy, National Geographic and BET.

Features and extras

One way Sling TV is able to offer low subscription prices is by making its customers pay for features that other services offer for free. The cloud DVR, for example, requires a separate $5 subscription. Unlike other streaming services, Sling TV does not offer an upgraded recording feature beyond its standard 50 hours. If you’re the only one using the streaming service, then that’s not such a big deal. A large family, however, could easily bump into the cap.

There is another complication. Sling Orange will only stream to one device at a time. If your kids are watching the Disney Channel, for example, you can’t watch ESPN2. The channels included with Sling Blue, including those overlapping Sling Orange, can stream to as many as 3 devices at the same time.

One area where Sling TV shines is device support. You will find Sling TV apps for a wide range of streaming devices.

  • Living room devices: Azulle Mini PC Sticks, Air TV Player, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Xaomi Mi TV.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Models based on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Also, certain models from LG and Samsung.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire tablets, Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

 

DirecTV Now

watch espn2 without cable directv now
Source: DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now launched shortly after Sling TV, but it adopted a more traditional, cable-like approach to television. That approach, reasonable prices and solid features make DirecTV Now a comfortable choice for first-time cordcutters.

Channels and packages

You can get ESPN2 with any of DirecTV Now’s English-language subscription plans.

  • Live a Little: 65+ channels / $40 per month.
  • Just Right: 85+ channels / $55 per month.
  • Go Big: 105+ channels / $65 per month.
  • Gotta Have It: 125+ channels / $75 per month.
  • Todo y Más: 90+ spanish-language channels / $45 per month.

For the same price as Sling TV’s combination plan, DirecTV Now’s entry-level Live a Little plan provides a dozen more TV channels. There’s also a chance you’ll be able to stream your local network affiliates.

The Just Right plan adds 20 more channels, most of them focused on sports. You activate nearly all of DirecTV Now’s lifestyle and entertainment channels when you Go Big. And if you decide to pay for the Gotta Have It plan, you’ll get HBO and several Starz movie channels.

Features and extras

DirecTV Now still has its cloud DVR feature in “beta” status. You do get the ability to fast forward and rewind, which not all services allow. However, all you get is 20 hours of recording capacity. That could really create tension in larger households.  Once the company makes the cloud DVR an official feature, DirecTV Now may offer an upgrade– but that remains to be seen.

DirecTV Now also caps the number of simultaneous streams at two. In this case, though, you can increase your subscription by $5 to add a third device.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Samsung and Amazon Fire TV televisions.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None, but Xbox One support is “coming soon”.
  • Desktop browsers: DirecTV Now only streams to Chrome and Safari browsers. With Internet Explorer and Firefox, you can only manage your settings.

PlayStation Vue

watch espn2 without cable playstation vue
Source: PlayStation Vue

Sony’s streaming service is structured along the same lines as DirecTV Now. Unlike its competitor, PlayStation Vue offers its premium features as standard parts of every subscription plan.

Channels and packages

PlayStation Vue includes ESPN2 with all four of its subscription plans.

  • Access: 45+ channels for $45 per month.
  • Core: 70+ channels for $50 per month.
  • Elite: 94 channels for $60 per month.
  • Ultra: 96 channels for $80 per month.

The entry-level Access plan offers a balanced lineup of news, sports, broadcast, and lifestyle channels. The Core plan’s small upgrade dramatically expands the number of sports channels you can watch. You’ll get more ESPN channels, the Fox regional sports channels and the dedicated MLB, NBA and NFL channels.

Elite subscribers get PlayStation Vue’s entire lineup of broadcast and basic cable channels. If original programming from HBO and Showtime are a priority for you, then you might want to max out your PlayStation Vue experience with an Ultra subscription.

Features and extras

When you compare prices with other subscription services, bear this mind: all of PlayStation Vue’s features come standard at every subscription level. There’s no need to upgrade.

The streaming service’s standard cloud DVR allows unlimited recording. No matter how many people share the account, you’ll never bump into capacity limits. Unfortunately, you can only keep the recordings for 28 days before PlayStation Vue auto-deletes them.

Simultaneous streaming is another area where PlayStation Vue excels. Unlike competing services that make you pay extra to stream to a third device, PlayStation Vue lets five people share an account at the same time. And those people get a strong portfolio of streaming devices to choose from. Not surprisingly, however, Microsoft’s Xbox game consoles are not on the list.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Televisions based on Amazon Fire TC, Android TV and Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android, Amazon Fire Tablets and iOS.
  • Game consoles: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV
Source: Youtube TV

YouTube TV offers an interesting solution for live TV streaming. Its channel lineup is not as varied as DirecTV Now or PlayStation Vue. However, its cloud-based features reflect the YouTube DNA around which the streaming service was built.

Channels and packages

You can only choose one subscription plan with YouTube TV. For $40 per month, you’ll get more than 60 channels. If you need more TV, you can choose a la carté from eight sports and entertainment channels. Just be careful. Choose too many of the add-ons and you will easily pay more to YouTube TV than you would with any other streaming service.

The greatest strength of YouTube TV’s channel lineup is its support for local network broadcasts. The poor availability of streams from local stations has been the Achilles heel of most streaming services. That’s because most broadcast TV stations are not owned by the networks. Streaming services must negotiate with each station owner separately, which takes time and money.

YouTube decided to make local streams a priority. In 90% of the markets where YouTube TV is available, you can stream all four of the ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC broadcast stations.

Features and extras

YouTube TV assumes you will share your subscription with others in your household. That’s why it lets each account have as many as six user profiles. Each profile gets its own viewing history, its own cloud DVR storage and its own viewing recommendations. Of course, it also means Google gets better data for its advertising algorithms. So keep that in mind when setting up accounts for children.

The YouTube TV cloud DVR is the best in the streaming industry. Each user profile can record as much programming as they want — there’s no capacity cap. In addition, YouTube TV waits a full nine months before auto-deleting those recordings.

Even though YouTube TV lets you create six user profiles, your household cannot stream the service to six devices at the same time. The company couldn’t match PlayStation Vue’s five device limit. Instead, you’re stuck with the more typical limit of three simultaneous streams.

When YouTube first launched its streaming service, the company only supported mobile devices. It soon learned, however, that live TV is not the same as cat videos. Streaming TV subscribers want to watch TV on a TV. YouTube now supports a decent array of streaming devices — with one glaring exception. Amazon’s Echo devices and Fire TV devices cannot stream YouTube TV.

  • Living room devices: Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from HiSense, LG, Samsung and Sharp as well as televisions based on Android TV and Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

Hulu with Live TV

hulu with live tv
Source: Hulu With Live TV

Hulu offers a middle-of-the-road live TV service that, by itself, doesn’t hold up against competing services. What sets Hulu with Live TV apart and makes it worth considering is, ironically, its enormous library of on-demand content.

Channels and packages

As of mid-February 2019, the fifty-channel strong lineup of broadcast and basic cable channels Hulu with Live TV offers — including ESPN2 — costs you $40 per month. However, the company has announced a price hike to $45 that goes into effect at the end of February.

You also get access to Hulu’s on-demand library. Unlike Amazon Prime’s catalog of old content or Netflix’s increasingly originals-only content, Hulu’s on-demand library consists of recently-aired shows from recent series. Pay an extra $4 per month and Hulu will remove most of the advertising from the on-demand streams. Note that you will still see all of the advertising you stream live TV.

Features and extras

Hulu with Live TV offers two $15 upgrade options — or you can get both for only $20 per month. The first upgrade will take the already-generous fifty hours of cloud DVR capacity and quadruple it to two hundred hours. You also get the power to fast forward through the ads.

The second upgrade adds a third device to the service’s simultaneous streaming limit. Hulu with Live TV has a decent device ecosystem to choose from.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain Samsung and LG televisions as well as some devices based on Amazon Fire TV or Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Xbox 360.
  • Desktop browsers: Most browsers.

Stream From ESPN

Source: ESPN

The sixth way to watch ESPN2 without cable is to get the content directly from ESPN. The sports network’s website and app will let you stream content from any game or show on any of ESPN’s networks.

You may see two ESPN apps in your device’s app store. The WatchESPN app is for cable and satellite TV subscribers only. The ESPN app is for anyone who subscribes to a participating TV service. Fortunately, all five of the streaming services we’ve discussed so far qualify. Once you enter your credentials, you’ll be able to watch all of the content ESPN offers.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain Samsung televisions as well as some devices based on Amazon Fire TV or Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Oculus Go, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Most browsers.