If you’re a sports fan and you’re looking to cut cable, you may be wondering if you can watch ESPN live on Apple TV. With regular broadcasts of top professional sports and college leagues, as well as unmissable shows like SportsCenter and Around The Horn, ESPN is a must-have for any cord-cutter who loves sports.
So, how can you watch ESPN live on Apple TV? In this article, we’ll discuss all of your options, from internet TV “skinny bundle” services, to ESPN’s own apps and services. Let’s get into it now.
Sling TV is the oldest internet TV service. Owned by DISH Network, it was first founded in 2015, far before any other similar service. Today, it still offers ESPN, and it’s a good way to watch ESPN live on Apple TV.
Plans and channels
|Sling Orange||Sling Blue||Sling Orange + Blue|
|Fire TV Support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Special Offers||FREE ROKU DEAL||FREE ROKU DEAL||FREE ROKU DEAL|
Sling TV lets you choose to subscribe to the $25/month Orange or Blue plan, or get both for $40/month. To watch ESPN live on Apple TV with Sling, you’ll need to get a Sling Orange plan. That will give you ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. You’ll also get ACC Network, but that’s about it for sports.
Unfortunately, Fox Sports and most other sports channels are locked behind the Sling Blue plan, so you’ll need both for comprehensive sports coverage. If you just want ESPN, though, Sling Orange will do the job.
You can get even more sports channels with the Sports Extra add-on, which costs $5/month for Sling Orange and $10/month for Sling Blue. Depending on the channel package you have, you’ll get NFL RedZone, ESPNU, ESPNews, NHL Network, and a number of other sports channels.
Beyond this, Sling has a few other features you should be aware of. First, the number of simultaneous streams you can have varies, based on the plan you choose. ESPN and Sling Orange channels can only be streamed on 1 device at a time, while Sling Blue channels can be streamed on 3 at once. This restriction stays in place if you get Orange + Blue. You’ll only ever be able to watch ESPN on one device at a time. You also don’t get a free cloud DVR with Sling. Instead, you’ll have to pay $5/month for a DVR, which comes with 50 hours of storage.
Speaking of multiple devices, Sling doesn’t just support Apple TV. You can also stream on your web browser, and on iOS/Android, as well as Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, and the Xbox One console, as well as some smart TVs from Samsung and LG.
If you’re interested in subscribing to Sling TV to watch ESPN Live on Apple TV, you can check out the service with a 7-day free trial now.
Hulu With Live TV is a good option for watching ESPN live. With a great channel package, particularly for sports fans, as well as great features and a good Apple TV app, there’s a lot to like about this service.
Plans and channels
Hulu With Live TV is very simple. Though you can add a few channels for an extra fee, there’s only one base-tier subscription, which costs $40/month and includes somewhere between 50-70 channels, depending on your location.
For your money, you’ll get ESPN, as well as ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Golf Channel, NBCSN, SEC Network, BTN, and CBS Sports Network, just to name a few.
Overall, Hulu With Live TV has a great selection of channels that are sure to be perfect for any sports fan, and plenty of other entertainment, news, and lifestyle channels.
The most unique feature of Hulu With Live TV is that it includes a Hulu on-demand subscription, which is about an $8/month value, with your $40/month subscription. You’ll get access to every episode of content on the Hulu on-demand library.
Beyond this, you’ll be able to watch on 2 devices at once. You can watch on up to 3 devices at once outside your home network, and on as many as you want at home, if you get the $15/month Unlimited Screens package. As far as a DVR is concerned, you’ll get 50 hours of free storage, upgradeable to 200 hours for a $15/month fee.
Naturally, you can download the Hulu app for the Apple TV, and it functions perfectly. In addition to the Apple TV, you’ll find support for web browsers, iOS and Android phones and tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Chromecast, as well as for Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles, as well as the Nintendo Switch.
YouTube TV only launched in early 2017, and has expanded into most areas of the US relatively recently. Is this Google-owned service a good way to watch ESPN live on Apple TV? Find out.
Plans and channels
Like Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV keeps things simple when it comes to streaming packages. You’ll only have one package to choose from, which costs $40/month. For your money, you’ll get around 70 channels, though this can vary based on your location.
As well as ESPN, you’ll be getting ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, Fox Sports 1 and 2, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports, BTN, Golf Channel, and a number of others. Overall, you’ll get a great number of sports channels, as well as plenty of other entertainment and news channels.
YouTube TV has great features, which is one of the biggest reasons it’s become so popular in the last few months. The highlight of YouTube TV is definitely the cloud DVR, which offers you completely unlimited recordings for up to 9 months, with no other restrictions. In addition to this, you’ll be able to watch all of your channels on up to 3 devices at once.
YouTube TV used to have relatively poor device support, and initially didn’t support the Apple TV, or other major streaming devices. However, it has improved quite a bit since launch. Today, you can get YouTube TV on the Apple TV, as well as on iOS and Android, the Chromecast, and Roku, as well as smart TVs from Sharp, VIZIO, LG, Samsung, and Hisense, among others.
PlayStation Vue is one of the most well-regarded internet TV services out there, but is struggling to gain subscribers due to its confusing name (you don’t need a PlayStation to use it) and its relatively expensive subscription options. However, it’s a great choice if you want to watch ESPN on Apple TV, particularly if you have a large family.
Plans and channels
PlayStation Vue gives you four different primary channel packages to choose from.
- Access – 45+ channels, $45/month
- Core – 60+ channels, $50/month
- Elite – 90+ channels, $60/month
- Ultra – All Elite channels plus HBO/Showtime, $80/month
To get ESPN, you’ll need the $45/month “Access” package. This also gives you ESPN2 and Fox Sports 1 and 2, but that’s about it for sports. To get other sports channels like CBS Sports, Golf Channel, SEC Network, BTN, NFL Network, and more, you’ll need a $50/month “Core” subscription.
You can get even more sports coverage with the $10/month Sports Pack add-on, which gives you a lot of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) from around the country, NFL RedZone, ESPN Goal Line, and a number of other channels, for about 35 extra sports channels, in total.
Why pay so much more for PlayStation Vue, instead of a different streaming service? Well, beyond a great selection of sports channels, the service has great features, especially for larger households.
The highlight is their 5-device simultaneous streaming policy. You can watch on 5 devices at once on your home network for no additional fee, which is better than any other service on this list. You also get an unlimited 28-day DVR. You can record as many shows as you want for up to 28 days, with no other restrictions. This may seem a bit short, but it’s usually plenty of time to watch recorded content.
And, of course, you can watch PlayStation Vue on the Apple TV, as well as web browser and iOS/Android. Naturally, the PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles are also supported, as is Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast, so you have plenty of options beyond your Apple TV for viewing PlayStation Vue.
DirecTV Now is owned by AT&T and is a good option if you want to watch ESPN Live on Apple TV. Though its features are somewhat disappointing, it gives you a great number of sports channels, including ESPN, for a good price.
Plans and channels
DirecTV Now allows you to choose between 4 primary channel packages, as follows:
- Live A Little – 65+ channels, $40/month
- Just Right – 85+ channels, $55/month
- Go Big – 105+ channels, $65/month
- Gotta Have It – 125+ channels, $75/month
To watch ESPN live on Apple TV, you’ll need to get the $40/month Live A Little package. Naturally, you’ll also get a number of other top sports channels, including ESPN2, Fox Sports 1, and NBCSN.
Unfortunately, to get more sports channels, you’ll need to pay up for the $55/month Just Right package, which will get you BTN, ESPNews, ESPNU, NFL Network, Tennis Channel and more. You can get even more sports coverage from the $65/month Go Big package.
DirecTV may have a pretty good list of sports channels, but its features are nothing to write home about. You’ll be able to stream on 2 devices at once, which is a bit limiting. You can add a third stream for a $5/month fee.
The DVR is another weak point. Until the middle of 2018, DirecTV Now didn’t offer a cloud DVR at all, and their current offer is barely better than nothing. You get 20 hours of storage, and your recordings will be deleted after 30 days.
Device support is good, though. You can find DirecTV Now on the app store – although the app reviews are mostly negative – and you can also watch on Android and iOS, web browsers, Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
If you have a traditional cable subscription and are just looking for an easier way to watch ESPN live on Apple TV, instead of through your cable box, you can use the WatchESPN app, and log in with your details from your cable provider.
You can also watch ESPN on Apple TV with WatchESPN if you have a subscription to one of the above internet TV services. You can watch both ESPN and any other ESPN-affiliate networks, such as SEC Network, directly from the WatchESPN App.
Why do this? Because if you watch ESPN on the app, it doesn’t count against your number of simultaneous streams.
For example, if you have Sling Orange (which only gives you a single ESPN stream) you can let someone else in your house watch TV using your Sling Orange subscription – and still log-in and watch live TV on ESPN, using your Sling TV credentials on the WatchESPN app.
This provides you with increased flexibility and can make some of these restrictive services, like Sling Orange, a better overall deal.
If you don’t want to pay $25-$40 or more per month to watch ESPN, you may want to check out ESPN+, which is ESPN’s recently-launched streaming service. You’ll get coverage of combat sports, some college sports leagues, cricket, soccer, rugby, and more, as well as some original programming. The service costs only $4.99 a month.
What’s the catch? Well, ESPN+ shares no content with ESPN or any other ESPN-owned network. If you wanted to watch SportsCenter or Monday Night Football on ESPN+, you’re going to be out of luck. You’ll need one of the above streaming services, or a cable subscription to watch any content shown on the main ESPN family of channels.
fuboTV – No ESPN (Yet)
You may be surprised that sports-focused internet TV service fuboTV is not on our list. After all, fuboTV focuses on attracting cord-cutters who want to watch sports without cable, and they have an Apple TV app.
So, why is fuboTV a bad choice? They don’t have ESPN, or any Disney-owned channels, for that matter, so you simply can’t watch ESPN Live on Apple TV.
In the future, fuboTV may add ESPN to their channel package, and you can feel free to try this service with a free 7-day trial. But for now, it’s just not a good way to watch ESPN live on Apple TV – because you can’t get ESPN!
- Related: fuboTV Review for 2018