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The Best Live Sports Streaming Apps for Your Buck in 2021

If you're a cable cutter or just want a way to watch your favorite sport on the go, you're in luck: there are lots of live sports apps. We tested 10 to find the best.

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The Best Live Sports Streaming Apps for Your Buck in 2021
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Figuring out how to get the games you want for the least money can be a sport in itself ... only it's not much fun... and the rules keep changing. While there is no single app that offers every game for every sport, there are options that will meet most needs, whether you follow one sport or many.

We found that Sling offered the best value, while YouTubeTV had the most channels overall. The ESPN app had the most additional content, and the MLB and NBA apps were great for baseball and basketball fans.

Our Pick

Best value for sports fans

The popular live and on-demand streaming service has lots of sports programming, particularly if you add on the sports package. 

Why we chose Sling:

  • Sling has a variety of packages. For sports fans, Sling Orange ($35 per month) with a sports add-on ($15 per month) is the best option.
  • Sling Orange has three ESPN channels, while the sports add-on offers an additional 20 channels.
  • In addition to sports programming, Sling has tons of other TV channels -- a great option for cord-cutters.
  • Watch live or record games for later. Sling comes with 50 hours of DVD storage.
  • The layout of the app is helpful for sports fans. It features a dedicated sports tab, so it's easy to find games to watch on the go.

If you're looking for the widest breadth of sports channels for the lowest price, Sling is for you.

Read Sling's Full Review
Runner Up

Best alternative to cable

  • Try it FREE! Watch and DVR live TV from 85+ channels, including sports networks.
    3.8 Ratings 140K+ Reviews 10M+ Downloads
    Free Feature Rich Fresh
    Free
    Free

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With 85 channels, including lots of sports, YouTube TV is a great choice for those who want to ditch cable without losing access to any content.

Why we chose YouTube TV:

  • YouTube TV is on the pricey side at $64.99/month, but it offers a ton of sports channels and all network and major cable channels as well.
  • With unlimited DVR storage, you can record as many games as you want and watch them anytime.
  • The YouTube TV app is well-designed and easy to use. You can search by sport to find games, rather than browsing through channels.
  • The base price includes networks for the three major sports, as well as ESPN channels, the big four TV networks, and many other sports channels. 

The sports options are comparable to our number one pick, Sling, but YouTube TV has more channels overall, so if you're looking for the most TV options, the additional $15 may be worth it.

Read YouTube TV's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best content for sports fans

  • Get scores, news, alerts & watch live sports
    4.3 Ratings 2M+ Reviews 50M+ Downloads
    Free Feature Rich Fresh In App Purchases 1M+ Reviews
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases

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The popular sports network has the best app for keeping up with sports news. 

Why we chose ESPN:

  • Free app, but much of the content is only available with ESPN+, for $5.99 a month.
  • While there are fewer live games available than on other services, the price point for ESPN+ is considerably lower. The app offers a good supplement to other services.
  • Features a wide variety of live sports, big and small. You'll find everything from football to mixed martial arts
  • The app offers lots of content — check out scores, read articles, follow your favorite sports, leagues, and players.
  • ESPN+ includes access to ESPN original programs, including the popular 30 for 30 documentary series.
  • Available alone or as a bundle with Hulu and Disney+

Consider the ESPN app your sports hub.

Read ESPN's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best pricing options for basketball fans

  • Official NBA basketball, stats, scores & news. Stream live games on League Pass!
    3.9 Ratings 173K+ Reviews 10M+ Downloads
    Free Feature Rich In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases

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For basketball fans, the NBA app offers many ways to watch and lots of additional content as well. 

Why we chose NBA:

  • Choose between multiple subscription options to find the price point and service you want. $6.99/month to watch live games, $17.99 to watch one team’s games, $28.99 for all teams, or $39.99 to watch all teams with no commercials
  • Certain games are subject to blackout restrictions, so depending on your region and what teams you follow, this may not be a good choice for you.
  • The NBA app has a lot of additional content. News and highlights are available in the app without a subscription.
  • Additional NBA TV programming includes original shows and classic games. 

The NBA app is a great option, especially for people who want to follow out-of-market teams.

Read NBA's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best single league app

  • The #1 source for live baseball. The official app of Major League Baseball.
    3.8 Ratings 166K+ Reviews 10M+ Downloads
    Free Feature Rich Fresh In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases

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A must-have for baseball fans, the MLB app offers live games and tons of additional content. 

Why we chose MLB:

  • Free app for scores and updates, but to watch live, you need to subscribe for $24.99 per month
  • Tons of live games available to watch in the app, however, some games are subject to blackout restrictions, so this app is best for people who want to watch out-of-market games.
  • You can also listen to audio of games, or use the Gameday feature, which describes the action via images of the field, lineups, and text descriptions of the game.
  • Lots of articles and other info about your favorite teams
  • Access to other MLB.com features like ticket purchasing, trivia games, and more

The MLB app is a one-stop-shop for baseball fans.

Read MLB's Full Review

Everything We Recommend

  • Our Pick
    SLING is a streaming service with the best of live TV, both free and paid, streamed to you on any device. And with 200+ channels, SLING has something for everyone. It’s the live TV you love for half the cost of cable. Plus, watch over 85,000 movies & shows on demand.

    Programming Available From SLING TV:

    With free channels like ABC News Live and premium cable networks such as CNN, FOX News and MSNBC, Sling keeps you informed while you stay safe inside. Entertainment networks like, Bravo!, LIfetime and HGTV mean SLING TV has something for everyone.

    NEWS | Stay up-to-date and informed with plenty of news channels like CNN, FOX News, CNBC, MSNBC and Bloomberg.

    ENTERTAINMENT | Stay in & SLING in with entertainment for the whole family. Sign up and get Bravo, Freeform, A&E, Investigation Discovery, TBS and TNT.

    LIFESTYLE | With SLING TV, you can get your DIY fix with HGTV and satisfy your cravings for new recipes on Food Network. Plus, we have plenty of other lifestyle channels like Hallmark and Cooking Channel.

    KIDS’ SHOWS | Keep the kids happy and the Saturday morning cartoon tradition rolling with Disney and Cartoon Network.

    SPORTS | Catch the latest news, analysis and feature films of your favorite sports on ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and a whole lot more.

    INTERNATIONAL | SLING TV is one of the best international streaming services in the U.S., offering programs in 22 languages including Spanish, Hindi & Arabic.

    So what’s the hold up? Download the app today and start SLINGing.

    Please note: This app features Nielsen’s proprietary measurement software that will allow you to contribute to market research, like Nielsen’s TV Ratings. Please see www.nielsen.com/digitalprivacy for more information.
    Cost
    Free
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    No
    No
  • Runner Up

    YouTube TV: Live TV & more

    3.8 Ratings 140K+ Reviews 10M+ Downloads
    • Cable-free live TV. No cable box required.
    • Watch major broadcast and cable networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, ESPN, AMC, Univision, HGTV, TNT and more, including your local news and sports channels.
    • Watch on your smartphone, tablet, computer, smart TV, or game console, and on your big screen via Google Chromecast, Roku player & TV, and Apple TV.
    • Cloud DVR without DVR storage space limits. Each recording will be stored for 9 months.
    • 6 YouTube TV accounts per household. Everyone gets their own login, recommendations and DVR.
    • No commitment, no contracts; cancel anytime.
    • Start your free-trial today.

    Over eighty-five networks are available in YouTube TV:

    BROADCAST
    ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and more

    SPORTS
    CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports RSN (regional), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, Galavisión, Golf Channel, MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube, MLB Network, NBA TV, NBCSN, NFL Network, Olympic Channel, SEC Network, Univision, UniMás and more

    ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
    AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BET, BET Her, Bravo,CMT, Comedy Central, Comet, CourtTV, Cozi TV, Dabl, Decades, Discovery, E!, Food Network, Freeform, FX, FXM, FXX, Galavisión, IFC, Investigation Discovery, HGTV, MotorTrend, MTV, MTV2, MTV Classic, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, OWN, Oxygen, Paramount Network, Pop, QVC, Smithsonian Channel, SundanceTV, SyFy, TBS, TCM, TLC, TNT, Travel Channel, TruTV, TV Land, Univision, UniMás, USA, VH1, WE tv, NewsNation, YouTube Originals, and more

    NEWS
    BBC World News, Cheddar, CNBC, CNBC World, CNN, Galavisión, HLN, MSNBC, NBCLX, Univision, UniMás, and more

    KIDS
    Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nick Toons, PBS Kids, Teen Nick, Universal Kids

    SPANISH LANGUAGE
    Galavisión, Telemundo, Universo, Univision, UniMás and more

    Sports and premium networks like our Sports Plus add-on now with 20+ channels included, HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more are also available for an additional monthly charge.

    Availability:
    YouTube TV is available nationwide in the United States.

    For more information, please visit our Help Center.

    Terms of service: tv.youtube.com/tv/terms
    Paid terms of service: tv.youtube.com/tv/paidterms
    Privacy policy: tv.youtube.com/tv/privacy

    Enjoy cable-free live tv now!
    Cost
    Free
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    No
    No
  • Also Groovy

    ESPN

    4.3 Ratings 2M+ Reviews 50M+ Downloads
    Watch thousands of live events and shows from the ESPN networks plus get scores, on-demand news, highlights, and expert analysis. Subscribe to the ESPN+ streaming service for live sports, exclusive originals, premium articles, fantasy tools, and more.

    Watch on ESPN:
    • NFL (Monday Night Football) • NBA • MLB • College Sports (football, basketball, baseball, softball, and more) • Golf (The Masters) • Soccer (UEFA Euro and MLS) • Tennis (Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open) • eSports • ESPN Shows (SportsCenter, PTI, First Take, Sportsnation, NBA: The Jump, and more) •

    ESPN+ Subscribers:
    Stream exclusive live sports and ESPN+ Originals without cable--all in HD.

    Sign up for ESPN+ and get access to the streaming service that delivers live sports from the best leagues in the world plus premium articles and fantasy tools. Get live events from the UFC, MLS, NHL, international soccer, college sports, and more. Enjoy the complete 30 for 30 library and exclusive ESPN+ Original shows from the biggest names in sports including Peyton Manning, Dana White, Kevin Durant, Alex Morgan, and more all inside the ESPN app.

    Highlights and scores from what you care about. From news about your favorite sports or team playing right now, the home tab has you covered. Fast access to scores for your favorite teams and leagues and the top games of the day in the scores tab. Also, subscribe to your favorite ESPN Podcasts or listen live to ESPN Radio.

    ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, SECN, and more are all available to stream live in the ESPN App. Access to live video is determined by your TV provider and package and, in some instances, your Internet service provider.

    Due to contractual limitations with certain content, especially play-by-play broadcasts, there are times when the schedule that's on-air won't match the schedule that's online. If you have specific schedule questions, please contact the station directly by visiting their website.

    Terms of Use - https://disneytermsofuse.com/
    Privacy Policy - http://www.disneyprivacycenter.com
    ESPN+ Subscriber Agreement - https://es.pn/plus-terms

    Your California Privacy Rights - https://privacy.thewaltdisneycompany.com/en/current-privacy-policy/your-california-privacy-rights/
    Do Not Sell My Information - https://privacy.thewaltdisneycompany.com/en/dnsmi

    Before you download this app, please consider that it includes advertising, some of which may be targeted to your interests. You may choose to control targeted advertising within mobile applications by using your mobile device settings (for example, by re-setting your device's advertising identifier and/or opting out of interest based ads).

    Please note: This app features Nielsen's proprietary measurement software which will allow you to contribute to market research, like Nielsen's TV Ratings. Please see www.nielsen.com/digitalprivacy for more information. You may also visit Settings in the app to opt out of Nielsen measurement.
    Cost
    Free
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $79.99 per item
    $6.99 - $69.99 per item
    Welcome to the official NBA app and the ultimate home of NBA basketball games, scores and stats!

    Never miss a moment with the latest schedule, scores, highlights, player stats and league news. NBA League Pass is now better than ever, with access to stream live basketball games, on-demand videos, and much more.

    Download to get access to:
    - Official NBA basketball schedule, scores and stats
    - In-game and post game highlights
    - NBA game previews and recaps
    - Live access to stream select press conferences and events
    - Personalized content about your favorite players and teams
    - Editor’s picks for the hottest news and updates from around the league

    Want even more NBA basketball? We’ve got you covered with NBA League Pass and NBA TV, now with more ways to watch NBA games than ever before.

    NBA League Pass subscribers also get access to:
    - Live NBA games and on demand*
    - Multiple package options to match your personal preferences
    - Mobile View game streams customized for phones and tablets
    - More custom language streaming options
    - Multiple condensed game formats
    - Download games and other content to watch offline when you’re on the go
    - NBA Archives: access to classic games, documentaries and more**

    NBA TV includes a 24-hour live stream of exclusive features:***
    - NBA TV live games
    - Studio coverage and analysis
    - Curated documentaries
    - Select classic games available with NBA TV

    * Blackouts and restrictions apply in the US and Canada.
    ** Available for select subscribers in select markets
    ***NBA TV is sold separately in the US. Not available in some markets, including Canada, China, Italy, Japan, and Spain

    Be sure to download the official NBA app for the best coverage of special events all year round, including pre-season games, global games, Christmas Day games, Martin Luther King Jr. Day games, NBA All-Star Game and events, NBA Playoffs, The NBA Finals, NBA Draft and NBA Summer League. The official NBA app features action from the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, and Washington Wizards.

    Current NBA League Pass and NBA TV subscribers can access their subscription by logging into the app.

    Purchase NBA League Pass or NBA TV and you will be automatically billed through Google Play every 30 days (monthly packages) or every 365 days (annual packages) until you cancel your subscription. Refunds are not available after subscriptions have been activated.

    Please visit support.watch.nba.com to contact the support team if you are experiencing any issues.
    Terms of Use: https://www.nba.com/termsofuse
    Privacy Policy: https://www.nba.com/privacy-policy
    Cost
    Free
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $399.99 per item
    $1.99 - $39.99 per item

    MLB

    3.8 Ratings 166K+ Reviews 10M+ Downloads
    The MLB app – the #1 source for live baseball on your Android phones and tablets – is the official app of Major League Baseball.
    **** MLB APP SUBSCRIPTIONS ****
    The MLB app offers two subscription options for its extensive premium features, covering live MLB games from Opening Day to the World Series.
    - MLB Audio Yearly recurring fee of $19.99.
    - MLB Audio Monthly recurring fee of $2.99.
    - MLB.TV subscribers receive MLB Audio features for free.

    **** 2021 FEATURES ****
    (NOTE: Additional features and functionality will be available in regular app updates throughout the season)

    • Watch and Listen Live
    • Watch the MLB.TV free Game of the Day (subject to blackout restrictions; no subscription required)
    • Access your MLB.TV subscription to watch every out-of-market game (Subscription required)
    • Watch in-game highlights (No blackout restrictions; no subscription required)
    • Listen to Home, Away and Spanish-language (where available) radio broadcasts (MLB Audio subscription required)
    • Watch 60fps video for unmatched high-quality streaming of select live MLB.TV broadcasts (supported phones and tablets only; MLB Audio subscription required)
    • Watch Condensed Games (MLB Audio subscription required)
    • Multi-platform live audio access for MLB Audio subscribers (portable to Mac/PC and to the MLB skill on voice activated platforms with a valid MLB.com account)
    • Universal support for MLB Audio subscribers, accessible on Android phones and tablets and other supported mobile devices
    • Watch MLB Network programming (pay TV authentication required)

    -- Follow Your Favorite Team --
    • Enhanced, Gameday pitch-by-pitch features, including realistic ballpark renderings from all 30 MLB parks
    • Breaking news, schedules, interactive rosters and player stats for every team
    • Sortable batting, pitching and fielding statistics
    • Favorite team icon home screen widget for one-tap access to your favorite team's page (Phones only)
    • MLB icon home screen widget for in-progress scores around the league
    • Designate your favorite team to be featured as the app's home screen and be highlighted on the scoreboard, and in the news and video sections
    • Search function for all active and historical MLB player cards (Phones only)
    • Closed captioning for live video
    • Application available in Spanish language, requires device language set to Spanish

    The MLB app features live action from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.

    Access MLB Audio for $2.99 per month or $19.99 annually. You will be automatically billed $2.99 through Google Play every 30 days or $19.99 every 365 days until you cancel your subscription. Your subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period. Your subscription can be managed, and the auto-renewal may be turned off by going to the Google Play Account Settings after purchase. No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during the active subscription period.

    © 2021 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights used herein are the property of the applicable MLB entity. All rights reserved.
    Cost
    Free
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $129.99 per item
    $2.99 - $ree per item
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The 411 from our Appventurer

Caroline Rothnie
Written by:

Caroline Rothnie

The Best Live Sports Streaming Apps for Your Buck in 2021

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