Cordcutting Guide to Watching Sports

Here is a guide to streaming sports I’ve been working on to cut down on the number of FAQs in here. I’d appreciate any changes/additions you might have. If you like to watch a lot of sports it can be challenging to be a cord cutter. While some major games are available OTA, many are not. The major sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL) have streaming sites which allow you to stream games for a fee, but unfortunately they black out your local games in a effort to stop cord cutting. If you want to stream your local team’s games you will be forced to delve into some questionably legal territory, either working around black out restrictions or using pirate streams.

Streaming sites created by the leagues themselves are reliable and show high quality feeds for roughly $100-$250 per year, depending on the league. Were it not for the blackout restrictions, these would be the ideal solution for the cord cutter. Fortunately getting around the blackouts with technical means is not too hard. You can use a VPN service which will route your traffic through a 3rd party to make it appear to the league that you are located in a different location. The down side to doing this is that decent VPN services cost money (usually around $10/mo), and routing traffic through a 3rd party often slows it down. Typically users report that they can start watching a game via the VPN, then turn off the VPN once the initial blackout location check has been done, thus getting full bandwidth for the remainder of the game. An alternate to using a VPN service is using a DNS service. These are sites which use a DNS trick to confuse the streaming site into thinking you are coming from a different location. This is faster than using VPN and often cheaper too, but doesn’t always work with all services. Some popular DNS services are Stealthy (a browser plugin), unblock-us.com, and unotelly.com.

Cordcutting and Watching NFL American Football

Compared to other sports, Football is better covered by OTA broadcasts. The NFL also has a service called NFL Game Pass which streams all of their games in HD to people outside the USA. NFL Game Pass costs $250/year, however some posters say that if you set your VPN to the Netherlands you can get it for free (YMMV). See http://www.nfl.com/watch-nfl-live

NBC has also been streaming Sunday Night football and NBC/CBS has been streaming the Super Bowl in recent years. These are available free to anyone.

 

NBA Basketball and Cordcutting

The NBA has a service called NBA League Pass which broadcasts all NBA games, with blackouts. NBA League Pass costs $100/year. See http://www.nba.com/leaguepass/index.html

 

NCAA Basketball March Madness and Cordcutting

CBSsports.com streams the NCAA basketball tournament for free every year.

 

MLB Baseball and Cordcutting

The MLB has a service called MLB.tv which broadcasts all MLB games, with blackouts. MLB.tv costs $110/year. Seehttp://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/subscriptions/index.jsp

NHL Hockey and Cordcutting

The NHL has a service called NHL Game Center Live which broadcasts all NHL games, with blackouts. NHL Game Center Live costs $160/year. People report success using VPN and DNS services to avoid blackouts on Game Center Live. See https://gamecenter.nhl.com/nhlgc/help.htm

There is also a rather elaborate pirate hockey stream site called hockeystreams.com. It streams all NHL games, as well as KHL, AHL, and other leagues in high quality (720p for NHL) with no blackouts. Hockeystreams.com users have complained about buffering and other reliability issues in the past, and the admins claim they have strengthened their infrastructure for the 2012-13 season. YMMV. Hockeystreams.com costs $100/year, and you can purchases for shorter amounts of time if you want to try them out.

 

Soccer and Cordcutting

The MLS has a service called MLS Live which broadcasts all MLS games, with blackouts. Seehttp://live.mlssoccer.com/mlsmdl/

Dish offers beIN Sport and some lesser known sport channels for $10 a month. No satellite dish needed. No contract. beIN Sport shows La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 soccer. It’s available on Roku, Android, Mac, and PC. Seehttp://www.dishworld.com/sports.

Watching Other Sports Live and Cordcutting

Golf

Golf is not well supported for streaming. Your best bet is OTA.

Olympics

The Olympics are broadcast OTA and are also usually streamed, most recently by NBC and the BBC.

Miscellaneous

If you have access to a cable subscriber login for any of the major providers, ESPN streams a variety of sports via http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index from NCAA basketball to international soccer. Local games are subject to blackout rules. Even without a cable subscriber login, ESPN3 streaming may be available to you depending on your ISP.

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