How to Watch Local Sports Without Cable

May 13, 2024 | Home Technology, Helpful Tips, Streaming

If you’re a fan of your local professional sports teams, it can be tough to watch their games without cable TV -- or so it might seem. But take heart! Not all is lost. Many of your favorite local sports can now be viewed on streaming services. And the selection is getting better all the time. 

Figuring out which streaming services have your local sports and dealing with blackout restrictions can be a headache. This quick guide will break down the top streaming options for watching live local sports and explain blackout policies you need to know. As with any technology, streaming service arrangements change from time to time. Use this list as a start, but be sure to check with your provider to be sure they are still affiliated with each service before signing up. 

Blackouts

Before we get into selecting services, let’s talk about where they broadcast. Not all games are shown in all markets, which is called a blackout. For instance, if you are a St. Louis Cardinals fan but live outside the Cardinals’ broadcast market, you might not be able to see their games on your local Bally’s channel. You’ll probably see the next closest MLB team’s games instead, or maybe no baseball at all if you’re not near a major market.

Services like DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu follow blackout rules closely based on your location, while fuboTV offers more flexibility for out-of-market viewing.

DIRECTV STREAM 

One of the most comprehensive streaming services for live TV is DIRECTV STREAM. Their Choice package includes your local broadcast affiliates - ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC - in most markets, making it easy to watch locally televised games. RSNs like Bally Sports, NBC Sports, and YES Network are also available in the appropriate markets with the Choice package.

The major downside with DIRECTV STREAM is their strict enforcement of MLB, NBA, and NHL blackouts for out-of-market games on RSNs based on your zip code. So, if you’re a transplant trying to watch your old hometown team, you’ll be blacked out from those games on DIRECTV STREAM.

fuboTV

For a streaming service centered around sports, fuboTV is an excellent choice. Their Pro plan has local broadcast channels in most areas, so you can catch locally aired games. It also includes various RSNs like AT&T SportsNet, Bally Sports, NBC Sports, and more in applicable markets.

The huge advantage of fuboTV is that it does not enforce MLB, NBA, or NHL blackouts on its RSNs. So fans living outside their team’s broadcast territory can potentially use fuboTV to watch their favorite out-of-market squad without blackouts (assuming the RSN carrying those games is included in your package).

YouTube TV

YouTube TV Support

As one of the most popular and cost-effective live TV streaming services, YouTube TV has local broadcast networks covered in most areas that lets you easily stream locally televised games on ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC.

Currently, YouTube TV doesn’t provide any RSNs, so you’ll miss out on games aired exclusively on channels like Bally Sports or NBC Sports regionally. YouTube TV observes MLB, NBA, and NHL blackouts for nationally broadcast games on networks included in their package, like ESPN and regional Fox Sports channels.

Hulu + Live TV 

Hulu Support

Hulu’s live TV streaming service has steadily increased its channel lineup and now offers strong options for watching local sports. It carries local broadcast affiliates for ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC in most markets, letting you stream games aired on those channels. Select RSNs like AT&T SportsNet, Bally Sports, NBC Sports, and more are available as part of Hulu’s Live TV package, depending on your area.

When it comes to blackouts, Hulu enforces MLB, NBA, and NHL blackout restrictions based on your billing zip code both for nationally broadcast and RSN games. So transplanted fans won’t be able to skirt blackouts on Hulu.

Paramount+ Premium

An affordable streaming service focused on CBS content, Paramount+ Premium offers live streaming of your local CBS station in most areas. This gives you access to any NFL games televised on CBS in your broadcast region, plus locally aired college sports like NCAA March Madness.

Since Paramount+ is just focused on CBS programming, it doesn’t include any RSNs, and blackout rules mainly apply to nationally televised games. However, if your local CBS station has games blacked out, you won’t be able to see them on Paramount+ either.

League Apps

Some sports teams broadcast games through their own apps, too. For example, if you want to watch your local MLB team, you can sign up directly through the MLB app for a premium cost and stream right to your device. These apps often lift blackout restrictions, but not always, so check with the individual league’s rules to be sure it’s money well spent.

Broadcast Quality

Since the advent of HD television, viewers have come to expect crisp, clear video, whether over the air or via connected media, such as cable TV or the internet. Before HD, cable offered the best picture quality on its analog signal. However, times have changed, and today, the best option for the highest-quality viewing experience is fiber optic internet streamed on the latest devices. Check if our 100% fiber-optic internet service is in your area.

No matter which streaming service you choose, check the availability of your local broadcast channels and desired RSNs and understand the blackout situation before subscribing. With a little research, you can find the perfect streaming solution to follow all your favorite local teams.

  • streaming sports
  • cut the cord
  • local sports
  • direct tv
  • hulu
  • youtube t
  • fubo
  • paramount

Related Articles

May 13, 2024

How to Set Up a Guest Wi-Fi in Your Home

Read More

May 13, 2024

Wi-Fi Speeds: Mesh Networks vs. Extenders and Wired Connections

Read More

May 13, 2024

How to Switch Internet Providers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Read More

May 13, 2024

How Much Internet Speed Does a Smart Home Need?

Read More

May 13, 2024

How to Spot and Avoid Phishing Scam Emails

Read More

May 13, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Streaming Services for Holiday Classics

Read More