If you're trying to figure out how to watch ESPN programming on your Roku, we tell you the best ways to stream all of the ESPN television networks.
ESPN and 29 sister television networks, including ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and ESPN Deportes, are available on Roku. Here we explain how to get the various ESPN networks on Roku. Spoiler alert: None of the options are free unless you already get ESPN through a pay TV subscription.
ESPN's parent Disney announced in August that it would be launching a new ESPN multi-sport video streaming service in early 2018. More information on that service is provided at the end of this article. Until that service becomes available, though, you will have to use one of the following options to watch ESPN programming on Roku.
WatchESPN provides live streaming access to 29 ESPN television networks. In addition to the primary channels - ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNews, and ESPN Deportes - programming is available from regional networks that include SEC Network, SEC Network +, Longhorn Network, and ACC Network Extra.
All Roku users can watch video clips without authenticating, but to watch live programming and full-length replays you will need to subscribe to a participating pay TV service. Fortunately for cable-cutters, all of the over-the-top live TV streaming services below allow authentication of WatchESPN. Most major cable and satellite TV services also allow their customers to authenticate. Remember, though, that you'll need a subscription that includes ESPN; if you have basic cable, you may be able to go through the authenticate process but then receive an error when you try to stream locked videos.
Sling TV carries ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 on its $25/month Orange service. The $5/month Sports Extra package adds SEC Network, SEC Network+, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNU, and ESPN Bases Loaded, along with several non-ESPN sports packages.
For cable-cutting sports fans, Sling Orange combined with WatchESPN is our pick for best value, bringing you all of the live programming available across all ESPN networks for only $20 per month.
DirecTV Now includes ESPN and ESPN 2 with its $35/month Live a Little package. Bump it up to the $50/month Just Right package or higher and you'll find ESPNews and ESPNU added to the lineup, along with ESPN's SEC Network. DirecTV Now subscribers can also authenticate the WatchESPN app.
Playstation Vue's $39.99/month Popular Live TV package carries ESPN and ESPN 2. ESPNews, ESPNU, and SEC Network are added when you get the Core package for $44.99/month. Elite, $54.99, and Ultra ($74.99/month) packages include all those channels plus ESPN Desportes. Playstation Vue subscribers can also authenticate the WatchESPN app.
Hulu Live TV
For $39.99/month, Hulu Live TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, and ESPN Goal Line. Subscribers can also authenticate the WatchESPN app, but you need Hulu Live TV - a regular Hulu account won't get you in.
ESPN Streaming Service
ESPN's planned multi-sport video streaming service will, according to Disney's press release, "offer a robust array of sports programming, featuring approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live."
Rather than creating a standalone app, ESPN plans to add the new service to the current ESPN app: "In addition to the multi-sport service, the ESPN app will include the news, highlights, and scores that fans enjoy today." The app will continue to provide authenticated pay TV subscribers with access to the ESPN television networks.
If it's ESPN that you're after, then the only real distinction between any of the live TV streaming services above is price. Sling Orange, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, and Hulu Live TV all let their subscribers authenticate the WatchESPN app, which provides live and on-demand programming from all 29 ESPN networks. If you're after a specific ESPN channel, there's no need to upgrade your TV package, since you can get them all on WatchESPN. One caveat, though, is the Sling Blue subscribers will need to either switch from Blue to Orange, or add Orange.
If you only want ESPN and you want the best price, subscribe to Sling Orange for $20/month. If you want other sports channels, or if there are specific non-sports channels that you want, then you will need to compare individual services, and even compare packages within each service.RokuGuide.com may receive a referral fee for any purchases or subscriptions made through links on this page. See our full FTC Disclosure Statement for more information.