Best cable provider for sports
Personally speaking, there was one main reason why we waited to cut the cord – sports. We love to watch sports in my family. Many other families are that way and continue to pay the cable bill because they believe it's the only way to watch the sports they enjoy.
It didn't take long for us to learn that there are many options, most of them quite frugal, to still watch the sporting events we want without a drag on the budget. If you want to cut the cord, but fear you'll miss out on your favorite games, here are four frugal options that'll keep more money in your pocket.
It sounds too simple to be true. However, the easiest and most frugal way to watch sports without cable is a basic antenna. That's it – an antenna. You don't need anything special or access to something fancy. You simply need a digital antenna to access your local affiliate stations of the major national networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX).
Many digital antennas will cost you $50 or less and provide reception if you're within 20 to 50 miles of the broadcasting signal antennas in your city. You won't have a DVR option like cable or satellite plans, but the savings more than make up for that inconvenience.
There's a significant amount of sporting events on the national networks, such as:
- NFL games
- NBA games
- College football games
- College basketball games
There are other sporting events on the national networks, depending on your region, though I've found many are satisfied with the above options.
A digital antenna is going to provide the cheapest access to sporting events, though there are other available options. One such option is through the respective professional leagues. Both the NBA and MLB offer plans to people who want to watch games without a cable package.
While the plans are relatively reasonable, coming in at $200 or less per sport, they're not without drawbacks. In most instances you're not going to be able to get access to games from local teams or may be restricted from viewing playoff games. However, it allows you to watch games from the convenience of a tablet or your smartphone.
The NFL, not to be outdone, offers a similar program through Verizon to get access to games, though you must live in a location where DirecTV service is not possible. These may not be perfect replacements, but they're good options to consider if you're willing to deal with some of the inconveniences.
One of the newer options for those wanting sports without a cable bill is a service offered by Dish Network – Sling TV. While offered by a contract satellite company, Sling TV does not require a contract. Even better – it costs only $20 per month for access to 20 channels and you can cancel at any time.
The beauty of Sling TV is it that offers the holy grail of sports networks – ESPN and ESPN2. You can add additional sports channels, like a soccer package or more regionalized sports networks, for $5 per month per package.
The offering is in relative infancy and shows signs of promise, though hasn't been without problems – like the service issues during March Madness in 2015 that kept some basketball fans from viewing games. That aside, it does provide another option for those who want sports without a cable bill or the accompanying contract.
The final frugal option to consider for sports without a cable bill is by simply going online. This is of particular importance if you like to follow March Madness. The NCAA has a site that allows you to watch all games available on CBS online for free. The site offers other features, such as access to real-time statistics, a view of the current bracket and more.
The one downside is that you're not able to watch games shown on the cable networks without having login credentials from a cable provider. While not perfect, this does provide a relatively good option.
In time, there are bound to be more options to watch your favorite sporting events without a cable bill. More phone apps are giving access to streaming events for free – something a frugal sports fan will love. Most sporting events are available on cable networks, though there can be a high cost to have that access. If you're willing to look at the possibilities, there are many ways to see the same game for significantly less.
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