Summer is in full swing, as is my quest to cobble together an over the top (OTT) sports package without a cable/satellite TV contract. I’m not alone in this quest, as the cumulative amount of Cord Cutters and Cord Nevers is expected to reach 81 millon people by 2021.
The sands are beginning to shift in the land of pay TV content.
In 2018, the good news is that there are more and more choices for streaming packages and stand-alone online sports channels. The bad news is that more and more sports programming has been moved from Broadcast to Cable Sports pay channels. For example, BOTH 2018 college championship games (Football and Basketball) were programmed on cable channels instead of broadcast- The football game was on ESPN, and the Basketball game was on TBS (?!)
My goal this summer and fall is to watch the Tour de France, Padres Baseball, U-Washington Football, and Navy Football.
Think it can’t be done without a $200+ cable sports package? think again.
|Related: Comprehensive TV Cord Cutting Guide|
Here’s my plan to make it happen this summer and fall. The present sports lineup among the big OTT streaming providers looks like this (as of July 2018):
|OTT Package (Games)||Fubo $45||Youtube TV $40||Sling Org $25||Sling Blu $25||SlingBluOrg$40||DTVNow $35||PS Vue $45+10|
|CBS Sports (Navy x 7)||x||x||+$10 CBS CSL||+10 CBS CSL||+10 CSL||x|
|Pac-12 (UW x 9)||x||+ $5||+$10||‘+$10|
|Fox SD (Padres)||x||x||x||x||x|
|NBCsn (TdF)||x||x||x||x||x||x Plus $10|
|ESPN (1 UW?)||x||x||x||x||x|
Each package has a ‘gap’ in coverage. There’s still no ‘one stop shop’ OTT package for Sports fans- Each one of them has their Achilles’ Heel. Fubo has almost everything, less ESPN. YouTubeTV has almost everything but lacks Pac-12 network (and some regional networks).
Sling is the lowest cost provider, but for sports fans they essentially ask you to choose between the ESPN networks (Sling Orange package) or the Fox and NBC sports networks (Sling Blue package). You can, of course, combine Sling Orange and Blue for $40 per month, but then you’re at the same price point as many of the other $40 OTT Streaming packages.
Here’s my month-by-month plan to get me through baseball and football seasons. You can use this example below and the table above to tailor your own OTT sports package to catch your favorite sports team games:
July – August: ($25) Right now I’m using Sling Blue (with no extras) for $25 per month to watch the TdF and the Padres.
September – October: ($40) I’ll Switch Sling to Sling Orange for $25, plus $5 for Pac-12 Network, plus $10 for CBS College Sports
Nov: ($30) Sling Orange ($25) plus Pac-12 ($5)
Dec: ($25) Sling Orange plus nothing else
Jan 2019: See if I want to keep Sling for the other channels or just cancel Sling.
I hope you also get the chance to enjoy watching your favorite teams- Free from any cable/satellite contract!