At first, cutting the cord seems like a simple idea. Cable subscriptions routinely cost, at minimum, $60 per month, and quickly balloon to upwards of $100 just for television alone. You’re probably already subscribed to streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu, which makes getting on-demand content a lot cheaper than the usual monthly fee offered by cable channels. Perhaps while you’re planning to cut the cord, someone in your life brings up live events, like the Oscars or Grammys, but you figure you can live without those without much of a problem.
Then it hits you: sports. They’re still one of the most popular reasons to keep cable around, in large part thanks to how difficult it is to find a replacement for sports when switching over to a streaming-only household. They’re also an event that, thanks to the internet, is incredibly difficult to watch on demand without sacrificing the feeling of community with fellow fans online or in real life.
If you’re looking to ditch cable, but you need live sports in your life, you can use your trusty Amazon Fire Stick to connect to the web and begin streaming your favorite sports packages. Whether you’re looking for a paid subscription to make sure your sports come in crystal-clear HD with no delays or slowdown, or you’re looking to jump through a couple of hoops to keep your sports free and easy to watch, the Fire Stick has some options for you. Let’s dive into the best ways to watch live sports on your Amazon Fire Stick.
Paid Subscription Apps
Cutting the cord is supposed to save some cash along the way, but if you’re looking to transition from cable to a paid subscription service, you can gain the ability to stream live television to any device in your house, including your Fire Stick, without the pesky restrictions and hidden fees that can often come from using cable. Here’s our picks for the best sports-focused cable replacements online today.
Hulu with Live TV
There’s no shortage of live television streaming packages you can pick up today to stream local news, your favorite sitcoms and dramas, and of course, sports from around the world, but one of our favorite offerings is Hulu’s own Live TV package. Starting at just $44.99, Hulu with Live TV includes the standard $5.99 per month streaming option for on-demand shows and Hulu Originals, but also adds your locally streaming channels, cable offerings like FX, A&E, and TLC, along with a full lineup of sports channels. ESPN and ESPN News, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports, and much more are all available, which means you can stream games from the NCAA, NBA, NHL, and the NFL, all through the Hulu interface and alongside your favorite on-demand shows.
Hulu with Live TV also offers some add-on programs, including an enhanced cloud DVR that allows you to save up to 200 hours of entertainment in the cloud and fast-forward through commercials. Unlike some of the other cable-supplied streaming options, you can easily stream both at home and on the go on supported devices, which means you’ll never miss a game. All of this combined makes your Fire Stick into your own personal cable box, DVR, and on-demand streaming platform. Hulu with Live TV isn’t perfect—it’s missing some channels like AMC, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central—but overall, it’s a great option for the price.
PlayStation Vue will shut down in January 2020, but we’ll be leaving it here until the platform goes dark. Of course, if you haven’t made the switch yet, the company’s competitors like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV have been included in this list, and we recommend checking them out as alternatives.
Like Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue is an online cable replacement, built by Sony and taking advantage of the PlayStation brand (but don’t worry; you won’t need a Playstation to use it). The service allows you to stream your favorite channels online from $45 to $80 per month, depending on which lineup of channels you want to add to your subscription, making it easy to watch your favorite channels on your Fire Stick with ease. In addition to your local channels, you can get access to channels like AMC, BBC America, Disney, Cartoon Network, HGTV, ESPN, and plenty of other channels to watch regularly. It won’t be for everyone, but if you’d rather have a cable subscription not limited to where you are at any time, PlayStation Vue is a no-brainer—especially if the channel lineup offered by Hulu with Live TV disappoints you. You might have to pay more, but you’ll get plenty out of the offerings.
The most obvious competitor to cable comes from a member of the “old guard.” DirecTV has done a lot to push towards trying to replace old-school cable offerings, and it shows in their DirecTV Now offering. Starting at $50 per month, you can gain access to more than 65 channels, Most of the sports channels are included here, though some channels like CBS Sports are held for higher tiers. The biggest problem with DirecTV is its owner, AT&T, and you might not want to give your cash to AT&T if you’re looking to cut the cord. Still, it’s a solid option if you’re looking to stream live sports with a new subscription.
By far the cheapest of our paid options on this list, ESPN+ is Disney’s first streaming option, a predecessor to their upcoming Disney+ service. ESPN+ can best be described as ESPN3, but online. That means you can get content from sports like boxing and tennis, coverage of college sporting events, soccer, and international sports like cricket and rugby, alongside original ESPN shows like Quest for the Stanley Cup, ESPN FC, Ariel and the Bad Guy, and much more. It’s not a perfect app, but for $4.99 per month, it can help make your streaming library feel a little more full.
Free Streaming Apps
The unfortunate reality of sports programming is that, in order to get live sports through official channels, you often have to pay for cable, or a cable replacement, to get the full offering. Thankfully, if you’re willing to sideload applications on your Fire Stick, you can get access to a solid lineup of free streaming apps that offer full sports packages for viewing. Let’s take a look at three of the best free streaming apps for watching sports on your Fire Stick.
Pluto TV might sound like an app that sits next to Cinema, Terrarium TV, and Showbox, but in actuality, Pluto is a free, legal way to watch some great films and television shows. Known for their tagline, “It’s free TV,” Pluto is an odd app in that, while some content is available on demand, the app acts more like a free alternative to cable. Shows and movies air on a schedule, and you’ll need to properly tune in to catch the films and shows you want to watch. When it comes to sports, there actually are some streaming options through Pluto’s free streaming option. You can catch a number of original sports documentaries airing on the platform, and occasionally, live minor sports events will make it to air as well. It’s all pretty unique, even in 2019, and the fact that you can find all sorts of content airing on the platform makes it fun to browse whether or not you have cable.
If you’re looking for the ultimate free application for watching live television and you’re willing to not just sideload an app, but to take the risk of using an app consisting of pirated material, Mobdro is your pick. With a great interface that’s easy to browse using the Fire remote, Mobdro is one of the best ways to watch live TV on your Fire Stick without the use of Kodi. It’s an app designed around being able to easily access streams of all your favorite channels, from live movies to news stations like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, to premium channels like HBO, to locals like ABC and NBC. The app takes most streams from the east coast, so plan on everything airing in Eastern time zones.
We should also mention that the app is delayed by a couple of minutes, so expect your favorite shows, sports, and movies to start just a couple of minutes after they usually do (in our test, most streams were delayed by about 120 seconds). You’ll be hard pressed to find any live TV app streaming online that doesn’t have a delay—even from official cable carriers—so in our opinion, it’s not a bad tradeoff.
SportsDevil (Kodi Add-on)
Though there’s plenty of add-ons available online for Kodi, the amount that are dedicated purely to streaming live or recorded sports are few and far between. A lot of users online choose to use online streams through URLs, but if you’re trying to stream your favorite sports through your Fire Stick, you’ll need a dedicated platform, not just some links to URLs on your computer. When it comes to finding a solid, Kodi-based offering, no add-on beats the flexibility and ease of access provided by SportsDevil. With live streams provided from channels like ESPN and Fox Sports, you’re bound to find something to watch on the service, and although streams often don’t go live until the start of the game, SportsDevil still consists of the easiest, most flexible way to watch the NFL and dozens of other sporting events. We’ve found that sometimes it will cut in and out while using it to watch live sports, but when it’s the only option, it’ll do in a pinch.
Using a VPN
Not all of the options above on this list are hosting pirated material, but for those applications that do, you’ll want to make sure you don’t skip this section. Though some users risk their privacy by choosing to stream pirated content without the protection of a VPN on their device, we highly recommend using a VPN service to protect your data, especially if you’re using one of the less-than-legal services on this list. Though having a VPN on is very rarely the wrong choice, the privacy it adds to your device isn’t needed to enjoy your favorite services regularly. And although we also say that the less information you give internet service providers and online companies, the better, the truth is that a VPN won’t be right for everyone.
However, if you’ve found your way to this page, it’s probably because you’re using your Fire Stick for something that isn’t a standard application available through the Amazon Appstore. Be it basic piracy apps like Showbox or Terrarium TV, or more complicated applications like Kodi, which allow you to fully load your Fire Stick with a new interface, along with thousands of applications and add-ons to completely change how you watch movies forever. These systems are easy to set up and use, but there’s a big reason why people turn away from them: they aren’t entirely legal. While thousands of users get away with consuming pirated content on the internet every day, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone gets away with piracy. If you’re caught by your ISP, you can land yourself in some hot water, including losing access to your internet or even facing major fines from groups like the MPAA.
So, if you’re looking to consume pirated content on your Fire Stick, the best way to go about keeping yourself safe from getting caught is to use a VPN. Most popular VPNs weren’t necessarily designed with piracy in mind, but they do support keeping your internet use secret so that you can catch up on the latest hit series online without having to pay for cable or subscribe to yet another streaming service. To check out some of our favorite VPNs, check out our guide to using VPNs on the Fire Stick here.
Though it can be difficult to watch your favorite teams without paying for a cable subscription, it’s getting easier and easier each year as we move into a fully streaming ecosystem. Whether you’re looking to watch the occasional major sports event, or you want to catch every game day during the season, using your Fire Stick to watch, record, and replay your favorite sporting events is a no-brainer. Let us know in the comments what your favorite sports app is for the Fire Stick, and stay tuned to TechJunkie for more Fire tips, tricks, and guides!