Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and its international popularity is growing, as well. While NCAA basketball remains popular, nothing beats the intense action of the pros in the NBA. But what happens if you don’t have cable? Can you watch NBA online without cable TV in 2021?
You sure can! It’s now easier than ever to watch NBA games without cable. In the guide below, we’ll explore how you can get an NBA live stream from home without spending a fortune on cable.
Not in the US? Click to see international streaming options.
Channels You Need to Watch NBA Games Without Cable
NBA coverage is shared by several different channels. This season, coverage is split between the following channels, all of which are available on streaming services like fuboTV (free trial), Vidgo (free trial), Hulu with Live TV, and others:
You will want to have access to all or most of these channels in order to keep up with your favorite basketball teams. But don’t worry – we’ll explain how to get these channels in this guide!
How to Watch NBA Online Without Cable: At a Glance
For sports fans who have cut the cord, there are a couple of different ways to watch NBA online without cable TV. Keep in mind that these are all paid options – there’s no legal way to watch NBA online for free, unfortunately. Here are our top recommendations:
fuboTV recently added ESPN networks, as well as ABC, meaning it carries a good chunk of NBA games. You can test it out for free here.
Vidgo is your cheapest option for watching NBA online. Starting at just $30 a month, you can get ESPN along with many more channels. Check out the free 7-day trial here.
Hulu with Live TV offers a great way to stream NBA without cable and enjoy 50+ other great channels. You’ll get ESPN, ESPN2, TNT (a must for the NBA All-Star Game and Slam Dunk Contest), regional sports networks, and much more. If you’re looking for a full cable replacement, this is your best bet. There’s a free 7-day trial available.
NBA League Pass is a good way to watch NBA games without cable if you’re not looking for other TV programming. It’s solely for NBA games, and it has some significant restrictions for local games. Many games are blacked out for live viewing, but replays can be viewed after. We’ll explain more in the guide below.
Using Live Streaming Services to Watch NBA Online
If you’re new to the world of cable-free viewing options, you may be unsure of your options. If you’re looking for a complete cable TV alternative, a good option is to get a live TV streaming service.
These services, such as Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV, offer a package of TV channels to watch live. You’ll get a broad selection of networks, covering everything from sports to news to entertainment. You can get anywhere from 25 to 100+ channels, depending on which package you choose. Essentially, they function a lot like a cable package.
The difference? Price, and flexibility.
Flexibility is also a big plus. These services are contract-free, so you are able to cancel at any time without penalty.
These streaming options work over the internet. You will need a solid internet connection in order to use them. You will also need a compatible device, such as a Roku or Apple TV.
Once you’re signed up for a service, watching NBA online is as easy as tuning in at game time. You can watch from many of your favorite devices, including streaming players connected to your TV, smartphones, tablets, computers and more!
Keep reading for the specific services we recommend for online NBA streaming.
Use Hulu with Live TV to Watch NBA Without Cable TV
One of the best methods to get an NBA live stream without cable is to use Hulu with Live TV. It supplies all the channels you’ll need for NBA (excluding NBA TV), and offers some of the best coverage of local teams and local sports networks.
Hulu Live TV is an affordable cable TV alternative that gives you over 50 great channels to watch live. It’s easy to use, works on most devices, and is far cheaper than many alternatives. Here’s the scoop:
- Ideal for anyone who wants live and on-demand entertainment
- Over 50 Hulu channels to watch live
- $55 per month
- No contract or commitment
- Get NBA streaming channels like ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, TNT, local channels, and regional sports networks
- Watch your favorite local team and many nationally broadcast NBA games, including Christmas Day games, as well as events like the NBA Draft
- A great way to watch sports without cable
- Easy to use on Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, mobile devices, computers & more
- Comes with free access to a HUGE on-demand library to enjoy any time
- There’s a free 7-day trial to start off with
Hulu with Live TV comes highly recommended because it’s a one-stop-shop for all your entertainment. The 50+ channels cover almost everything you’ll need (although NBA TV is missing), and the on-demand library means that you’ll always have something to watch. Note that if you want NBA TV as well, you might consider Sling TV as an alternative (see more info on Sling TV packages here).
For more information, check out our Hulu Live TV review.
Using NBA League Pass for Game Replays
NBA League Pass is the official streaming service of the NBA. Unlike the other options we’ve discussed, NBA League Pass is only useful for watching NBA without cable. You won’t get any other entertainment options – it’s strictly NBA.
To add to that, League Pass comes with severe blackouts for local teams. Basically, you can’t watch your local NBA team(s) on League Pass because they will be blacked out. You also can’t watch any nationally broadcast games. Thus, the service is most useful for fans who don’t live near their favorite teams – a Lakers fan living in Denver, for example. Learn more about how blackouts work on NBA League Pass here.
With all that said, if you don’t mind the wait, you can watch replays of all games shortly after they air – even for local teams. Here’s the scoop:
- Best for hardcore NBA fans – ideally those who don’t live near their favorite teams
- Only good for NBA streaming – no other content or channels included
- $17.99 to $39.99 per month, depending on package
- Single team or league-wide packages available
- You can purchase a single game pass to test the service out ($6.99)
- Watch live games for out-of-market teams
- Live NBA games for local teams are blacked out
- Watch replays of all regular season games
- Relive epic NBA moments with a huge on-demand library
- Choose from condensed or full-game replays
- Enjoy select NBA games in virtual reality (VR)
- Watch up to 4 games at once with Mosaic View
Basically, we recommend League Pass for two types of people: NBA fans that live far away from their favorite teams, and NBA fans that don’t mind waiting for replays after the game. Beyond these groups, the blackouts make it difficult to fully utilize this service.
But for some people, League Pass represents a good way to watch basketball without cable TV. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but for hardcore fans the special features and ability to watch out-of-market teams may be worthwhile.
Other Options for Watching NBA Without Cable
There are other ways to stream NBA without a cable subscription. Hulu Live TV and League Pass are our two top recommendations, but here are some others to consider.
There are several services that are similar to Hulu Live TV that you can utilize. These include:
YouTube TV – from $65/mo – offers ESPN, ESPN2, NBA TV, TNT, regional sports, and more. See our YouTube TV review to learn more.
Each of these services functions in a similar way to Hulu with Live TV, but may offer a different selection of channels to utilize.
Watch the NBA Online Internationally
While there are multiple options for watching the NBA online depending on where you live, we recommend you check out EVPN. VPNs allow you to stream without geo-restrictions. So you’ll be able to access streams across the world, and protect your privacy in the process. Learn more about how to use EVPN to stream the NBA here.
Watch Your Favorite NBA Team Online
Click to learn about watching your favorite team without cable:
So there you have it – the best ways to get an NBA live stream without cable. We hope this guide was helpful. Do note that there is no real way to watch NBA online free, although you can watch a couple highlights on the league’s website.
For further information, check out our guide on how to watch sports online. We explain all the different ways to get rid of cable while still watching the TV you love without spending a fortune! And if you want to catch the G League, read our guide on how to watch NBA G League online.