March Madness Championship: How to stream Baylor vs. Gonzaga tonight on CBS

The final showdown in the NCAA’s men’s March Madness tournament takes place tonight.

The biggest game of the Big Dance airs tonight on CBS at 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT). Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 men’s tournament.

Jalen Suggs, No. 1, celebrates with his Gonzaga teammates after making a game-winning three-pointer in overtime during the 2021 NCAA Final Four semifinal.

Tip-off for tonight’s contest is set for 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT) on CBS.

Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois were the top teams in the tournament, each a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. After Illinois was knocked out early in the tourney, Michigan lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight, leaving just Gonzaga and Baylor as the only top seeds standing heading into the Final Four.

Those two teams will play for the title Monday night, but those looking to relive the tourney can find the full bracket on the NCAA’s website.

Yes, you can.

Live TV streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV all offer CBS, which is what you’ll need to catch the final game. They start at $65 per month ($70 per month for AT&T). Cheaper streaming services like Sling TV’s $35 per month Orange and Blue packages do not have CBS.

You can also get CBS with an antenna or with Paramount Plus, the new name for CBS All Access, a streaming service that runs $6 per month.

The game will be available to stream on the NCAA’s March Madness Live website and app, with the tournament’s CBS-broadcasted games — including tonight’s championship decider — available for free without needing to first authenticate with a cable provider.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see what live, local networks are available where you live.

Hulu With Live TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Click the “View all channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes CBS. You can use its channel lookup tool to see if you get a live feed of CBS and the other local networks in your ZIP code.

You can watch the CBS games on Paramount Plus (formerly known as CBS All Access), if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. Paramount Plus costs $6 a month or $10 a month for no commercials.

FuboTV costs $60 a month and includes CBS. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Outside the US? Consider using a VPN: CNET editors choose the best VPN

The NCAA took a number of precautions to protect players, coaches and fans and to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to disrupt play. Usually, the tournament is spread all across the country in various venues, but this year, to reduce travel, all 67 men’s games are taking place in Indiana with the bulk of the action happening in Indianapolis. Teams were also required to quarantine upon arrival, and in-person attendance by fans is limited to 25% capacity to allow physical distancing.

COVID-19 also has impacted some games, with Oregon advancing past VCU in the first round due to the Rams’ having multiple positive tests.

Per the NCAA, this year’s tournament was played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts) plus Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler’s stadium), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (home of the IUPUI Jaguars), Mackey Arena in West Lafayette (Purdue’s arena) and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington (home of the Indiana Hoosiers).

The National Championship will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On March 18, the NCAA tweeted out more images of this year’s floor layout for the courts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

UFC 265 Derrick Lewis vs. Cyril Gane: When it starts and how to watch

UFC 265 features a title bout between two strikers with markedly different skillsets.

Derrick Lewis and his post-fight interviews are the stuff of legend.

That said, this is still a compelling fight. Derrick Lewis is one of the UFC’s most recognisable stars and Cyril Gane is maybe the most technical striker in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Regardless of the reasons why the UFC set this fight up, it’s definitely going to be worth watching.

The remainder of the card features a few gems. A title fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena was unfortunately cancelled after Nunes tested positive for COVID-19, but Jose Aldo and Vicente Luque are both fighting on the undercard. Both always deliver high octane fights.

The UFC 265 main card starts at 10 p.m EDT (7 p.m. PDT) but here are all the details from multiple timezones.

The UFC now has a partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 265, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 264 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 264 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

As always, this fight card is subject to change. We’ll try and keep this as up-to-date as possible.

Bobby Green vs. Rafael Fiziev

Vince Morales vs. Drako Rodriguez

Alonzo Menifield vs. Ed Herman

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jessica Penne

Manel Kape vs. Ode Osbourne

Miles Johns vs. Anderson Dos Santos

Victoria Leonardo vs. Melissa Gato

Johnny Munoz vs. Jamey Simmons

NBA Finals 2021: How to watch, stream Bucks vs. Suns Game 6 tonight on ABC

Fans can watch the game live on Sling TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV, Hulu Plus Live TV or AT&T TV with no cable subscription required.

The action shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6, with tipoff for tonight’s contest scheduled for 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET) on ABC. Here’s everything you need to know to stream the action, no cable required.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will look to win the franchise’s second-ever NBA title and close out the Suns on Tuesday night.

The 2021 NBA playoffs started May 22, and the 2021 NBA Finals started on July 6. As in past years, each playoff series requires four games to win and runs up to seven games. The Suns have the home-court advantage due to their superior regular-season record.

Here’s the schedule for the NBA Finals, via NBA.com.

Tuesday, July 20 (Game 6)

Thursday, July 22 (Game 7, if necessary)

Nearly all of the five major live TV streaming services offer ABC (all but Sling TV), but not every service carries your local ABC station, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area. Sling, to its credit, will be simulcasting the ABC games on ESPN3, so you will be able to stream the games on its service.

Our top picks? For the most complete option — and a better app — check out YouTube TV. If you want to get all the games for the cheapest rate, Sling TV is the pick.

Since the games will all air on ABC, if you don’t want to use a streaming service you can order an antenna and catch the games that way.

Google’s live TV streaming service offers ABC for $65 per month.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Sling TV’s Orange package runs $35 per month. While it does not carry ABC, Sling says it will simulcast the games that air on ABC via ESPN3.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu Plus Live TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC.

Read our Hulu Plus Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic Entertainment package costs $70 and carries ABC.

Read our AT&T TV review.

FuboTV offers ABC as part of its $65-per-month Basic plan.

Read our FuboTV review.

Whereas the 2020 playoffs took place in a Walt Disney World bubble in Orlando, Florida, the NBA has played its 2020-21 season in regular arenas with fans increasingly coming back to stadiums as local COVID-19 restrictions have eased. Fans are allowed at playoff games this year, and both the Bucks and the Suns are welcoming near-capacity crowds for the Finals.

NBA streaming: How to watch the end of the regular season without cable

When it comes to following the NBA season, you’ll need a TV service with at least ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. We compare AT&T TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV and more to find out which service is the best for basketball fans.

Kevin Durant, left, and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets high five during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

While it’s not as simple as it should be, we’re going to try and make it a bit easier. Here are our recommendations for the best ways to watch the rest of the NBA season, as well as the play-in and playoffs, without cable.

Read more: YouTube TV vs. Hulu vs. Sling TV vs. Philo vs. FuboTV: 100 channels compared

When it comes to streaming all your local basketball games, the $85-a-month Choice package on AT&T TV is the best option for most people. It has all of the national channels — ABC, ESPN, NBA TV and TNT — and it’s the streaming service with the most regional sports networks.

Unlike the NFL, which largely broadcasts its local games on Fox or CBS (with primetime games on NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network) most NBA games air on a local sports network. For the Knicks in New York it’s MSG, for the Lakers in Los Angeles it’s Spectrum SportsNet and for the Bucks in Milwaukee it’s Bally Sports Wisconsin (formerly Fox Sports). The problem is that your local RSN probably isn’t carried by every live TV streaming service.

At $85 a month for the Choice package, AT&T TV is far from cheap, and for some it could be pricier than getting a traditional cable package bundled in with your home internet — especially since, as with every such service, you’ll need home internet to watch it anyway.

That said, it is another alternative that gives you a way to watch your home team’s RSN. In the New York area it’s the only provider that carries both MSG (Knicks) and the YES Network (Brooklyn Nets); in Los Angeles it has Spectrum Sportsnet for the Lakers and Bally Sports SoCal (formerly Fox Sports Prime Ticket) for the Clippers; and in Milwaukee it offers Bally Sports Wisconsin (Bucks).

AT&T TV also has some of the Comcast-owned RSNs, including (Celtics) and Bay Area (Warriors). You can check if your sports network is available in your ZIP code here.

Like with YouTube TV, FuboTV and others there is no contract required for AT&T TV, and you no longer need any special boxes or equipment. You can have streams running on up to three devices at once, with AT&T TV apps available on iOS, iPad OS and Android phones and tablets as well as Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs. The telecom giant also sells an Android TV-powered streaming box.

AT&T includes 20 hours of DVR and bundles in a year of HBO Max with the purchase of the AT&T TV Choice package, the latter of which is normally $15 a month. As part of a promotion, the carrier is also currently throwing in a subscription to NBA League Pass Premium, the league’s service that lets you watch all out-of-market games, for the remainder of the season as an added perk for those who sign up for its Choice or Ultimate packages.

If you want the free League Pass for the remainder of the season, you’ll need to sign up before May 2.

YouTube TV is the pick for those willing to sacrifice their local sports network.

The second-best option for NBA fans is YouTube TV. At $65 a month, a regular YouTube TV subscription checks many of the NBA channel boxes including having all of the major stations — ABC, ESPN and TNT — as well as NBA TV. The problem? It lacks most RSNs, though it does have the NBC Sports-owned ones in some areas.

The play-in games will air on TNT and ESPN while the NBA playoffs will air on those channels plus ABC.

YouTube TV allows three simultaneous streams, with YouTube offering unlimited cloud DVR. It’s widely available, too, with apps on iOS and Android, the web and on TVs through Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV and Fire TV.

Other options like FuboTV’s Family plan or Hulu with Live TV are fine, but they involve compromises. Fubo has some regional networks like MSG in New York, but it lacks TNT and requires an $11-a-month Extra add-on to get NBA TV, making the total price $76 a month.

Hulu with Live TV, which now also costs $65 a month, similarly has some regional channels, particularly the NBC Sports-owned ones, as well as TNT, ESPN and ABC. But it lacks NBA TV and the regional sports channels owned by Charter (Spectrum Sportsnet) and Sinclair (the Bally Sports networks and YES Network).

Sling TV’s Orange plan for $35 a month gets you ESPN and TNT, but you lose out on ABC and RSNs, and you’ll need to pay an extra $15 a month to get NBA TV as part of its Sports Extra add-on. You do get 50 hours of DVR but can only stream on one device at a time.

The chart below sums it all up. The base price is listed after the service name, while a dollar sign indicates that the channel is available for an additional fee. For simplicity, we did not include the RSNs as those will vary by ZIP code.

NBA League Pass offers the entire NBA slate for $199 for the season, with commercials and one device, or $249 for the season with in-arena feeds instead of commercials, and the ability to watch on two devices at once. Those interested in following only a single team can buy a Team Pass for $119 for the season.

While this is an enticing option for fans who want to watch-out-of-market games for the 2020-21 season, it doesn’t help with rooting for your home team. Local games as well as those broadcast nationally are blacked out, so if you’re in New York and want to watch Kevin Durant and the Nets take on the Warriors on ABC it won’t be accessible on League Pass.

With the 72-game regular season nearing its end, the league has dropped the price for the remainder of the season to $29 for the base package or $40 for the Premium service that allows for watching on two devices at once with the in-arena feeds. The Team Pass pricing has been reduced to $18. There are also new three-day free trials for the base League Pass package as well as the Team Pass option.

NBA TV remains a separate add-on but now runs an extra $20 (down from $60 at the start of the season) if you want to be able to watch games on that network.

With one weekend left in the regular season and playoff games on national television, you’re likely best skipping this route and going with one of the above providers instead.

Read more: Best soundbars for 2021

Preakness Stakes 2021: Post time, TV schedule, how to watch horse racing without cable

You don’t need cable to watch the second leg of the Triple Crown today on NBC.

The 2021 Preakness Stakes takes place later today and will be broadcast on NBC. Here’s how you can watch live without cable.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will attempt to capture the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

The Preakness Stakes takes place today, Saturday, May 15. TV coverage starts at 5 p.m. ET on NBC. Post time is set for 6:50 p.m. ET (3:50 p.m. PT).

If you don’t have cable, you still have plenty of options. The least expensive that doesn’t require streaming is to connect an over-the-air antenna to your TV and watch your local NBC station. You could also check out a live TV streaming service, all of which offer free trials and offer NBC. Not every service carries your local NBC station, however, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area.

Shandful of marketsling TV’s $35-a-month Sling Blue package includes local NBC stations but only in a handful of markets.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

AT&T Now TVs $70-a-month Plus package includes NBC in most markets. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Conor McGregor’s staggering loss to Dustin Poirier: How much money did each make at UFC 264?

A major upset at UFC 264 turns the tables on the highest paid UFC fighter on the planet. What does that mean for the size of the purse?

Conor McGregor of Ireland punches Dustin Poirier in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event in January. The two met for a rematch July 10.

A highly anticipated rematch like this was expected to make millions of dollars for the winner — and even the loser. In 2021, McGregor made a disclosed $5 million for losing against Poirier. The Ultimate Fighting Championship company is at the center of a billion-dollar industry, so you’d expect the athletes to make a large sum of the money. But when it comes to fighters’ take-home pay, the situation gets complicated fast. Here’s what we know about the size of the purse and how much athletes actually get to keep.

A UFC spokesperson didn’t follow up on a request for information after initially responding to a CNET inquiry.

Similar to the UFC, the Nevada State Athletic commission doesn’t officially release fighter purse information. However, The Sports Daily reported McGregor made $5,011,000 from the bout — $5 million to show up and $11,000 as fight week incentive pay. Poirier, the winner by technical knockout, made $1,021,000 — $1 million to show up and $21,000 fight week incentive pay, says The Sports Daily.

In the McGregor vs. Poirier fight at UFC 257 earlier this year, McGregor made a disclosed $5 million, despite losing. In the same fight, Poirier made $1 million. This doesn’t include revenue from McGregor’s share of pay-per-view earnings.

Forbes, which in May named McGregor the world’s highest paid athlete over the past 12 months, estimated McGregor took home an additional $20 million in UFC 257.

Similar to boxing, the higher you are on the food chain, the more money you earn per fight, even if you lose. UFC’s more popular fighters make more money depending on the revenue and audience they generate. McGregor is — by leaps and bounds — the UFC’s greatest draw. The UFC’s top five most-viewed PPV fights all featured McGregor in the main event. That’s why, in McGregor’s second fight with Poirier, McGregor made more money than his opponent, despite losing.

Likewise, in raising his profile, Poirier increased his earnings potential by defeating McGregor in a high-profile bout.

UFC fighters can also earn supplemental income from incentives throughout the night. Fight of the Night bonuses, Knockout of the Night, or Submission of the Night can all add to the athlete’s total payout.

Though the popularity of the UFC has been steadily increasing, the athletes aren’t taking home a bigger percentage of the fight’s total revenue. Former UFC athlete Cung Le, as well as other former UFC athletes, have sued the UFC, accusing it of operating as a monopoly.

According to several reports and an ongoing lawsuit, it was found that the athletes typically receive only 20% of the gross revenue the UFC brings in. This number is low compared with other professional sports. Major leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL reportedly pay athletes closer to 50% of gross revenue.

McGregor is a special exception and earns considerably more than other UFC athletes. When Ronda Rosey earned her highest disclosed purse, it tied with McGregor’s highest at the time, which was then $3 million. Since then, he’s blown that number out of the water, and no other UFC fighter has seen close to the amount of money he has. To date, his biggest payout wasn’t a UFC match but the boxing match in which he fought Floyd Mayweather. McGregor was guaranteed $30 million prior to the fight but ended up walking away with a reported $85 million, Forbes said. (Mayweather won on a technical knockout and bagged $275 million, Forbes reported.)

The money that funds the UFC comes from multiple sources. A large majority of these athletes are on contract with the UFC. Each time they fight, they’re guaranteed to earn a specified sum. Even on contract, athletes can earn money from pay-per-view purchases, ticket sales, closed circuit, commercial, other “PPV Event” revenue, merchandising, licensing and sponsorships.

The UFC also holds TV contracts that at one time were worth an estimated $1 billion. When it comes to athletes disclosing their earnings from a fight, there isn’t a specific distinction between what the UFC gives the athlete versus what the fighters earn from endorsements.

To the UFC and mixed martial arts fighters, Las Vegas is considered to be the “fight capital of the world.” Thanks to Victory in Vegas, a 2001 UFC event, standout names have steadily returned to Vegas for sellout events. It helps that the UFC’s headquarters is also located in Las Vegas.

“We’re going to build our own hotel. We’ll be completely self-sufficient,” UFC President Dana White said in an interview with reporters in August about a 10-acre land purchase. The UFC purchased the land near its current headquarters to build a hotel for fighters and their teammates to host events.

US Open 2021: TV schedule today, how to watch and more

See your streaming options for watching the toughest test in golf, no cable required.

Here’s what you need to know to watch the golf this week.

Phil Mickelson will look to make it two straight Majors at the US Open starting Thursday at Torrey Pines.

Golf Channel has the early round coverage on Thursday and Friday before giving way to NBC for weekend coverage for the final two rounds.

Here’s the TV schedule (all times ET):

For $5 a month, you can watch Golf Channel’s coverage on Peacock. In addition, Peacock will have exclusive live coverage at the start of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. Peacock will also show live coverage all four days of the tournament of feature groups and featured holes (11, 12 and 13).

If you’re streaming on a PC, phone or tablet you can watch on NBCSports.com or the NBC Sports app, but you will need to prove you have a pay TV subscription.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you can watch the tournament with a live TV streaming service. All five major services offer NBC and Golf Channel. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries NBC in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC. You can add Golf Channel as part of the Sports Extra package for an additional $11 per month. You can see which local channels you get here.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and Golf Channel. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and Golf Channel. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV’s Standard plan costs $65 a month and includes NBC and Golf Channel. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes NBC, but you’ll need to spring for the $95-a-month plan to get the Golf Channel. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV review.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. You need one of the Premium plans to watch the US Open. Peacock will show Golf Channel’s coverage of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday along with exclusive live coverage at the start of rounds 1 and 2 from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. You can watch feature groups and featured holes (11, 12 and 13) all four days of the tournament.

Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above except ESPN Plus offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch the afternoon action on Saturday and Sunday on NBC for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

Field of Dreams swings a TV reboot from The Good Place creator

The Kevin Costner classic gets another turn at the plate as Peacock greenlights a TV series written by Michael Schur.

Kevin Costner (left) in Field of Dreams.

Mike Schur seems like a safe pair of hands, although the material may be a little different from his usual speciality: As well as creating The Good Place, Schur co-created sitcoms Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The original Field of Dreams, meanwhile, was an emotional and fantasy-inflected story (with a bunch of funny lines). You can watch it on Peacock now if you need a reminder.

Based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams was written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Costner played a farmer who hears voices in his head telling him to plow his cornfield into a baseball diamond, attracting the spirits of baseball players involved in World Series match-fixing in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Costner emerged from the cornfield to deliver a spine-tingling intro to the 2021 Field of Dreams game, below.

MLB has promised a return to Iowa in 2022. Reports say the Cincinnati Reds will play the Chicago Cubs.

NHL in 2021: How to watch and stream hockey without cable

The season may be young, but some of the goals have already been highlight-worthy. Pull on your team’s sweater and we’ll show you how to stream all the action.

Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate their astonishing goal.

TNT will broadcast 50 NHL games, including the outdoor Winter Classic, Stadium Series and Heritage Classic. TNT will also air half of the Stanley Cup playoffs. ESPN or ABC will air 25 games along with half of the playoffs and all of the Stanley Cup Finals, while ESPN Plus and Hulu will stream 75 exclusive matchups. The NHL’s out-of-market streaming service, formerly known as NHL.TV, moves to ESPN Plus for no extra charge.

So what does all this mean for hockey fans desperately looking to stream their team’s games? The good news is that you don’t need cable to watch hockey this year, but it still might be the easiest and cheapest choice depending on where you live.

Read more: NFL 2021: How to watch and stream football, RedZone this season without cable

Die-hard sports fans are beholden to regional sports networks, or RSNs, that carry the majority of the games for their local team. These RSNs are usually included in local cable packages, so most cable subscribers never have to worry about gaining access to the broadcasts on these channels: They can simply turn on the TV and watch the game.

Cord-cutting hockey fans have a tougher path. Because of rights agreements, most live TV streaming services like YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV don’t carry many RSNs. DirecTV Stream is the exception. It has nearly every RSN, particularly the Bally Sports channels (formerly Fox Sports) offered by Sinclair, but you’ll need to spring for its $85-a-month plan.

Read more: DirecTV Stream review: Expensive, but the best option for streaming NBA and NHL

Ultimately, depending on location, getting a cable subscription that includes ESPN, TNT and the local RSN might actually be cheaper and easier for you than streaming — especially if it’s bundled with the home internet you’ll likely be getting anyway.

Whether or not you have cable, ESPN’s stand-alone streaming service is great for casual fans and is a must-have accessory for the zealots. It costs $7 a month or $70 a year and shows all out-of-market games along with up to 75 exclusive ESPN-produced telecasts per year. The catch is that your local team’s games are blacked out when they appear on ESPN Plus. Nevertheless, this is a huge savings for long-time NHL.TV users, as the all-access package used to cost subscribers $145 a year.

Even better for hockey fans, ESPN Plus just reached a deal to show 130 Kontinental Hockey League games — Russia’s top hockey league — including the playoffs and the Gagarin Cup finals. This is on top of ESPN’s NCAA college hockey coverage. That’s a lot of hockey for a little more than half the price of the old NHL.TV package.

Disney is also planning to show exclusive games on Hulu, so the $14-a-month Disney bundle might end up being an even better buy for hockey fans who also love TV and Disney/Marvel/Star Wars.

Those looking to just get ESPN Plus to watch their local team’s games will be out of luck, however. Most fans are in-market, meaning they follow the local team, and RSNs have broadcast exclusivity in the region that they cover. That means local NHL games are blacked out on ESPN Plus.

If you’re living in Philadelphia for example, you won’t be able to watch Flyers games on ESPN Plus. The same goes for Rangers fans in New York, Bruins fans in Boston and so on. The only way to watch most of those home team games in your home market is to get a service that has the local RSN, respectively NBC Sports Philadelphia, MSG or NESN.

Services like ESPN Plus use IP addresses to block out games in viewers’ regions — you’ll just get a black screen if you try to watch those games. That’s why ESPN Plus is ideal for casual fans who just love a good game, or superfans who want to follow one or more of the teams based in cities other than their own, aka out-of-market teams, but is less useful for fans of the local team.

Read our full review of ESPN Plus.

For those determined to watch their local hockey team without a cable or satellite TV subscription, a live TV streaming service is the best bet. While it is pricey, DirecTV Stream is the best option for most people, particularly those where the local games air on Bally Sports networks.

Below is a chart of all of the NHL teams in the United States and their corresponding RSNs.

Note: None of the US-based services carries the RSNs for the Canadian hockey teams. That means fans of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks need to use ESPN Plus to watch all the games that are not either on your local RSN or on a US national broadcast.

Some key takeaways:

One other note: If you don’t recognize the name of some of these channels, don’t worry. The Fox Sports RSNs have been rebranded as Bally Sports, because the channels are no longer owned by Fox but Sinclair, which has since partnered with casino group Bally’s and renamed them.

The NHL Network, run by the league, is still available as a stand-alone station. This season the network will air 90 games that will be considered national for those out-of-market. This means that you will still be able to watch your local team play on your RSN, but viewers around the country will need the NHL Network in order to watch the game as it will be blacked out on ESPN Plus. Fans might be able to save some money if they’re willing to miss out on the handful of games on the NHL Network.

The NHL Network is not included in many basic streaming services or cable packages and is not available at all on Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV. If you want it, chances are you are going to pay extra for it.

Many cable and streaming services group NHL Network into a multinetwork sports bundle. For example, Sling’s Sports Extra bundle costs $11 per month on top of a Sling Orange package and includes the NHL Network along with 13 other sports channels like NFL RedZone.

FuboTV includes the NHL Network in its $8-per-month Fubo Extra package. This can be purchased alongside any of Fubo’s subscription offerings, though Fubo Extra is included in the $80-a-month Elite streaming tier.

Lastly, Direct TV Stream users can only get the NHL Network if they subscribe to the $95-per-month Ultimate or the $140-a-month Premier package.

DirecTV Stream is expensive. It’s the priciest of the five major live TV streaming services, but it’s also the one with the most RSNs. Its cheapest, $70-a-month Plus package includes ESPN, ABC, TNT and TBS. You’ll need to move up to the $85-a-month Choice plan to get any available RSN. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels and RSNs are available in your area. The NHL Network is available starting at the $95-a-month Ultimate package.

Aside from DirecTV Stream, the odds are long that a live TV streaming service carries the RSN for your local team’s games, which makes the other four services better bets for watching nationally televised games.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and offers 12 RSNs for hockey. It also includes ESPN, but not TBS — which might be a problem for some hockey fans. But you can add the NHL Network for an extra $7 a month with the Fubo Extra Package or pay for the $80-a-month Elite streaming tier that includes Fubo Extra. Check out which local networks and RSNs FuboTV offers here.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and offers four RSNs for hockey, along with all of the national broadcasts. However, it lacks the option to get the NHL Network. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks and RSNs are available in your area.

Hulu Plus Live TV costs $65 a month and carries four RSNs for hockey along with ESPN, ABC,TBS and TNT, but not NHL Network. Click the “View all channels in your area” link at the bottom of its welcome page to see which local networks and RSNs are available where you live.

Sling Blue currently lacks a single RSN to watch hockey. You can, however, use Sling to watch some national broadcasts. Sling TV’s Orange plan includes ESPN and both plans offer TBS, but none of them gives you access to ABC. The NHL Network is available as part of the Sports Extra add-on, which costs $11 a month for either the Blue or Orange plan or $15 for the combined Orange-and-Blue plan. The individual plans cost $35 a month each, and the Orange-and-Blue plan costs $50 a month. You can see which local channels you get here.

Each live TV streaming service offers a free trial, allows you to cancel anytime and requires a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live TV streaming services guide.

Oh, Canadians, we know you love hockey and so does the NHL. But that means that you’re unable to participate in the league’s new deal with ESPN Plus. Instead, you’ll have to continue to pay more for a subscription to NHL Live for all of your out-of-market games. The service was offering early-bird pricing of CA$180, but that price jumped to CA$200 once the season started.

NHL Live has a nifty tool that will help you figure out exactly what games are available in your region with your subscription.

Cord-cutters in Canada might also need Sportsnet NOW at CA$15 per month and TSN Direct at CA$20 per month to get their local games.