Updated: December 2015 – FlashRouters has a brand new streaming player store featuring Rokus and other assorted media players.
Editor’s Note: We have recently added new posts on how to stream NFL games live from anywhere in the world, live US Open Tennis, and more.
We here at FlashRouters are not content to simply sell you a router or streaming media device and be done with it; we want to make sure you get the most out of your purchase.
That’s why we’ve brought you a series of posts detailing the best Roku channels devoted to music and television on your Roku, but so far, we’ve yet to give sports fans a serious look at the full breadth of options a Roku can offer.
That ends today. A Roku can be the perfect substitute for a sports fan looking to cut the cord on their expensive cable package while still enjoying baseball, football, basketball, etc. from their living room, and we’re determined to help you accomplish that.
A Brief Disclaimer About Live Sports on Roku
Generally speaking, finding free live sports on your Roku isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. Most of the most popular sports leagues have channels devoted to them such as MLB, UFC, NHL, NBA, MLS, etc., but require a paid subscription in order to access live games.
So when you’re considering which of these channels are right for you, it basically comes down to your sport of choice, the bonus features beyond live streaming games, and how much you’re willing to spend. Most importantly of all, it’s worth remembering that you can order any of these channels a la carte, thus enabling you to enjoy whichever sport you’d like without it being attached to a costly cable bill.
Best Roku Channels for Sports
WatchESPN – Well, this seems like the best place to start, doesn’t it? After all, what more could a serious sports fan ask for then round-the-clock ESPN coverage? ESPN has made their name as the premiere sports network, and whether it’s basketball, baseball, football, golf, tennis, and anything else you can think of, you can always find top-notch commentary and analysis alongside the games and highlights. You know ESPN. You love ESPN. For the sports fan who intends to stream a lot, this is the first place to start.
NBA Game Time – Stars, stars and more stars. There is a reason the NBA is the world’s fastest growing sport with fans reaching every corner of the planet. NBA Game Time offers some great free content. Non-subscribers can use NBA Game Time can still use the Roku Channel for access to updates on stats in ongoing games for their fantasy team as well as past games, and there are even some recap videos, highlights, top 10s, things of this nature.
But for a serious basketball fan, the real appeal of NBA Game Time comes with the subscription; that’s where you get the live games. However, those who get a League pass should make sure to pay attention to the blackout conditions, which vary depending on your location. Nonetheless, NBA Game Time is the best Roku channel for current and classic basketball coverage.
In fact, you might want to get a VPN to get access to blacked out local games this place season.
NFL Sunday Ticket – If you’re a football obsessive, then this is inarguably the way to go. Watch out of market games all Sunday long, or go with the ever-popular Red Zone Channel and flip between games that feature teams on the verge of scoring. No, it’s not exactly the cheapest option (with packages ranging from $199.99 to $329.99 depending on which one you choose), but it’s simply the best way to experience all of the gridiron action you’re looking for all season long.
MLB.tv – We’ve recently sung the praises of MLB.tv, but no discussion of Roku’s best sports channels would be complete without it, and any serious baseball fan will not want to weather the upcoming season without a subscription.
The benefits of MLB.tv are plain as day: you can watch over 2430 games in HD quality, live or on demand. No baseball obsessive could possibly resist that sort of access, even if a full season MLB.tv subscription will run you about $130. According to my math, that’s about a nickel a game. Pretty amazing. And you can use the same subscription across many devices and platforms such as the iPad. Play Ball!
NHL – Hockey fans looking to not only access out-of-market broadcasts, but also classic NHL moments need look no further. NHL GameCenter offers full-length and condensed replays, game replays, as well as 800 classic games!
UFCTV – This one is a little different than the previous ones, because there is some free MMA content available with UFCTV, although it’s not terribly extensive. You can access some Mixed Martial Arts fight previews and other minor features for free, but official live fights are on an on-demand basis. You can also pay to watch some of your favorite MMA fighters classic octagon battles as well.
MLS Live – This is the last of the subscription-based services that we’re going to recommend, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t cover the Roku channel that offers extensive coverage of the world’s most popular sport. Americans call it soccer, the rest of the world refers to it as football but no matter what it’s truly the beautiful game. And it is available right through your Roku.
MLS TV subscribers can access up to 230 Major League Soccer games a season with archives of condensed MLS matches following each match. Snag up a pass and you you will be gobbling up Seattle Sounders games in no time.
CBSSports – If you’re just in the market for general football news, highlights, analysis, and so forth on your Roku, then CBSSports.com is the channel for you. There are no proper shows on CBSSports.com, but there are plenty of clips from which to choose, most of which are taken from websites like Pro Football 360, Fantasy Football Today, and College Football 360. And again, it’s free!
Sports by blinkx – Lastly, for those looking for free sports content that don’t necessarily want to just hew all of their focus towards one specific sport, we recommend Sports by blinkx. Like other blinkx sites, such as their main site and Hot Gossip, Sports offers quick segments, typically between a minute and three in length, designed to catch the viewer up on some recent baseball news or basketball highlight. You can easily shoot through a handful of great clips within an half hour, darting around between sports without sitting through segments that do not interest you. Certainly worth adding to you channel roster.
Roku Sports Channels for Niche Tastes
Of course, the list above is by no means exhaustive, but rather just a sampling of the best and most popular Roku channel options for your average sports fan.
If your tastes tend to the more esoteric, then there’s plenty of Roku sports channels that could potentially match up with your taste.
Then there’s theSURFnetwork which bills itself as “the largest and most extensive collection of premium surfing related videos on the internet.” Or maybe you prefer your water travel a little more controlled, in which case Sail TV, which is exactly what it sounds like, may be more your speed.
You can go extreme with Transworld, and keep a healthy flow of action sports ike BMX, snow, and skateboarding videos streaming on your Roku. Or you can go in the opposite direction and relax with the languid pleasures of Sportfishing With Dan. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about saltwater and freshwater fishing. There’s even a channel devoted to the best GoPro footage available around the world!
Reflections on Roku Sports Channel Options
The ways in which we view sports and access sports analysis is, much like the world of streaming movies, television, internet radio, changing in monumental ways. Streaming devices like Rokus are making expensive cable packages – packages that force you to pay for content that you could care less about, along with the channels you wish to watch – borderline obsolete.
With the help of services like MLB.tv, or MLS on TV, or NBA Game Time, discerning sports fans can simply decide to pay for what suits them, and save the extra money that would have gone wasted. Frankly, it’s about time.