How to Stream Soccer Without Cable

Depending on which team you follow, you can watch just about every game of the season for as little as $5 per month

Two people watching soccer on a television Photo: Getty Images

When Spanish soccer powerhouse Real Madrid travels to Catalonia to take on arch rival FC Barcelona this Sunday in what is arguably the single biggest showdown of any sport in this year’s global calendar, I’ll be watching.

As it turns out, all you need is a screen, an internet connection, and a $7-per-month subscription to the ESPN Plus streaming service. And as someone who has been obsessed with the sport since World Cup 2002, it’s a huge improvement from where we were.

More on Streaming

I remember the days when it was hard to find soccer on TV, even with a cable subscription. Now the sport is one of the easiest for cord-cutters to follow, with the top leagues from England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and the U.S. available on legal streaming services that often cost less than $10 per month, on major platforms such as Android, iOS, and Roku .

“It’s glorious to have so many options,” says Christopher Harris, publisher of the website World Soccer Talk, which offers news and analysis about the sport’s myriad broadcast deals. “No matter what league, what team, or what player you follow, you can probably watch most—if not all—of the games. It’s definitely the best time to be a soccer fan.”

That’s not to say it’s always easy to find the match you’re looking for. Major League Soccer in the U.S. and England’s Premier League, for example, spread their games across a variety of cable and streaming services. For instance, if you’re looking for the other big Sunday showdown—Manchester United vs. Liverpool—you’ll need the NBC Sports cable channel, whereas if you want to watch Brentford vs. Leicester, you’ll need Peacock.

Below is a handy cheat sheet, organized by league in alphabetical order, on how to watch soccer without paying for cable (or as close as you can get to “without cable”).

England (Premier League)

Services: Peacock Premium, $5 per month; FuboTV’s Starter package, $65 per month; or Sling TV’s Blue package, $35 per month

England’s Premier League, home to popular teams including Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City, is probably the most confusing to follow because the games are shown on different channels from week to week. The list includes NBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA on cable, and the newish streaming platform Peacock Premium. What you might not know is that cable replacement services such as FuboTV and Sling TV carry these networks, enabling you to follow the league without subscribing to cable.

Christopher Harris at World Soccer Talk says some fans simply go to a local bar or restaurant when a game they want to watch is on a channel they don’t have, just as if you wanted to watch a Yankees game but don’t have the YES Network.

France (Ligue 1)

Services: Fanatiz, $8 per month; FuboTV’s Latino Plus package, $33 per month; Sling TV’s Best of Spanish TV package, $10 per month

France’s top league, known as Ligue 1, received a boost this year with the arrival of Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain, better known as PSG. Watching Messi & Co. every week is fairly straightforward because all Ligue 1 games are shown on the cable channel BeIn Sports, which is available via the sports-specific streaming service Fanatiz. The FuboTV and Sling TV packages listed above are the least expensive packages that carry BeIn Sports.

Germany (Bundesliga)

Service: ESPN Plus, $7 per month

Germany’s Bundesliga, home to the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, is super-straightforward: All games are shown on ESPN Plus, which also carries Spain’s top soccer league, as well as other sports, including mixed martial arts and select college football conferences.

Italy (Serie A)

Service: Paramount Plus, $5 per month

Italian football got a boost this year following the success of the national team at Euro 2020 in July. (The tournament was delayed a year because of the pandemic but kept the name “Euro 2020.”) You can follow teams such as Juventus, Internationale, Milan, and Roma with an inexpensive Paramount Plus subscription. The service includes select college football (such as the Southeastern Conference) as well as content from ViacomCBS, (“Paw Patrol” and “Seal Team”).

Mexico (Liga MX)

Services: FuboTV’s Starter package, $65 per month; Sling TV’s Best of Spanish TV package, $10 per month

Mexico’s top league is on a handful of NBC-owned broadcast and cable channels, including Telemundo and Universo. The least expensive way to get these channels via streaming is with the Best of Spanish TV package from Sling TV. FuboTV also carries these channels, along with many others, hence the much higher price.

Spain (La Liga)

Service: ESPN Plus, $7 per month

La Liga is home to popular teams including FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, with all league games shown on ESPN Plus. Many La Liga games are also shown in Spanish on ESPN Plus.

UEFA Champions League

Service: Paramount Plus, $5 per month

The Champions League is an annual European competition spanning September through late May or early June that pits the best teams in the top leagues against each other in a mixed-format tournament. The winner is proclaimed champion of Europe. The television rights for this competition have bounced around a little bit in recent years, but the matches can now be seen on Paramount Plus.

U.S. (Major League Soccer)

Services: ESPN Plus, $7 per month; FuboTV’s Starter package, $65 per month; Sling TV’s Orange package, $35 per month

Most MLS games are shown on ESPN Plus, though every now and then there will be a game that’s available only on the traditional ESPN cable channel. For those games, you’d need a service such as FuboTV or Sling TV—or a friend with cable.


Headshot image of Electronics editor Nicholas Deleon

Nicholas De Leon

I've been covering consumer electronics for more than 10 years for publications like TechCrunch, The Daily (R.I.P.), and Motherboard. When I'm not researching or writing about laptops or headphones I can likely be found obsessively consuming news about FC Barcelona, replaying old Super Nintendo games for the hundredth time, or chasing my pet corgi Winston to put his harness on so we can go for a walk. Follow me on Twitter (@nicholasadeleon).