Sports Without the Cord

January 30, 2012

To some people, cutting the cord is a no brainer. With the economic slump, many have made due with Netflix, Hulu, among a bevy of other services.

Yet one resistant group has held out: the sports fans. With their content under tight ownership, fans have relented, chained to their cable boxes and satellite dishes. About 80 percent of subscribers cite sports as a reason to stick with pay TV, Credit Suisse reports. Without a centralized and convenient way to watch live sports online, fans have held on to exorbitant cable packages, but there are workarounds. 
 
With the start of NFL playoffs coming up this weekend, we thought we’d showcase five ways to watch sports cord-free.
 
1. Football
NFL Game Rewind provides on-demand video of the current and prior two seasons, but its main drawback is that none of it is available live. Its features include HD DVR, video markers for the biggest plays and a condensed version about 30 minutes long. The last option includes every play in a game but excludes commercials, huddles, timeouts and other downtime. Newscasts, blogs, social media and friends can spoil the game in real time, so if you're diligent enough, you can find live streams on various forums, such as WiZiWiG.
 
2. Basketball
NBA League Pass lets you watch games online and on mobile devices. With it, you can watch three games simultaneously and have access to the full season's archives with DVR controls. The mobile pass can stream and replay games over 3G and WiFi.
 
3. Baseball
MLB.tv gives you access to regular and postseason games in HD quality with DVR controls and stats. You can watch from the browser in addition to set-top boxes, smart TVs and mobile devices.
 
4. Hockey
Canadians, we have not forgotten about you. NHL GameCenter Live gives you access to live and on-demand games, including 800 classic games from NHL Vault. This season, NHL is in the TV everywhere game: Live games can be watched on smartphones, tablets, TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles. GameCenter includes a slow motion DVR function, so you can watch and rewatch the best plays and punches. 
 
5. Everything else
WatchESPN.com offers a great viewing experience for live and on-demand games, in addition to access to its shows such as “SportsCenter.” But users do need to authenticate. Everton FC, an English football (read: soccer) association from Liverpool, also offers some free broadcasts online, but many require a subscription. If all else fails, do you really need an excuse to head to the neighborhood sports bar?
 
Finally, this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have any favorite legal online sports-viewing experiences, let us know in the comments section below!

 

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