How Much Do Cord-Cutting Sports Fans Pay Each Month?

  • David Gonos

BOS-Cord-Cutting-Sports-Fans---Boston-Globe

I’ve been a fan of cord-cutting since the early 2010s, when I worked for a company that resold digital services, like Cable TV and Internet. I realized what a ridiculous amount of money we’re paying for those services unnecessarily, padding the pockets of companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

But I’m also a sports fan, so it became a tricky endeavor, knowing that if I cut the cord, I would most likely be giving up on a lot of games being broadcast on cable networks, like ESPN.

Then again, after further review, I’ve come to the conclusion that while I’ll have to give up some games, I should still be able to cut the cord on Cable TV, save a lot of money, and have access to way more games than I had realized.

Before I Cut the Cord – Monthly Bill $200

My Cable TV and Internet bill was about $200. I had a DVR, three HD boxes, the sports package for regional sports, and HBO/Showtime.

Basic Cord-Cutting Costs

Before we get to the sports, let’s talk about what it takes just to cut the cord and live off of over-the-air content and streaming content. What that means is you’ll need a few things to get started:

1. Good Over-the-Air (OTA) Antenna — $70 once

Depending on where you live, the Mohu Leaf 50 TV Antenna should be a good enough OTA antenna, getting you a good range of channels with towers that are just 30 miles or so away. (You can put your zip code in here and see all the networks and independent channels near your area.) This antenna is great, and even though it says “50-mile range,” it’s safe to aim for about 30 miles to be sure.

2. Streaming Device — $35-$100 once

While Apple TV is great because you can connect with all of your other i-devices, and Amazon Fire TV is great because it has voice control – the Roku is my favorite. You can either get the streaming stick for $35 or a Roku 3 for about $90.

I just know that Roku concentrates on streaming content – and that’s it. The other companies have other priorities, and it shows. There are more apps on Roku and they do a solid job. They do a good enough job that I firmly suggest you never buy a Smart TV. Just buy a great TV and a Roku with it.

So two one-time costs means you’re putting out about $105-$170 to start your cord-cutting experience right. Also, if you want to watch streaming shows to more than one TV, you’ll have to get multiple streaming devices for each TV in your house.(You can just buy a $35 Roku Streaming Stick for your secondary TVs.

3. Good Internet — $60 per month ($720 per year)

As much as we hate the cable companies, we’re likely still going to have to go through them as Internet Service Providers. (In all honesty, that’s where this entire industry is going to shift – Internet will soon cost what Cable TV costs, and vice-versa.)

4. Streaming Services — $10-$85 total per month ($120-$1,020 per year)

When you go to cut the cord, this doesn’t mean you’re done watching great TV shows and movies until they come on the major networks with tons of commercials!

Here are the streaming services I suggest you subscribe to:

  • Netflix: The King of all streaming content (for now) — $12 per month
  • Hulu Plus: This will be your new DVR, with tons of current TV shows streaming one day after the show airs. — $12 per month (Get the no-commercials plan! It’s only $4 more!)
  • Amazon Prime: For just $99 per year, you’ll get two-day shipping, tons of free TV shows and movies, and streaming music for free. You’ll also get free access to their awesome Amazon Originals, like The Man in the High Castle, Transparent and Red Oaks. This is the best $8.25 per month you’ll ever pay. — $8.25 per month
  • HBO Now: This is different from HBO Go, which connects through your Cable TV service. HBO Now is a streaming app that brings you all HBO’s content through the years (rewatch The Sopranos or The Wire!), while also giving you access to new content one minute after it airs on HBO. (Game of Thrones!) — $15 per month
  • Sling TV: With this app, you’ll get a bunch of the Cable TV channels you thought you’d be missing, including ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TNT, CNN, and the Disney Channel. This is for ONE stream only. — $20 per month
  • Sling TV: You can also pay for a secondary package for streaming to multiple devices at the same time, with even more cable channels for an additional $20 per month. Here’s a quote from their site on this secondary “Multi-Stream” package:

”Get local favorites and regional sports networks (where available), including Fox and Fox Regional Sports. Plus, watch top shows on AMC, FX, CNN, HGTV, and more. Fox Networks live programming availability varies by location.”

Your monthly bills for good Internet and all of those streaming services would cost you about $70-$145 per month.

How Much Do Streaming Sports Cost?

Now let’s look into how much it will cost to add more sports to your streaming world!

The NFL — $0

This is tough to say – but you’re not going to be able to stream all of the NFL games. There’s no package for it, but you can stream to your computer if you’d like through Yahoo!.

So, with the understanding that you can’t get every NFL game, remember that you’ll still get every Thursday night game that’s on CBS, as well as all of the Sunday night (NBC) and Monday night games (ESPN). And you’ll get your local games on Sunday afternoons for the AFC and NFC, as well as a national game.

All for free. That’s pretty good. Hopefully, you’re a fan of your local teams.

NBA Game Time App — $199 per season ($16.58 per month)

This is for every NBA game all season long, which is any hoops-head’s dream. You can also just pay for one specific team (with blackout areas), with the NBA Team Pass, to watch your favorite team for $119 for the season.

NHL All-Access — $132 per season ($11 per month)

Same deal as the NBA package, with blackout exceptions, but for a cheaper price. The single team package costs just $105 for the season.

MLB.TV  Premium Package– $110 per season ($9.17 per month)

Get every out-of-market regular season baseball game, with both home and away broadcasts, and a live DVR action inside the app, for your Roku for $110 a year. If you’re a baseball fan of a team outside of your city, this is an incredible deal.

For other sports, you’ll have to check individually, but many of them have packages available through Roku.

So for $441 per year, or $36.75 per month for 12 months, a sports fan can get every out-of-market MLB, NBA and NHL game, along with all of the NFL games they’ll already be getting every Thursday, Sunday and Monday of the NFL season. That’s a pretty great deal!

Let’s add it all up! Not counting the initial layout for the streaming device and the OTA antenna, let’s figure out the total price. The cost for Internet, all of the streaming apps mentioned, and all of the out-of-market sports games we mentioned,

Total Price for a Total Cord-Cutting Sports Fan: $182 per month!

When you think about all of the games you’ll have access to, replacing all of the Cable TV channels that you basically gave up when you cut the cord, this is a great deal!

Happy cord-cutting, psycho sports fans!

David Gonos

David Gonos has been writing about sports online since 2001, including CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com, NFL.com, MLB.com and SportsIllustrated.com.