Enjoy the following guest post from the cord cutting expert behind CutCableToday.com, Chris Brantner.
We wait for it all year…and now it’s upon us. No, I’m not talking about Christmas. I’m talking about the college bowl games. 2 weeks of live college football nearly every single day. It simply doesn’t get any better than that for sports fans.
The question is, with so many bowl games (there are FORTY of them this year!), how are you going to watch? Surely you’re going to need an expensive cable subscription to catch the action, right? Wrong.
You can catch every single big game over the next few weeks, all the way through the College Football Playoff Championship Game on January 11, without giving the cable company a cent. Let’s find out how.
What networks are airing the college bowl games? If you take a look at this schedule, you’ll see that coverage is shared across CBS, ABC, and ESPN.
If you’re reading this blog, then you probably already know that gaining access to CBS and ABC is as simple as getting your hands on a Mohu antenna (I personally use the Mohu Leaf 50). Assuming you’re within range, your antenna will allow you to watch a handful of bowl games, most notably of which is the Las Vegas Bowl, airing on bowl season’s opening day on ABC. Look for the matchup between Utah and BYU to be intense.
You’ll also get to see the Celebration Bowl, Cure Bowl, the Sun Bowl, and more. All in HD for free. Not bad, right?
While your antenna will give you access to some of the action, you’re going to need ESPN to catch most of the bigger matchups. In the past, this would have proven to be quite the problem. But times are-a-changin’ and cord cutters now have a nifty little service called “Sling TV.”
If you haven’t heard of Sling TV, it’s a service created by Dish Network that allows you to stream a small bundle of cable channels without a contract. You pay $20 a month and gain access to ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, AMC, and more, all through your internet connection. They even offer a free trial so you can test the service for 7 days. (Incidentally, that means you can watch like half of the bowl games for free.)
With Sling TV, you’ll be able to watch over 30 of the college bowl games, including all of the College Football Playoffs…for only $20. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal for any college fan.
While antenna + Sling TV is the simplest answer for cord cutters looking to watch the bowl games, you do have a few other options out there.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York, then all you need is one streaming service to catch ALL the action: PlayStation Vue. Similar to Sling TV, PlayStation Vue lets you stream live channels without a cable contract. However, there are a few key differences (both good and bad).
First of all, Vue gives you access to the big networks streamed using your PS3, PS4, Amazon Fire TV, or Chromecast. That means if you have the service, you won’t need an antenna. But you’re going to pay for it. PlayStation Vue starts at $49.99 per month, more than double the price of a Sling TV subscription. So it may be more cost effective to go the antenna + Sling TV route.
There’s also the WatchESPN app. WatchESPN should give access to a lot of bowl game content, including the games that air on ABC. However, you do need to login with credentials from a participating provider. In most cases, that means you need cable TV service, although some ISPs will grant you access (you can view the list of participating providers here).
Your Sling TV credentials will also work to gain access.
Sports used to be the thing that kept people glued to their cable subscriptions. However, that’s quickly falling away. Now events like college bowl games are becoming more accessible to cord cutters and cord nevers alike. You can learn more about how to watch sports without cable in my in-depth guide here.
Enjoy the football this weekend. I know I will!
This week's latest in cordcutting news and trends: New OTA stations, why it might be time to rescan your antenna, a look at Pay TV's sneaky hidden fees, Mohu's Independence Day sale and more.
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A new report found that there are over 100 available over-the-air stations you can watch for free with an antenna.