How to watch ESPN on your Roku device

If you’re a big fan of sports, you might be on the lookout for options to cut the cable and only watch the kind of programming you want. After all, why spend money on all the extra channels that you won’t even watch? So you might be considering subscribing to ESPN on Roku instead of getting a full-fledged cable subscription.

Roku has made a name for its low-cost yet powerful streaming devices. And you have the option to get many of the leading streaming services as well as select standalone channels on your Roku device. So for sports fans, it could be the perfect way to watch ESPN, which provides live broadcasts of popular games and events.

This means you get to watch major sports like baseball, basketball, football, mixed martial arts and soccer with your ESPN subscription. So you’ll be able to follow popular events like Monday Night Pick’em and UFC 253 Pick’em. Or you can catch the NBA Playoffs, the UEFA Champions League and many more. In addition, the impressive selection of game analyses and additional programming also make the channel a worthwhile choice for sports fans.

Roku has offered the basic ESPN channel for a few years and introduced a revamped version after the launch of ESPN+ in 2018. So now you can use the ESPN Roku channel to watch both regular ESPN programming and ESPN+ on Roku.

What services do you need to watch ESPN on Roku?

You can watch live ESPN programming without cable through three leading Roku-compatible services — Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube TV. So if you subscribe to any of these services, you get to watch ESPN on Roku without a cable subscription.

PricePackageFree trial
Hulu$54.99/mo.Hulu + Live TVYes
Sling TV$30/mo.Sling OrangeYes
YouTube TV$64.99/mo.YouTube TVYes

The basic Hulu + Live TV plan costs $54.99/mo. and gives you access to 65+ live channels, including ESPN. And you can enjoy a free trial for seven days. With this subscription, you can also access the entire Hulu on-demand library and stream from up to two devices at a time. You even have the freedom to record live games and sporting events on ESPN with up to 50 hours of cloud DVR storage.

Sling TV is the most affordable option to watch live ESPN programming without cable, but it only allows a single simultaneous stream with the Orange plan. ESPN is a part of the Sling Orange package, which costs $30/mo. and comes with 30+ channels. You can try out the service by signing up for a three-day free trial.

YouTube TV is the most premium solution for those who want to watch ESPN on Roku without cable. ESPN is a part of the service’s sole plan, which costs $64.99/mo. and comes with an impressive 85+ channels. More importantly, it lets you stream from up to three devices at a time and gives you unlimited cloud DVR storage for nine months. Like many other streaming services, you can try it free for seven days to see if it’s a good choice.

Learn more about how to watch ESPN live streams on these services through our guide on watching ESPN without cable.

Does Roku require an add-on to watch ESPN?

As long as you subscribe to any one of the services given above, you don’t need an add-on to watch ESPN on Roku. But to watch additional programming and bonus content from ESPN, you’ll need an ESPN+ subscription. This costs just $5.99/mo. and will give you access to exclusive live events, expert commentary and sports documentaries not available on the regular ESPN channel.

To watch ESPN+ on Roku, you just need to subscribe to the service and access it from the regular ESPN Roku channel installed on your device. Learn more about the service in our ESPN+ review before you sign up.

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Access live sports and additional content with ESPN+. Bundle with Hulu and Disney+ for more great content.

What devices do you need to watch ESPN on Roku?

You only need a couple of devices to watch ESPN on Roku:

  • A Roku player with an internet connection
  • A compatible TV

Alternatively, you’ll just need your TV and an internet connection to watch ESPN on a Roku TV.

Do you need an app?

You’ll need the ESPN app to watch ESPN on Roku. This app is available as a “channel” in the Roku Channel Store. The same app will also let you access ESPN+ on Roku if that’s what you want to watch.

How to watch ESPN on Roku step-by-step

The process to watch ESPN on Roku is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to start by adding the ESPN channel to your Roku account if you haven’t already.

  • Step 1 – Select “Streaming Channels” on your Roku home screen to get to the Roku Channel Store.
  • Step 2 – From here, you’ll have several options to find the ESPN app. You can either scroll through the entire list to find it or you can go to the “Sports” category and find ESPN from there. The fastest option is to use the search feature in the left navigation bar. Type in “ESPN,” and this will bring up the channel.
  • Step 3 – Choose “Add Channel” to add ESPN to your Roku account.
  • Step 4 – Go to your home screen and select ESPN to open it.
  • Step 5 – Choose the service through which you get ESPN and then log in using your credentials.
  • Step 6 – Go to the ESPN activation page using your computer and enter the code on your TV screen to activate it.
  • Step 7 – Click on “Continue” and go back to your Roku device.
  • Step 8 – Select the programming you want to watch to start streaming ESPN on Roku.

Alternatively, you can also watch live ESPN programming from the official Roku app of your streaming service. Follow the same steps above to add the service channel to your Roku account. Then sign in and look for ESPN programming in your TV guide.

Our hot take

To start watching ESPN on Roku, you can use any of the Roku streaming devices. Check out our review of different Roku devices to find something that fits your budget and streaming needs. If you want to watch it without cable, you’ll also need a subscription to any one of the three services that offer ESPN as part of their channel lineup — Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV or YouTube TV.

But if you want to access additional content from ESPN+, you’ll also need a separate subscription for that. Once you have everything you need, you just need to follow the simple steps given above to start streaming ESPN on Roku.

Jacqueline Zote

Jacqueline Zote is a digital marketing and entertainment writer who makes regular contributions to Sprout Social and Recreation Insider. Her interests range from pop culture and mythology to social activism. When she’s not writing, she goes on food adventures and binges on crime drama. Her short fiction has been published by HarperCollins Publishers and Zubaan Books.