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Wow, this has been a World Series for the ages, as the Washington Nationals—facing elimination—blasted the Houston Astros 7-2 last night after one of the most controversial umpire calls—against the Nationals, no less—in the game’s storied history. You won’t want to miss tonight’s game, which will determine which team becomes world champion. Yes, Major League Baseball makes it hard for cord-cutters to catch the series, but our guide will show you how you can watch the finale without signing up for a long-term contract with a cable company.
If you have an over-the-air antenna and live within reach of your local Fox TV affiliate, you can catch the action without spending another dime when game 7 of the World Series starts at 8:08 p.m. Eastern time. Don’t live within range of your local Fox affiliate’s broadcast tower? No worries, you still have plenty of options.
Sling TV is your single best option for watching the postseason without a cable subscription. In fact, you can access a significant number of games for what you’d pay for a couple of beers at the ballpark. The Sling Orange + Sling Blue package includes ESPN, TBS, Fox Sports 1, and local Fox affiliates in select markets for just $25 per month. You can get MLBN by subscribing to the Sports Extra package for an additional $10 a month.
If you’re hesitant to add a streaming subscription to your budget just for the privilege of watching postseason baseball, remember that with a Sling TV package, you get access to many other popular cable channels including CNN, HGTV, and Comedy Central. There’s no contract, so you can cancel as soon as the World Series ends, though you might find you don’t want to. Sling TV also offers a free seven-day trial, so you can essentially watch the first week of postseason play without spending a dime.
You can also catch every game with a PlayStation Vue subscription. That’s the good news. The downside is PlayStation Vue’s Core package, which includes ESPN, TBS, Fox, FS1 and MLBN, will cost you $55 per month. The service can be used on PS3 and PS4 consoles and has dedicated apps for Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, and Android and iOS devices. You can also stream it to your TV via Google Chromecast or on your Windows or MacOS computer through a web browser. You can read our complete guide to PlayStation Vue here.
AT&T TV Now
AT&T TV Now, formerly DirecTV Now, offers ESPN, FOX, FS1, and TBS as part of its $50-per-month Plus plan that delivers access to 45 channels of TV. You can get those same channels in its Max package, which bumps the number of channels to more than 60 and includes HBO and Cinemax, but the cost of that packages jumps to $70 per month.
Neither package includes MLBN, so you might miss some American League Division Series (ALDS) games, but you’ll have full coverage of the Wild Card round, the Championship series, and the World Series.
Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV
Unlike the competition, Hulu and YouTube TV don’t offer subscription tiers with their live TV services. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach that costs a $45 and $50 a month respectively. The extra five bucks you’ll pay for YouTube TV delivers MLBN, which Hulu with Live TV does not offer. As with many of the services, there are 7-day free trials available for both subscriptions.
FuboTV has evolved from a soccer-centric streaming service to one that offers a full-spectrum of entertainment. It’s $55-per-month subscription now includes many of the same channels as the other services outlined here, which could make it easy to overlook, especially as it’s one of the pricier options. FuboTV, however, made a big play for seamheads this year by streaming MLB games in 4K all season, a move it’s extending into the postseason. That certainly makes its monthly cost go down easier, but consider that it does not offer ESPN or MLBN in its sole channel package. That means you won’t be able to watch the AL Wild Card game and likely several ALDS games. The usual 7-day free trial is available. Here’s our review.
If you’re an MLB.TV subscriber, you already have streaming access to postseason games—sort of. Although Major League Baseball’s subscription service delivers live streams of every regular season out-of-market game, the league’s blackout policies prevent it from live-streaming the playoffs and the World Series anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. Instead, archived streams of postseason games are available to subscribers in blacked-out areas about 90 minutes after the game’s conclusion.
If you have the willpower to abide a self-imposed media blackout (and can avoid spoilers), it’s not a bad way to watch the October action without taking on the cost of an additional streaming subscription. Even if you’re not a currently a subscriber, it might be worth signing up as it’s the least-expensive way to catch the postseason: as of now, MLB is currently offering subscriptions for $27 to catch the rest of the year’s games (on 90-minute delay, of course).
Major League Baseball continues to be stingy with live streaming. But hopefully as the NFL and NBA continue expanding their online viewing options, the league will rethink its policies in upcoming seasons. Until then, you can take advantage of these cable alternatives, and along with our guide to second-screen baseball apps, create your own Diamond Club from which to watch baseball’s 10 best teams slug it out to the Fall Classic.
Updated October 30, 2019 to report how to catch the final game of the World Series.
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Michael Ansaldo is a veteran consumer and small-business technology journalist. He contributes regularly to TechHive and writes the Max Productivity column for PCWorld.