Baseball and softball at the Tokyo Olympics: Everything you need to know

Baseball and softball are back. Here’s what you need to know…

America’s favorite pastime returns to the Olympics.

Baseball and softball will both run in a modified tournament format. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the international governing body established in 2013 to merge the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation, will run the competitions.

Each tournament — one for baseball and one for softball — features six teams. The softball tournament will consist of a single round-robin among the six teams, followed by a bronze medal game and a gold medal game for a total of 17 games.

The baseball tournament opens with a group round-robin with two pools of three teams. Each team will play the other two teams in the pool once, with a total of six games played in the group round-robin.

The group round-robin is followed by a knockout round of 10 total games, wherein the first three games feature teams that finished in the same position within their pools (A1 vs. B1, A2 vs. B2, A3 vs. B3). The loser of the A3 vs. B3 game is eliminated, and the rest of the competition ensues in a double-elimination format until there is one team left in each of the winners and losers brackets. Those two teams play the gold medal game.

Baseball’s sister sport, softball, also returns to the Olympics.

The MLB has never halted or interrupted its season for the Olympics, and MLB officials still seem reluctant to do so.

Shortly after the announcement was made that baseball would appear in the Olympics, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said it was unlikely that MLB athletes would play, as it would mean that some MLB teams would play short-handed or the league would shut down for two weeks during the Olympics. The latter half of MLB’s season is the most crucial, as it sets up which teams will make it to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series, so it’s even harder to justify players taking time away from their teams.

In 2008, the last year baseball was seen at the Olympics, the US roster was filled by minor league players and one college player.

So far, it seems unlikely that any big leaguers will travel to Japan.

Both tournaments will begin at the Azuma Stadium in Fukushima, with softball on July 21, 2021, and baseball on July 28, 2021. The finals will continue at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, with the softball final on July 27 and the baseball final on Aug. 7.

Check out the schedule of events here.

The Olympics are back on NBC, with a 24/7 stream online if you verify you’re a cable subscriber. NBCSports Gold will have a dedicated Olympics package — pay an upfront fee and you’ll be able to watch anywhere, uninterrupted by ads.

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast, so watching live should get a good spread of events. It’s a little trickier on the East Coast, where you may have to rely on highlights.

The BBC will cover the games on TV, radio and online in the UK, with more on Eurosport, a pay-TV channel. The time difference there is 8 hours, so you’ll have to get up very early in the morning to watch live.

In Australia, the Seven Network will spread free-to-air coverage over Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two. It’s a good year for watching Down Under, with Sydney only an hour ahead of Tokyo.

Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren memes: Welp, that was quick and weird

After two bizarre minutes, the YouTuber is now 3-0 in boxing matches. The internet questioned the whole bout.

Jake Paul defeated Ben Askren in two minutes.

Not everyone on social media was thrilled about Paul’s victory.

“This the saddest thing I’ve ever seen fam,” wrote one Twitter user. “Ben Askren got KO’d in less than a round, let the whole world down. We’re never getting rid of Jake Paul are we?”

Many of the complaints centered on Paul’s boxing record. In addition to Askren, he’s previously defeated fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA player Nate Robinson. Neither is exactly Muhammad Ali.

“Put him up against someone his own size and is a boxer and he’s done for,” said one Twitter user.

Another posted a conga line of clowns with the caption, “D-list celebrities on their way to getting KO’d by Jake Paul.”

Some tried to defend Paul’s abilities. Sports journalist Stephen A. Smith warned that Paul needs more fitting opponents, writing, “See, this has to stop. @jakepaul is not some scrub. He’s a pro now. Askren, even though he’s a @ufc fighter, is a grappler. Not a boxer. So why was he even in the damn ring? From now on, Paul needs to fight an actual boxer. He’s gonna hurt any non-boxer.”

Wrote one Twitter user, “Wtf do people downplay the people Jake Paul fight? Stop acting like Ben wasn’t an equipped opponent he’s an Olympian, great MMA fighter — pretty much an elite athlete. Even Nate was an equipped opponent, just accept their defeat wasn’t b/c ‘They were washed up or out of shape.'”

The length of the fight was the topic of numerous snarky jokes and tweets, too. Fans who paid $50 to watch it had to wait more than two hours, through a lengthy undercard and numerous musical interludes, for Paul and Askren to get into the ring.

Another hot Twitter topic involved musician Snoop Dogg and UFC president Dana White. After White reportedly bet a million dollars that Paul would lose, Snoop Dogg urged White to double that bet. When Paul won, Snoop Dogg, who was at the fight, screamed out, “Where’s my money at? Dana, where my money at?”

Of course, that unleashed a bunch of related memes. Writer Shaheen Al-Shatti tweeted, “Snoop Dogg screaming ‘Dana White, where my money at?! Dana White, where my money at?!?’ is pretty much the only way we could’ve ended this broadcast.”

As for Paul, he’s savoring his victory, tweeting, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” and following up a report that Askren won’t fight again with “WHO SHOULD I RETIRE NEXT?”

Step right up, future opponents — Paul doesn’t look to be hanging up the gloves any time soon.

NFL draft 2021: How to watch live today without cable

The NFL draft will be live from Cleveland on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. You can watch it all live, no cable TV required.

Five quarterbacks are expected to be picked early. Most draft experts predict the Jacksonville Jaguars will select Lawrence from Clemson with the first overall pick, and the New York Jets will take Zach Wilson from BYU with the second pick. Justin Fields from Ohio State, Trey Lance from North Dakota State and Mac Jones from Alabama are the other three quarterbacks expected to come off the board in the first round.

The NFL draft is a three-day event. Here’s everything you need to know to watch all the action without cable.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to be the first pick of the 2021 NFL draft.

The NFL draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network. Here’s the TV schedule:

On ESPN, Mike Greenberg will serve as host for the first two nights of the draft alongside Mel Kiper Jr., Louis Riddick, Booger McFarland, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter and Suzy Kolber. On ABC, Rece Davis will host with Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Todd McShay from one set, and Maria Taylor will host from another set with Jesse Palmer and David Pollack. For day three of the draft on Saturday, ABC and ESPN will combine forces with Davis, Kiper, McShay, Riddick, Mortensen and Schefter covering rounds four through seven.

On the NFL Network, Rich Eisen will lead coverage featuring Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis, David Shaw, Kurt Warner, Joel Klatt and Ian Rapoport. Peter Schrager and Chris Rose will join the NFL Network’s coverage on Friday and Saturday.

ESPN Deportes will have Spanish-language coverage of the 2021 NFL draft, featuring Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega from Monday Night Football.

The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the first pick, followed by the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. You can track all of the picks with ESPN’s Draftcast.

Watch live for free: ABC will air all three days of the draft. If you have an over-the-air antenna hooked up to your TV and get your local ABC station, you can watch for free.

Subscription options: The NFL draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the NFL Network. There will also be a livestream on the WatchESPN app or the NFL Mobile app (or ESPN.com or NFL.com). One caveat: You will need to prove you have a TV subscription (from a cable or satellite provider or live TV streaming service) that includes ESPN or the NFL Network in order to watch live on either app.

Cable TV cord-cutters have a number of options for watching the draft via a live TV streaming service, detailed below.

Sling TV does not feature ABC, but its $35-a-month Orange plan includes ESPN, and the $35-a-month Blue plan includes NFL Network. You can bundle the Orange and Blue plans together for $50 to increase your draft viewing options.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC and ESPN but not NFL Network. ESPN Deportes is part of the $5-a-month Español Add-on. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes ABC and ESPN, the $95-a-month plan includes ESPN Deportes, but none of its plans include NFL Network. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

European Super League: Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Man City all drop out

The controversial European Super League is crumbling.

Liverpool, among others, have left the proposed European Super League project.

The negativity was a direct response to a league that had the potential to wreak havoc on the traditional structures of European soccer, made up of domestic leagues like the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. The European Super League was designed to protect up to 15 founding members — the most powerful teams across Europe’s most powerful domestic leagues — from the relegation/promotion pyramid structure that anchors all of European soccer. A structure that goes all the way from the lowest levels of domestic soccer, all the way through to the Champions League, the biggest prize in club soccer.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was named as the inaugural chairman of the European Super League. It was his intent, he stated, to secure the future of soccer, not undermine it.

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” Perez said in a statement Sunday. “Football is the only global sport in the world with more than 4 billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

Read more: How to watch Premier League games live in the US without cable

But in the wake of the initial announcement, UEFA and FIFA — which runs the existing Champions League competition and the World Cup respectively — threatened clubs and players participating in the European Super League with removal from all other competitions, including the World Cup.

“I cannot stress more strongly how everyone is united against these disgraceful, self-serving proposals, fuelled by greed above all else,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said at a press conference Monday, as reported by the BBC. “Players who will play in the teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from the World Cup and Euros.”

“This idea is a spit in the face of all football lovers. We will not allow them to take it away from us.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the European Super League.

Six teams from the English Premier League, three from La Liga and three clubs from Serie A all initially signed up, making for 12 clubs. In the wake of fan outrage, over half of these clubs have withdrawn.

The original list of the founding clubs was as follows…

Where are teams from the French and German leagues? Teams like Bayern Munich from Germany and Paris Saint-Germain from France are undoubtedly among the biggest and best teams in Europe. Bayern and its German rival Borussia Dortmund announced Monday they are committed to the existing Champions League, which unveiled reforms Monday for the 2024 season. PSG is owned by the royal family of Qatar, which is holding the next World Cup and therefore unlikely to go against the soccer establishment.

Following backlash in response to the announcement, all Premier League teams have announced plans to drop out. Manchester City has confirmed it has “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” with Chelsea to reportedly follow suit.

Manchester United’s controversial executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also announced his resignation following the backlash. Manchester United has also officially dropped out of the European Super League.

Liverpool also stated that its “involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.”

Arsenal and Spurs have both officially announced they’re leaving.

“We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal,” said Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur. “We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the decision of English clubs to withdraw from the league.

“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is — if confirmed — absolutely the right one and I commend them for it,” he tweeted. “I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”

Inter Milan has also become the first non-English team to officially remove itself from the European Super League.

In response, an official statement from the European Super League was sent out.

“The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change,” read the statement.

“We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work.

“Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic.

“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”

According to original plans, the new competition was to feature 20 clubs made up of 15 founding clubs, with an option for five further clubs to qualify based on previous seasons’ achievements. (The details were currently murky on what those “achievements” actually mean.)

Each team was to continue to take part in domestic leagues, with European Super League matches taking place midweek. Two groups of 10 would take part in home and away matches, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for a knockout stage. Teams who placed fourth and fifth in each league would compete in a two-leg match to see who qualifies for knockout stages.

Then, those remaining eight teams were set to take part in two-leg knockout format to reach a single final, which would take place at a neutral stadium. A women’s version of this league was also apparently in the works.

At least, that’s how the founding teams hope things would work. Both UEFA and FIFA came out against the league. FIFA backed UEFA, which means participating players may potentially be banned from representing their countries at this summer’s European Championships and next year’s World Cup, competitions run by those international bodies.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we — UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations — will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said in a statement.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.”

The teams involved were aiming for an August 2021 start.

Given the controversy and the reaction of FIFA, UEFA and the fact almost all of the teams have now removed themselves from the project, it would be surprising if the European Super League started at all.

Reaction to the announcement of the European Super League was almost universally negative. The hashtag #RIPfootball rapidly trended on Twitter as did the phrase #disgusting and #embarrassing. People were very angry about this.

Some wanted to organize protests. Ultimately, thousands went to protests at various stadiums across Europe.

Former players such as England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand were quick to condemn the clubs involved, including ones they played for.

High-profile current players spoke out, such as PSG’s Ander Herrera.

Liverpool’s James Milner also spoke out against the league after a recent match with Leeds United.

“I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Eventually that became the collective response of most Liverpool players as many posted the following message on social media platforms: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.”

Jurgen Klopp, the current manager of Liverpool, had previously spoken out on opposition to a European Super League when it was first being talked about. “My opinion didn’t change,” he said in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

The European Super League illustrates the money issues many believe continue to threaten soccer as a sport. Unlike sports leagues like the NBA, which operate with salary caps, clubs at the top of leagues like the EPL or La Liga have been allowed to spend with impunity. This means they can solidify a position at the top of the game and rule over smaller clubs with an iron fist. Clubs at the lower end of big leagues can’t compete.

Neither can top clubs in smaller European leagues in Holland, Scotland, Switzerland or Portugal. The evolution of football over the last 20 years has made it difficult for former giants of the sport like Ajax of Amsterdam or Celtic of Glasgow to compete for major prizes like the Champion’s League. Given the structure of the European Super League, even getting the chance to play would be next to impossible.

For perspective, each founding member of this club was expected to take home $400 million for taking part in this league. That’s roughly four times what a team would receive for winning the Champions League, currently the most prestigious tournament in world club soccer.

For many, including former player and current broadcaster Gary Neville, the whole thing felt anti-competitive. Unlike most other soccer leagues, the founding clubs of the European Super League would not face the threat of relegation if they sit at the bottom of the table.

There’s also the issue of team choice. Teams appear to have been chosen based on fan base and income, as opposed to performance. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, currently in seventh and ninth place respectively in the English Premier League, were two of the teams selected, despite the fact smaller clubs like Leicester City and West Ham have outperformed them this year.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden reportedly said the British government would do “whatever it takes” to stop the English teams from taking part in the European Super League Monday. Dowden also reportedly accused the six clubs of deciding to “put money before fans.”

Considering the longer game, many were worried about the potential impact on grassroots football. The current format of soccer, which favors teams in leagues with huge TV deals like the EPL and La Liga, have seen many teams decline. The European Super League would exacerbate that process. For fans of the sport, this feels like the culmination of soccer as a rich get richer, poor get poorer proposition.

“I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as [a] result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Monday, instead pushing solidarity from European football and the “reliable foundation” of the Champions League.

In the wake of the announcement, Jose Mourinho, the high-profile manager of Tottenham Hotspur, has been sacked alongside all of his coaching staff.

Mourinho has yet to release a statement on the reasons for his dismissal, and it’s possible the two decisions are unconnected, but he has spoken negatively on the idea of a “super league” in the past.

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier at UFC 264: Start time, how to watch, fight card

UFC 264 is happening today! Here’s what you need to know about McGregor vs. Poirier.

McGregor and Poirier face off this Saturday for the third time.

This will be the third time the pair have faced off. The ledger currently stands at one a piece. McGregor defeated Poirier at Featherweight back in 2014, with a first round KO. Poirier returned the favour earlier this year at UFC 267 with a second round finish. The third contest will be the rubber match, and will almost certainly determine who fights the current UFC Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, next.

Who wins this time? Current odds have it almost exactly 50/50. Many expected McGregor to make short work of Poirier in the second fight given how conclusive the first was, but Poirier’s improved defence, along with an improved chin at Lightweight, allowed him to withstand early pressure in the first round before taking over the fight. An accumulation of calf kicks, and some sharp boxing, allowed Poirier to take McGregor out in the second round.

Can McGregor find an answer to those calf kicks? Will he switch his current boxing-heavy style for a return to the light-footed karate movement of his earlier fights? Can Poirier make lightning strike twice?

Make no mistake, there is extra heat on this fight. After McGregor promised a $500,000 donation to Poirier’s Good Fight Foundation, Poirier took to Twitter when the donation was delayed, which started a back-and-forth feud between the two. While their second fight had a cordial and respectful lead up, the third fight will no doubt be a far more personal affair.

In short: expect fireworks.

The UFC 264 main card starts at 10 p.m EDT (7 p.m. PDT) but here are all the details from multiple timezones.

The UFC now has a partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 264, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 264 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 264 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

The UFC press conference is done and dusted, but you can watch the event in its entirety above.

Unlike the last fight, a loss seems have brought Conor to his old, far more aggressive self. He seemed like a different person in there. How will the trash talk and tension affect the fight? It’s impossible to tell at this point, but this fight has a far more dangerous air about it.

White House confirms diplomatic boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

The move is in response to China’s human rights abuses. American athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Games.

The Biden administration says the diplomatic boycott is a response to China’s “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.” Above, a Games-themed sculpture is featured at Beijing Winter Olympic Park.

Psaki said the US doesn’t intend to stage a full boycott, which would prevent American athletes from attending. The last time the US staged a full boycott was during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow during the Cold War.

On Jan. 19, the US State Department under the Trump administration declared that the Chinese government is committing genocide against Uighur people and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. This is just the latest action the US has taken against the Chinese government, intensifying an already strained relationship due to years of tensions over human rights abuses and trade.

Monday’s announcement comes two months before the Games are set to begin. “We feel this sends a clear message,” Psaki said during the press briefing.

In response to the boycott, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday said, “I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation. This wishful thinking and pure grandstanding is aimed at political manipulation. It is a grave travesty of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a blatant political provocation and a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

When and how to watch skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics

Here’s what you need to know.

Skateboarding is at the Tokyo Olympics and it’s been awesome so far.

The park discipline will feature a course that resembles a large basin with lots of dips, twists and turns.

The Park event takes place on the 4th and 5th of August.

The women’s Park Qualification takes place at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) on August 3. The final takes place 11:30 p.m. (8.30 p.m. PDT) on the same day.

The men’s Park Qualification takes place at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) on August 4. The final takes place 11:30 p.m. (8.30 p.m. PDT) on the same day.

Skateboarding at the Olympics features two disciplines: park and street.

The park competition will take place on a hollowed-out course featuring a complex series of twists and turns. Park courses resemble large bowls with steep sides, nearly vertical at the top. Skaters send themselves to dizzying heights, performing jaw-dropping spins and tricks midair, and then gracefully bring themselves back down to the bowl to do it all over again on the other side.

The street competition features a straight course with stairs, handrails, benches, walls and slopes to mimic a real street. This kind of skateboarding is characterized by riding along curbs and rails, leaping into the air without using hands, and that familiar grind of board on metal.

Olympic skateboarders will experience at least some of the creative freedom they get in their home parks and streets: They’re free to choose which parts of the course to cover and, of course, which tricks to perform. Also, in an attempt to maintain the feel of the sport, music will accompany each rider.

Only one athlete rides at a time, and competitors get three timed runs to post their best score.

The street discipline mimics what it’s like to skateboard in a city environment. The course will feature rails, benches, curbs and other things you’d find on a real street.

Judges will score athletes based on speed, difficulty, originality, timing, stability and the overall flow of the performance. One important skill judges will be looking for is the ability to seem suspended in midair.

See hospitalized kids ‘run the bases’ at Dodger Stadium, via robots

Take me out to the ball game, bots.

Richie visits the baseball field from the hospital.

“Turn it that way, there we go,” Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux coached a patient, who was maneuvering the robot around the field from afar, using buttons that direct the bot backward and forward. “Hey, you did a great job running the bases,” Lux said, getting up close to the display atop the robot’s base, which let him interact with the young baseball fan via video chat. Young fans get to run the bases after some Dodgers home games, and this gave the ill children a chance to participate.

The foldable Ohmni Telepresence Robots, from OhmniLabs, stand just under 5 (1.5 meters) feet tall and weigh 20 pounds (9 kilograms). For this occasion, they wore blue and white Dodgers jerseys. Some of the patients also donned Dodgers garb.

“Experiences like this are incredibly powerful for patients who cannot leave their hospital rooms or homes because of their health conditions,” Kelli Carroll, director of the Child Life Program at UCLA Health, said in a statement.

Telepresence robots aren’t new. Among their many uses, they’ve allowed sick kids to attend school and beamed students who had to be out of town at prom time to the big event. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought the robots’ many potential uses into sharper relief.

“Hopefully, you get better and you can come out here, and we can play some catch,” a player told a patient named Crew who plays right center field and catcher. Here’s wishing Crew, and all others, a lifetime of home runs.

NFL 2021: How to watch, stream football and RedZone this season without cable

The NFL season may be past its midway point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stream the rest of the season.

The only way to get a full football experience is to have a whole litany of channels from your TV provider. Sunday NFC games are largely on Fox, AFC games are on CBS and Sunday Night Football is on NBC. Monday Night Football is only on ESPN. Though Fox has most Thursday night games (with additional streaming on Amazon Prime Video), there are several that are available only on NFL Network.

With all that in mind, we offer our recommendations for the best way to watch NFL without cable.

Read more: YouTube TV vs. Hulu vs. Sling TV vs. Philo vs. FuboTV vs. AT&T TV: 100 channels compared

Our pick from last year remains our go-to choice in 2021.

At $65 per month each, FuboTV’s Starter plan, Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV check all the NFL boxes. Local channels CBS, NBC and Fox are included in many markets, as are ESPN and the NFL Network, so you can watch Sundays, Monday night and Thursday night.

Want to follow your fantasy team with RedZone? That’s available on all three services as part of an add-on. If you’re a YouTube TV subscriber, you can add the $11 per month Sports Plus add-on by clicking on your profile and going to Settings, then the Membership tab. FuboTV subscribers can go into My Profile and choose Manage Add-ons to get its $11-per-month Sports Plus with NFL RedZone offering.

After Hulu added the NFL Network in July, Hulu users can now add RedZone for $10 per month with its Sports add-on.

Both YouTube TV and FuboTV allow three people to watch at once (Hulu allows two live streams) and all three have apps on nearly every mobile device and major streaming platform, including Amazon Fire TV, Google TV, Roku and Apple TV.

While all three are largely similar, we like YouTube TV for its superior DVR (unlimited storage compared with 250 hours on FuboTV and 50 hours on Hulu) and that it, unlike Fubo, includes the Turner channels.

Both YouTube TV and FuboTV will stream Thursday Night Football games in 4K, but only Fubo includes the higher-quality broadcasts with its base package. To watch in 4K on YouTube TV you’ll need to spend another $20 per month.

Worth noting: YouTube TV and Hulu are each running promotions that drop their respective $65 monthly prices down to $55 per month for the first three months for new users. This should take you through much of the NFL regular season before the pricing jumps by $10 per month.

DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV) offers most of the main broadcast channels, but starts at $70 per month and lacks NFL Network and RedZone.

Sling TV’s Orange and Blue plan for $50 a month gets you ESPN and the NFL Network, and, in select major markets, Fox and/or NBC, but you’ll still lack CBS. You can also add RedZone for $15 per month with the Sports Extra add-on.

A frequent fan-favorite method of following all the NFL action, RedZone is a way to catch every big play around the league. The cheapest road to RedZone is to get Sling TV Blue for $35 per month and add the $11 per month Sports Extra add-on.

This option can also be streamed on a host of devices including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and web browsers.

Sling is currently offering a discount on the first month of Sling Blue, dropping the price to $10 for the main package.

Note: If you only subscribe to Sling’s Orange package you won’t be able to get RedZone in Sports Extra. Your base package needs to be either Sling Blue or its larger Sling Blue Plus Orange bundle for you to be able to get RedZone as an add-on. If you choose the latter, the Sports Extra add-on is $15 per month as you will also get additional channels like the SEC Network, ACC Network and PAC 12 Network.

Those looking to save some cash might want to check out Sling Blue for $35 a month. While it lacks ESPN, meaning you’ll miss out on Monday Night Football, in select markets you’ll be able to get Fox and NBC. The catch is that those markets are mainly in big cities, so if you live outside one of those areas, Sling Blue might not be for you.

You can also add RedZone through the company’s $11 per month Sports Extra add-on.

Fox, of course, broadcasts most NFC and Thursday night games (with the others on NFL Network and/or Amazon Prime Video), while NBC has Sunday Night Football. CBS, which broadcasts the bulk of AFC games, isn’t included on Sling at all. But an antenna can fill those local channel gaps.

Local and prime-time games will also be available to watch for free on your iOS or Android phone or tablet through the Yahoo Sports app. You cannot, however, cast this feed to your big screen.

There are some apps that offer CBS’ slate of Sunday AFC games live, including Paramount Plus’ Premium tier for $10 per month. Depending on where you live, however, your local CBS station (and those NFL games) might not be available. CBS offers livestreaming services in many markets; you can check for yourself if your area has live CBS streaming here.

An antenna is another option for getting CBS, as is watching on the Yahoo Sports app. And as we mentioned above, an over-the-air antenna connected to your TV provides another free option, no streaming required, as long as you have good reception.

The 2021 schedule of NFL Network games.

Thursday Night Football is probably the most complicated part of the NFL streaming schedule. Most games will be available on the NFL Network, Fox, Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.

A handful of games, however, are also being shown exclusively on the NFL Network, including the Week 5 London game between the Jets and Falcons, and the Week 15 Saturday doubleheader with matchups that are yet to be announced.

As mentioned above, if you want the NFL Network you’re going to need FuboTV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV Blue or YouTube TV or use the Yahoo Sports app.

NFL Sunday Ticket is still largely limited to DirecTV satellite subscribers, though those who live in buildings that can’t add a satellite dish can get a streaming version to watch football starting at $147 for its To Go package for the remaining two months of the season, or $210 for a Max package that includes the RedZone channel (a student version is also available at a discount). You can check your address on the Sunday Ticket site. Both packages have a one-week free trial.

The problem here, however, is even if you’re eligible it doesn’t include local games. You can only watch Sunday games that aren’t being broadcast on CBS, Fox or NBC in your area. They also won’t be helpful come playoff time — as you’ll need your local stations and ESPN to catch all those games.

For $65 a month, you’ll get all the major football channels with YouTube TV. Plus, RedZone is available for an extra $11 per month. Plug in your ZIP code on YouTube TV’s welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC, Fox and the NFL Network. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

Note: This version of Sling TV does not include ESPN. For that, you’ll need to switch to the similarly priced Orange plan or go for the combined $50 per month Orange and Blue bundle. RedZone is also available for an extra $11 per month.

Read our Sling TV review.

Those looking for CBS games will be able to stream them on Paramount Plus with its $10 per month Premium tier. You can check for yourself if your area has live CBS streaming here.

Most Thursday Night games, starting with Week 5 on October 7, will be available on Amazon Prime Video. For millions of Amazon Prime subscribers, the Prime Video channel is already included at no extra cost. But if you’re not a subscriber, it might be worth it to shell out the $9 a month for the stand-alone TV service fee.

Read our Amazon Prime Video review.

Max Verstappen wins F1 championship in season closer, Mercedes launches appeal

A winner has been crowned at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi GP.

Hamilton held an 11-second lead over Verstappen prior to a safety car due to a crash by Williams driver Nicholas Latifi with five laps to go. Verstappen pitted during the safety car, with a controversial decision by the FIA then allowing all lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to pass before the race restarted. The FIA’s decision put Verstappen directly behind Hamilton on fresh tires when the race restarted on the final lap.

Mercedes has launched a protest against the decision, arguing it was a breach of regulations. The FIA dismissed the protest late Sunday, with Mercedes now appealing that decision.

Verstappen finished the season on 395.5 points, while Hamilton finished on 387.5. Both rivals started the race with 369.5 points. Coming in third for the championship was Hamilton’s current Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished the season with 226 points. Rounding out the top five were Perez on 190 and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on 164.5 points.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas won the 2021 constructors’ championship, with both of its drivers in the top three.

Verstappen broke his rival’s winning streak, but Hamilton and Michael Schumacher hold the record for most championship titles, at seven. Hamilton, who is also spearheading an initiative to push greater diversity and inclusion in motorsports, won the F1 championship in 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The drivers get just three months off now, with the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship kicking off on March 20 in Sakir with the Bahrain Grand Prix. Hamilton will continue racing for Mercedes with new teammate George Russell, while Verstappen remains at Red Bull with current teammate Sergio Perez.

Season four of F1 Drive To Survive will be coming to Netflix in 2022 to recap this year’s dramatic and controversial racing championship.