Winter brings some of the best sports action you can get all year. From the heart of the NBA and NHL seasons to topping off the NFL season with playoffs and the Super Bowl, there’s plenty of sports to enjoy, if you have the right TV package for it.
Provided you’ve got the time for a season-long sports binge, there are quite a few TV packages out there that have all the sports you could want and then some. Here’s a look at some of the best channels and sports packages for fans this winter.
Best for NBA – NBA League Pass
NBA League Pass is a standalone sports package offering up to 40 live, out-of-market regular-season games per week. Package features include choosing home or away broadcast options and live game streaming on your mobile devices.
Next best thing: ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and regional sports networks
ESPN and TNT host most of the NBA playoffs and are included with nearly every basic TV package. NBA TV offers game recaps and highlights, plus live games on occasion, and it comes with most mid-tier TV packages. Regional sports networks are your best bet for watching your local team, and availability varies by TV provider.
Best for NHL – NHL® Center Ice®
- Verizon FiOS
For fans of professional hockey, NHL Center IceⓇ is a must-have. Regular season NHL games can be difficult to find on regular cable networks, but this add-on package offers up to 40 live games per week. The sports package also includes NHL Network during the subscription period, plus live and On Demand game streaming on compatible computers and mobile devices.
Next best thing: NHL Network, regional sports networks
The NHL Network offers select regular-season matchups, plus commentary shows with in-depth player and team analyses. Regional sports networks are also good for catching the local team’s regular-season matches. The NHL Network and regional sports networks are available from most major TV providers and are often included in mid-tier TV packages.
Best for NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl – local channels
- AT&T U-verse
- Verizon FiOS
Fox, NBC and CBS will show much, if not all, of the NFL playoff action while CBS will host Super Bowl 2019 LIII on February 3, 2019. These channels are available from all major TV providers, with most providers including them in their basic packages.
Next best thing: Streaming or using an HD antenna
If you have or are considering cutting the cord, you can still get your football fix, though it might not be as good. Over-the-top services including Hulu, DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue offer live TV streaming on local channels. Additionally, an HD antenna will give you a live local channel feed, if you can get the signal.
Streaming or using an antenna is not as reliable as watching through a traditional TV service because an internet issue or signal interference can abruptly end your connection. Plus, you won’t have the pause, play and rewind functions that come with most TV subscription services, which means no rewinding that hilarious Super Bowl commercial or pausing the action to get more snacks.
Best for college sports – ESPN College Extra
- AT&T U-verse
- Verizon Fios
ESPN College Extra gives college sports fans a little bit of everything, including football, basketball and baseball from conferences across the U.S. It’s great for keeping up with a variety of sports and teams, especially ones that don’t always air on major networks.
Next best thing: Regional and conference-specific networks
Regional sports networks and conference-specific networks, such as the SEC Network, Longhorn Network and Big Ten Network, are available from most TV providers. Regional sports networks will give you more sports from that region, including select collegiate sporting events. Conference-specific networks are dedicated to sports in that conference and will get you big games, conference news, analysis and more.
Regional sports channels and conference-specific networks usually come with mid- or high-tiered TV packages or add-on sports packages.
Are you ready for the season?
Do you have the right TV and sports packages to catch all the games you want to see this season? If you’re not sure, check out available TV packages in your area!
Originally published 8/16/18. Last updated 12/17/18.