It’s been said before in our annual streaming guide to college baseball, but it bears mentioning again. The college game has never been more accessible to fans.
There are still holdouts in terms of streaming games in various parts of the country, particularly at the low-major level where budgets and the facilities might not allow for it, but a majority of Division I college baseball games played on any given day during the season are available to watch somewhere. You may have to pay extra or you may not have access to the particular channel you need, but it’s theoretically an option. And that’s way more than you could say even 10 or 15 years ago.
Once again, to help you navigate all of the streaming considerations in college baseball, here’s our streaming guide to the sport.
First, below is a grid to give you the lay of the land on what channels are available on each of the major live TV streaming platforms.
|DirectTV Stream||Fubo TV||Hulu + Live TV||Sling TV||YouTube TV|
The good news about weighing streaming service options is that many of the channels that air the most college baseball games, including the ACC Network, Big Ten Network and SEC Network, are widely available and in most cases are not in a particularly expensive pricing tier.
Note that CBS Sports Network, FS1 and FS2 are listed in the grid because those channels have in the past shown a handful of college baseball games each season. Even if that remains true this season, we’re talking about a very small number of games, so unless other programming on those channels is important to you, availability and pricing of those channels shouldn’t drive your decision-making process as you’ trying to maximize your college baseball viewing experience.
Here’s a quick look at the streaming situation for the major conferences in college baseball.
As has been the case for a while now, any game taking place in an SEC stadium—save for maybe the occasional game rescheduled on the fly that didn’t allow proper resources to be in place—will be available either on one of the ESPN family of networks, primarily the SEC Network, or online at SEC Network+, which is available to anyone who subscribes to a service that gives them access to the SEC Network.
Finding a service that carries SEC Network isn’t difficult, as it is widely available, including on all of the major players in the live TV streaming space. It’s included in the basic pricing tier on some platforms and a slightly higher tier on other platforms, so do some comparison shopping before selecting a streaming service to make sure you know what your pricing options are.
Atlantic Coast Conference
All of the above about the SEC also applies to the ACC. Games played in ACC ballparks will be available somewhere on an ESPN-owned entity, most often the ACC Network and its streaming arm, ACC Network+. And as far as choosing a streaming service to get ACC Network goes, it’s carried in all of the same places the SEC Network is carried.
Big Ten Conference
As it stands now, there are ways in which the Big Ten both is and isn’t much different than the SEC and ACC in terms of viewing options. It’s similar in that its conference network is easy to get on all of the major live TV streaming services. It’s also similar in that most, if not necessarily all, games played in Big Ten ballparks will be available to stream.
What’s different is how these games are made available. Some subset of them will be available on BTN proper. For the last two full seasons, there were about 25 regular-season games on the network, and in years when the Big Ten Tournament is played, every game of that event is on the network as well. The rest of what’s available will be streamed via BTN Plus, which is a subscription service wholly separate from the streaming service you pay to get access to Big Ten Network.
Put another way, subscribing to a service to get Big Ten Network does not give you access to BTN Plus games in the same way that being a subscriber to a service that gives you SEC Network automatically gives you access to SEC Network+ games online. Having BTN and BTN Plus will require two separate subscriptions.
With BTN Plus games, it’s also worth mentioning that many of them are completely staffed by student broadcasters and production crews. While that is a great way for students at Big Ten schools to get real repetitions and it’s a way in which the network provides value to the campuses, it also means that broadcast quality can vary quite a bit from game to game.
Future Four: Highly Decorated Prepsters Who Chose Collegiate Route (Vol. 5)
The common thread connecting this quartet is their place as highly decorated prep prospects that chose the collegiate route.
By now, everyone is aware of the longstanding struggles the Pac-12 has had coming to terms on agreements for cable and streaming service providers to carry the Pac-12 Network. The result of that for our purposes is that the Pac-12 Network is carried on just two of the five major live TV streaming players, Fubo TV and Sling TV. So if you’re a Pac-12 fan looking to maximize the games you can see, those are your options.
The silver lining here is that some (although not all) teams within the conference do have non-conference games available via a free stream on their respective websites. Like BTN Plus games, these are often broadcast and produced by students, so quality will understandably vary. There will also be some Pac-12 games broadcast on ESPN networks throughout the season, including a night game between Stanford and UCLA on April 15 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson (for whom UCLA’s stadium is named) breaking the color barrier, but those are relatively few in number.
With a new conference commissioner, George Kliavkoff, having taken over the role last summer, there is hope that the Pac-12 Network situation will be remedied in some way before too much longer, perhaps making Pac-12 baseball more widely available. But for now, not a ton has changed.
Big 12 Conference
With the Big 12, let’s first get the outliers out of the way in Oklahoma and Texas, which happen to be the two teams leaving the conference for the SEC some time in the next several years.
Oklahoma’s home games will all be available on television through Bally Sports Oklahoma (formerly Fox Sports Oklahoma) or online via SoonerSports.TV. Texas home games, of course, are available through Longhorn Network, which among live TV streaming options is available only on Sling TV, but if you’re a Texas fan, you are no doubt familiar with the options for acquiring LHN by now.
Outside of those two teams’ home games, every other game played in a Big 12 park can be viewed on Big 12 Now, the streaming network for the conference available through ESPN+. The league’s arrangement with ESPN+ gets it high marks for ease of access, but the lack of a traditional conference network with which to broadcast games to a wider audience does hurt Big 12 baseball in terms of national visibility. Note that having access to ESPN networks on your streaming service does not give you access to ESPN+. It is a completely separate subscription service.
American Athletic Conference
The AAC is in its second season having its games carried by ESPN+. Prior to the 2021 season, the broadcast of baseball games was all over the map in the conference. Many broadcast games on an in-house platform, while others turned to outside-the-box solutions like Central Florida’s use of Twitch, primarily used as a video game streaming platform, to stream games. Now, ESPN+ is a one-stop shop for games in the league.
The Big West over the summer signed an agreement with ESPN to have many more events streamed on ESPN+. The press release says “over 600” Big West events will be streamed on the platform, but that total is for all sports, so it’s not entirely clear how many baseball games are included in that total or if baseball streaming will be limited to a certain subset of teams in the conference. Big West games were previously broadcast almost exclusively on its in-house platform, BigWest.TV, with the broadcast quality varying quite a bit from team to team.
Conference USA is one of the last holdouts that hasn’t turned over regular season baseball inventory to ESPN+ or another third-party platform. Rather, its games are broadcast on its own subscription service called CUSA.TV. The Conference USA Tournament, however, does move over to ESPN+ for the entirety of the event.
Other Considerations in Streaming
- It should be said that ESPN’s investment in college baseball has been a big catalyst in the sport being more accessible to fans, and ESPN+ is a big part of that. The following is a list of conferences that will be broadcast entirely or in part on ESPN+ (other than those previously mentioned), per an ESPN release: Atlantic 10, ASUN, Big South, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MVC, OVC, Patriot League, Southern, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt and WAC.
- FloSports is the exclusive home for CAA baseball games, so that’s a no-brainer if you’re a fan of a team in that league. Additionally, FloSports has rights to some early-season tournaments like the State Farm College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field, the Frisco College Baseball Classic, and the Round Rock Classic. Those tournaments all happen within the first three weeks of the season, so if that’s all you want from the service, you can get in and out having only paid for one month.
- The WCC and Mountain West both have agreements with Stadium to broadcast games online through their league-branded WCC Network and Mountain West Network platforms, although most games will be available for free through a link on each team’s website.