It’s been an eventful season, and it’s all been leading to this moment. The playoffs leading up to the finals have been awesome, so it feels safe to assume you’re going to want to watch the NBA finals as well.
Like every year, the NBA finals stream on ABC and ESPN3, so you’ve got two options.
- Find a streaming service that carries ABC in your area.
- Watch the NBA finals on ESPN3 by signing up for a streaming service that authenticates the WatchESPN app.
Best options for livestreaming the 2018 NBA finals
Let’s break down your options for the best way to livestream the NBA finals.
#1 Sling TV: Watch the NBA finals for the best price
What we like about it: $20 a month for ESPN
Drawbacks: Cloud DVR costs extra
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the cheapest option
The cheapest way to stream the NBA finals and ESPN
Say what you will about Sling TV’s small channel packages, but Sling Orange is the cheapest way to watch the NBA finals. Sling TV breaks down its channels between two packages, Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Sling Orange costs $20 a month and comes with over 30 channels, including all of your ESPNs.
One of the reasons why Sling is our top pick is that you don’t need to go through the WatchESPN app to stream the NBA finals. ESPN3, the channel where ESPN airs the sports airing on ABC, comes built in to your Sling Orange subscription. You can access the NBA finals straight from your Sling guide.
Plan on watching the NBA finals live (unless you wanna pay extra)
Sling TV has cheap channel packages, but it does make you pay extra for cloud DVR.
Cloud DVR is an extra $5 a month for 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. Considering half the fun of watching live sports is following people like Rob Perez, BleacherReport, and Bill Simmons on Twitter, you might want to watch the NBA finals live either way. But if you plan on using Sling TV long term, you’ll want to consider the extra charge when budgeting.
Sling TV device compatibility
Sling TV is compatible with most streaming devices, so you shouldn’t have a problem streaming the NBA finals.
#2 YouTube TV: Watch the NBA finals on ABC
What we like about it: Tons of ABC coverage across the country
Drawbacks: $15/mo. more expensive than Sling TV
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who want a more complete streaming package
YouTube costs a bit more than Sling TV, but it also offers more bang for your buck in the long run. You can watch the NBA finals for free with a 7-day trial.
ABC, ESPN, and lots of other channels
YouTube TV is like the Golden State Warriors of the streaming services—it kind of has an answer for everything. The same way Steph Curry can shoot, Draymond can defend, and Kevin Durant can do a little of everything, YouTube TV gets you over 65 channels for $40 a month, along with unlimited cloud DVR and tons of local network coverage. It’s a service that covers all of your bases.
Even though YouTube has lots of ABC coverage, it doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily be able to stream the NBA finals in your area.
According to YouTube, there are two regions that can’t stream ABC live:
- New Orleans, LA
- Wilkes Barre-Scranton-Hztn, PA
Our deepest apologies to the loyal NBA fans of New Orleans and Pennsylvania. Thankfully, you can just watch the NBA finals using your YouTube TV account information with the WatchESPN app.
Record all the NBA you can handle
We get it—many NBA fans have little kids or hectic schedules and can watch the game only later at night. Fortunately, YouTube TV comes with unlimited cloud DVR with your base subscription.
You can record every NBA finals game and watch them whenever it’s convenient. Just know that your content lasts for only nine months. But something tells me that you’ll probably watch the NBA finals before that point.
YouTube TV device compatibility
You can stream the NBA finals on YouTube TV with Apple TV, Roku, mobile devices, and more.
#3 Hulu with Live TV: NBA finals now and binge-watching later
What we like about it: Hulu on-demand shows
Drawbacks: Not quite as much ABC coverage as YouTube TV
Who it’s perfect for: NBA fans who love watching TV series as well
Hulu with Live TV is right behind YouTube TV when it comes to ABC coverage, so you’ll have your choice between watching the NBA finals on ABC or the WatchESPN app. You can try out Hulu with Live TV and stream the NBA finals free of charge with a 7-day trial.
Live sports and much more
You’ve got two choices for Hulu with Live TV packages, and the only difference between the two is one allows you to skip commercials on on-demand shows. So, when it comes to streaming the NBA finals, it really doesn’t matter if you go with the $39.99-per-month plan or the $43.99-per-month plan that allows you to skip on-demand commercials.
No matter what package you choose, you’ll get over 60 channels, including ABC, ESPN, and TNT. Along with those channels, you get access to Hulu’s entire streaming library. If you ever get tired of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaq, and the gang, you can switch over to watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Seinfeld, or The Last Man on Earth during halftime.
Find out if you can stream the NBA finals in your area
- Before signing up for anything, you can check which local channels Hulu Live offers in your area.
- Go to the Hulu website and scroll down to the channel icons.
- Below that, it says View All Channels in Your Area.
- Click that text, enter your ZIP code, and you’ll get your local channels scouting report.
You also get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage with your subscription, so make sure to take advantage of that if you can’t watch the NBA finals live.
Hulu with Live TV device compatibility
Hulu Live streams on Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and plenty of other streaming devices.
#4 DIRECTV NOW: NBA channels for a cheap price
What we like about it: Great deal on price per channels
Drawbacks: Weaker ABC coverage
Who it’s perfect for: NBA fans who are fine watching the action on the WatchESPN app
DIRECTV NOW’s claim to fame is offering lots of channels for cheap prices. You can watch the NBA finals for free and try out DIRECTV NOW with a 7-day trial.
The Celtics of streaming services
As we all know, the Celtics are kind of like a budget contender. Despite the fact that you have over $50 million in salary sitting on the bench in suits—Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving—the Celtics managed to make it far by making the most of what they had. Likewise, DIRECTV NOW may not have the bells and whistles YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV offer, but it can get a lot done for a great price.
There are four different DIRECTV NOW channel packages you can choose from, but to watch the NBA finals online, you can go with the cheapest choice. The Live a Little package costs $35 a month and gets you ABC, ESPN, TNT, and over 60 other channels.
Location matters when it comes to streaming the NBA playoffs
Thankfully, DIRECTV NOW makes finding out if you can stream ABC in your area super easy. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code here. If you don’t see ABC in your results, no worries. You can still watch the game using the WatchESPN app.
If you sign up for DIRECTV NOW, you’re doing it at the right time. DIRECTV NOW just barely launched its cloud DVR service, which gives you 20 hours of recording power. That should be plenty to record all the NBA finals action.
DIRECTV NOW device compatibility
DIRECTV NOW streams Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and lots of other devices, so you shouldn’t have a problem watching the NBA finals on DIRECTV NOW.
#5 Wildcard: Using an antenna to watch the NBA finals on ABC
If you can’t get ABC with a streaming service in your area, we recommend going with the tried and true antenna. Sure, you won’t get cable channels like ESPN, TNT, and NBATV, but you’ll get ABC, which is all you need to watch the NBA finals.
You can choose any antenna that works for you and your budget, but we’d recommend going with the Mohu Leaf 50 on Amazon. We’ve tested a lot of antennas, and the Mohu Leaf 50 offered the smoothest signal with plenty of range. You should have no problem picking up all the NBA finals games.
How do I watch the NBA finals on WatchESPN?
Another option you have to livestream the NBA finals is the WatchESPN app. You can download the app on basically any device, but you need cable or streaming credentials to use the app. All of the streaming services we recommended here work with the WatchESPN app.
After downloading the app, just select your streaming provider, enter your login, and you’re golden. You’ll be streaming the NBA finals just like that.
2018 NBA Finals Streaming Schedule:
Note: all games can be viewed using Sling TV, or one of the other services described above.
All times in Eastern Time (ET)
Game 1: Thu, May 31: Cavaliers at Warriors, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2: Sun, June 3: Cavaliers at Warriors, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 3: Wed, June 6: Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 4: Fri, June 8: Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 5*: Mon, June 11: Cavaliers at Warriors, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 6*: Thu, June 14: Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 7*: Sun, June 17: Cavaliers at Warriors, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
* – If Necessary
We’re rooting for a long series
Last year’s finals ended a little too soon for our taste. We’re hoping we can see another series that’s reminiscent of the 2016 NBA finals, where LeBron James and the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win Cleveland’s first championship.
Don’t get us wrong—the Warriors are amazing and deserved to win last year, but we like a little drama. We’ll see what the 2018 NBA finals have in store for us.
So, what method did you end up choosing for watching the NBA finals? Do you have any other questions we can answer? Let us know in the comments below.