Is cord-cutting an option if you're a sports fan?

Anne Wynter
Thinkstock Photo

Do you sleep in your team's jersey the night before a big game? Did you name your pet or firstborn after your all-time favorite athlete? Have you signed up for more fantasy leagues than you can possibly manage?

If you answered "yes" or "that sounds like a great idea," to any of these questions, then you're probably the type of die-hard sports fan who can't stand to miss a game.

What does this mean for your television options? Well, even though many people are on missions to cancel their traditional TV subscriptions in favor of streaming services, sports fans might want to consider sticking with cable and satellite TV if they want to enjoy the best sports viewing experience.

Keep reading to learn why sports fans may have a tough time cutting the cord on cable…

#1: Live Sports Coverage

Many people insist on watching sports events live, says Ed Desser, president of Desser Sports Media, Inc.

And "if you want to get live sports, you pretty much have to buy the video packages from cable and satellite operators," says Desser. He notes that while some streaming subscriptions provide access to television shows and movies, these streaming options are limited in live sports coverage.

But what's so great about live coverage, anyways? Social interaction. Whether it's trash-talking, commiserating, or celebrating, socializing is an integral part of watching games, matches, and competitions.

"It's important to be able to experience [sports games] on a real-time basis so that you can chat with your friends about it," says Desser.

Short of sitting in the stands with a hot dog in one hand and a foam finger on the other, if you want solid access to live sports coverage, cable and satellite are your best bets.

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#2: Access to Games That Are Outside of Your Area

In addition to receiving live game day coverage, it's also important for sports fans to have access to their favorite teams and athletes.

But what if you're still rooting for your hometown favorites, even after you've relocated to the opposite coast?

Desser says this could be an issue, as games are typically televised in their own markets. "Say New York is playing the Los Angeles team," he notes. "The game would be available in New York and Los Angeles and then blacked out everywhere else."

Fortunately, many cable and satellite packages can give you the ability to keep your hometown pride going strong. In fact, the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association notes that satellite television "gives a sports fan the ability to follow a local team from anywhere in the country."

For example, NBA League Pass could allow you to watch that New York versus Los Angeles game in Kansas City, says Desser. This means that with the right cable or satellite subscription, you'll have a better chance of keeping up with your favorite team even if you're several states away.

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#3: The Ultimate Viewing Flexibility

Thanks to technological advances, subscribing to a cable or satellite TV package doesn't mean you're limited to only watching games on your television.

"Broadcasters and TV providers are giving customers more ways to view the content they're already paying for," according to a 2012 Consumer Reports article on TV viewing flexibility. For example, customers with cable and satellite subscriptions can also watch sports broadcasts on their smart phones and tablets.

Case in point: Desser says that the 2012 Summer Olympics coverage had some programming that was available on television and via online streaming. These options provided greater levels of flexibility for fans, but Desser notes that viewers had to already be subscribed to certain NBC networks in order to gain access to those programming methods.

Consumer Reports also points out that each cable and satellite provider has different offerings and restrictions - with some providing streaming or video-on-demand, for example. To get the best game-watching experience, it's worthwhile to search for a provider that can give you the exact combination of offerings you want.

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#4: Full Access to Exclusive Sports Offerings

Do you want to bump up the level of your sports fandom from devoted to rabid? WatchESPN and NFL Network could certainly help you get there.

WatchESPN gives sports lovers access to a suite of six channels - ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Buzzer Beater, and Goal Line - on a variety of devices, including computers, tablets, and smart phones. So even if you're on the bus, at the airport, in a waiting room, or at work (we won't tell), you can tune in to valuable sports coverage at the college and professional levels.

Of course, if you want this sports access, you'll need to subscribe to those channels through the participating cable and satellite providers, which include Cox, Time Warner Cable, Comcast XFINITY, Bright House Networks and a few additional providers.

Other sports offerings that are only accessible to customers with cable and satellite subscriptions include MLB Network Strike Zone, which is available on DISH, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Network. There's also the Tennis Channel, which is offered through DISH, DIRECTV, and most cable providers.

"Sports has become one of the primary reasons for people to keep cable and satellite packages," Desser says. So whether your year revolves around March Madness, the World Series, or the NBA playoffs, a cable or satellite package is probably your best bet for getting the live, flexible sports coverage you crave.