How to Watch the World Cup without Cable

by Adam Yamada-Hanff

If you want to catch all the action for this year's World Cup in Brazil, but don't have cable, how are you going to watch all the soccer matches?

Since about 2 million American Cut the Cord in 2013 and over 2/3 of Americans do not pay for cable or satellite TV service each month, I know there are a lot of people that are wondering the same thing, “How can I watch the World Cup?”  Have no fear for Adam is here and he's going to show you How to Watch the World Cup without Cable and for free! 🙂


ABC (American Broadcasting Corporation) will be showing the World Cup games over-the-air (OTA) in an agreement with ESPN.  Basically this means you can watch the games with a basic antenna and pick-up the digital TV signal to watch the World Cup games on your TV.

I prefer this Terk HDTVa Amplified Antenna which can pull over-the-air (OTA) signals from up to 50 miles away.  I've even gotten the Terk HDTVa to pull channels from surrounding areas like Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and Delaware.  That is about a 50+ mile reception range of course your mileage may vary in terms of your location for signal quality and strength.  Also the downside with this Terk HDTVa antenna is the base is not that stable and tends to fall over often.  Honestly it is the best antenna I own for getting a ton of digital channels for free though.

Whats' the issue with watching the World Cup games on ABC?  Seems ABC executives have only decided to show them on the weekends.  By weekends it's really mostly on Saturday.  On Monday the Ghana vs USA game wasn't shown on ABC.  I guess they figured, “What Americans want to watch Soccer on a Monday?  Even when the US is playing!”  That game was only available on ESPN meaning you needed a cable subscription to watch it.   There is a solution, but it may not be ideal for everyone.

Hablas Espanol?

Why am I asking, “Do you speak Spanish?”  Well in the United States broadcasts rights for the World Cup were secured by two different media companies, ESPN and Univision.

ESPN has coverage of the World Cup but like I said you need a cable subscription.  Some basic cable subscriptions don't even include ESPN.  

For non-cable subscribers luckily Univision has the rights to broadcast all the games but… in Spanish.  ESPN has rights to show the games in English.  The Terk HDTVa antenna I have can pick-up the Univision signal (14.1) all the way from just outside Washington DC from where I live in Baltimore, MD.

You can check if you can pick-up Univision with an antenna by visiting TVFool.  It generates a pretty handy signal reception map showing which direction stations are in relation to your house.  You can use TVFool to lock in a certain a Univision signal.  If you are having trouble I'd recommend finding a forum to get reception help and posting your TVFool reception map.  There is also this FCC Digital TV map tool, but it blows in comparison to TVFool.

Univision is broadcasting ALL the World Cup games and in high definition.  A lot of cable subscriptions don't' include HD service.

If all the dealing with an antenna sounds too complicated for you or you can't pick-up a strong digital TV signal, you can livestream the World Cup with Univision for free. as well.  The quality will not be as good but it's obviously more convenient for some.  Here's how;

How to Watch the World Cup Online (with Univision)

Step 1- Visit Univision

Obviously you need to visit Univision's soccer portal.  (They call it football in case you were not aware like most other countries.)  Here is the link.

Step 2 – En Vivo Hoy (Live Now)

how to watch the world cupThere is a box to the right that says “En Vivo Hoy“, which means Live Now, on the futbol landing page for Univision.   This is where you can click to watch the watch and livestream all the World Cup games online.

Click the orange lettering where it says “Ver Partido en Vivo“, which means “watch live match” in English, for the Soccer (Futbol) game you want to watch and you will be taken to the live-streaming page.

Step 3 – Enjoy Livestreaming the World Cup

univision futbolThank god for Univision is all I can say.  If you don't know Spanish, it's a great time to brush up those language skills.   Honestly you'll get used to watching Soccer in Spanish. 🙂

Note: If the game isn't currently Live it will just show social media stuff.  If the game is in halftime you will see this screen.


There's always the Radio

Radio, what's a radio? 🙂

If you'd rather hear the announcers in English call plays and tells you what is going on, what you could do is listen to ESPN radio online.  In your area the ESPN sports affiliate station may not be broadcasting the World Cup matches live.  They did not here, even for the Ghana vs USA game.  So again you might need to turn to your computer to listen to the World Cup games.  I've done this while doing working on the computer.

Watching the World Cup without Cable (and for Free)

Yes, this is a bit of a round about way to watch, or listen, to the World Cup.  If you don't have cable these are the best ways I know to get coverage of all the Soccer action.  Remember the Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima is encouraging everyone to watch “Futbol” so you better do it.

I hope my guide on “How to Watch the World cup without Cable” was helpful.  If you received value and benefit from this article please share it and leave a comment below.  I'm always glad when I've helped people.

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