What exactly is ESPN 3?
September 18, 2014 12:13 PM   Subscribe

My Comcast cable contract is up and I'm trying to decide if I want to cut the cord, or sign another contract in order to get my rate back down. The only thing not easily replaceable by Hulu / Netflix / Amazon is live sports.

If I have Xfinity Internet but not cable TV, I'll still get access to ESPN 3. What exactly do they show? MLB.com will cover my baseball fix, and the networks will cover what's left on my NFL interests. College football and basketball are the two things I'm not sure of. Does ESPN 3 show all the games that are being broadcast on the other ESPN networks? It's not clear to me from looking at the site what is on or not on ESPN 3 that would also normally be on ESPN or ESPN 2.
posted by COD to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
ESPN 3 in my experience shows all sorts of college sports that would not otherwise be on the main ESPN. I often get to watch my college team, a team in a big conference but not so good themselves on ESPN3
posted by 724A at 12:21 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have recently cut cable and now a Xfinity internet-only subscriber.

Check out WatchESPN.com right now, since you have access (or download the APP).

When you cut your cable cord, anything that says "ESPNU, ESPN2, or ESPN" will not be available, but everything else will be. This includes college football games only on espn3, potentially out of market ABC games, awesome international feeds of sporting events that are on ESPN (like tennis, golf, soccer).

I have gotten around that by using a friend's login information for xfinity that still has tv, so I still am able to watch everything on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU.
posted by sandmanwv at 12:23 PM on September 18, 2014

If it's popular enough to be on ESPN or ESPN2 you won't be able to get it through the WatchESPN app without a cable subscription. If the things you want to watch are more niche, though, ESPN3 is great! I was able to watch the entirety of the World Cup that way, including the final, which surprised me.
posted by MsMolly at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Um, I just wanted to point out that MLB.com only works if you aren't in the "blackout" area. So as long as your favorite teams are not your local area teams, it will work for you. Thankfully, the Twins stopped playing very well not long after I cut my cable TV service, so it didn't matter so much. ;-p
posted by jillithd at 1:05 PM on September 18, 2014

Response by poster: I'm a Red Sox fan living in DC - so the blackouts only affect me if they are playing in Baltimore or Washington. And yeah, I tuned out back in July on this season!
posted by COD at 1:07 PM on September 18, 2014

NBA League Pass has similar local blackouts as MLB. They will also not have national broadcast games: TNT/ABC/ESPN, except they will have games that are only on NBA TV. It's usefulness will be minimal if you're interested in watching a lot of games in your market, and will be diminished the better your team is since good teams will be on the networks more often.
posted by Kwine at 1:34 PM on September 18, 2014

If I have Xfinity Internet but not cable TV, I'll still get access to ESPN 3.

You state that as a fact, but at least in my area this hasn't been true for quite some time. I have Xfinity Internet and I am explicitly blocked from ESPN3 because I'm not paying for the tier of TV service that includes ESPN.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:56 PM on September 18, 2014

Response by poster: //You state that as a fact//

It's what the ESPN web site states. They make a very clear delineation between what you get as a cable subscriber and an Internet only subscriber of their various parters. And as of 2 hours ago, Xfinity is still on the partner list.
posted by COD at 2:10 PM on September 18, 2014

We are cord-cutters and found that it was more cost-effective to subscribe to the NHL streaming service to get our hockey fix rather than maintaining cable, so that might be an option to throw in your pros-and-cons list.
posted by oblique red at 2:59 PM on September 18, 2014

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