Can I legally stream my local NHL games without involving AT&T?
October 24, 2021 6:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out if it's even possible to view St Louis Blues hockey games in the St Louis area without having to subscribe to DirectTV or cable. Can it be done?

My parents want to cut the cord, but their sticking point is that they want to be able to watch every Blues game that they can watch on cable. I thought ESPN+, but it only shows certain games. The NHL links to which redirects to ESPN+... I found a random website that says Bally Sports Midwest carries it, but it looks like that's only available from DirectTV, which would mean paying $85 a month just for hockey. Am I missing something or is this it?

They are not at all tech-savvy, so although I am and am happy to help them set something up, it would have to be very easy for them to operate when I'm not around. I was just going to buy them a Roku and set them up with a few streaming channels, but then NHL defeated me... Any suggestions welcome, thanks!
posted by possibilityleft to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
Haven't had a subscription in years, but I used to do this with what is now NHL Live and a VPN to pretend I was out of market for my local games. You'll need a Chromecast or Roku or other device that supports it however.
posted by cgg at 6:19 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Is Bally Sports Midwest the channel they use to watch it on cable? If it's the channel it's on, I assume yes, but I was a little bit confused that you said you found it on a random website rather than being told by them... I do believe that DirecTV is the only streaming option for the Bally Sports channels, but on the off chance they currently watch it on some other channel, it's possible that Hulu, YouTube TV, or Sling carry that. But the costs on those probably won't be drastically different than DirecTV, if that's the main issue.

When we dropped cable, I made a spreadsheet listing out the channels we care about and then marked which service carried each of them, and chose the one that had the most. The streaming services have overlapping but different sets of channels, and they drift a bit over time, so it does take some work to figure out exactly which one is best at any given time (the bright side is that changing services is a lot easier than changing cable providers).

Personally I wouldn't set up non-tech savvy parents with a solution that requires a VPN, due to periodic troubleshooting issues that tend to come up.
posted by primethyme at 7:37 PM on October 24, 2021

The regional Fox Sports channels were all bought up by Sinclair and rebadged Bally Sports. Fox Sports Midwest used to carry the Blues (iirc). You’ll need a cable subscription with a Cable Company that carries Bally Sports to access that channel via regular cable or via streaming. Direct TV is one. Poke around and see if one of the streaming services does, too, which may be cheaper. (, Sling might. YouTube TV does not.)
posted by notyou at 7:39 PM on October 24, 2021

Yes, everyone I know who's doing this is messing around with VPNs or finding streams online for individual games from some subreddit and then casting those from their laptops to the TV. If your parents need a straightforward "I turn on the TV and the hockey game is there" option, to the best of my knowledge that still requires cable or satellite.

I haven't looked into this since last season, though, maybe someone else will have a shiny be option.
posted by Stacey at 7:39 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bally Sports Midwest carries the Cardinals and the Blues. Right now DirecTV is the only legal streaming option for the Bally Sports networks, unfortunately, but there's been rumors for a while that they'll eventually offer their own streaming service.

So it might make sense to just park them on DirecTV (or their existing cable plan) during hockey season in the hopes that sometime in 2022 Bally Sports will announce a more efficient and direct way to take their money.
posted by Polycarp at 9:07 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, watching local sports is about the most impossible thing to do as a cord cutter, so if that is not something they want to compromise on, cord cutting is probably not for them.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks all for your advice! Seems like I'm not going to have much luck until Bally Sports decides to offer their own streaming option... Maybe next year.
posted by possibilityleft at 6:37 AM on October 26, 2021

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