Skip to Content

ESPN Keeps Asking For Provider: How To Watch Live Viewing

ESPN Keeps Asking For Provider: How To Watch Live Viewing

Is ESPN asking for your provider? This is a common problem, and usually easily fixed.

If ESPN keeps asking you for your provider, this will be because you will need either an active streaming service account, or cable TV to be able to view the app’s live channels.

There are a few different subscriptions you will be able to use to gain access to ESPN’s selection. This includes Hulu Live TV, YouTube and Sling to name just a few.

ESPN Plus alone will not allow you to bypass the provider request, as it is an add-on subscription to the standard ESPN service.

In this post, I’ll explain why ESPN keeps asking you for a provider, and how you can gain access to the live channels without cable.

Why is my ESPN asking for a TV provider?

confused woman looking at screen

In order to watch ESPN’s live channels, you will need to have a paid TV subscription. This can either be cable, satellite or a live streaming service. When you try and log into your ESPN account, the app will ask you to input your provider’s details. Although ESPN will ask you for these details, it does not have to be cable TV information.

Can you use the ESPN app without a TV provider?

The six streaming services that you’ll be able to use to gain access to the live ESPN library include;

  • Hulu Live TV
  • Sling TV
  • FuboTV
  • Vidgo
  • YouTube TV

Once you’ve registered with one of these services, you’ll be able to input your profile details when you come to log into the ESPN app.

Live ESPN channels are similar to that of cable TV programs, which is why ESPN keeps asking for your provider information before you can stream its available content. Until you have valid provider details, ESPN won’t play.

Why is ESPN not letting me watch live?

man watching tv in panic

If you access ESPN and/or ESPN Plus through the use of a streaming service and not cable provider, the app will not let you watch live broadcasts if your device cannot connect to a stable internet connection. ESPN will need at least 7Mbps bandwidth to be able to play a video in HD, otherwise, 25Mbps is required for a 4K image.

To check whether or not your network service provider supplies you with enough speed, you can do a test on your Wifi router.

Sometimes, the ESPN server can go down. When this happens, all functionality of the app will be unavailable, whether you make use of a TV provider, or a streaming service.

ESPN will go offline when there is maintenance work that is being done on the app, or if there has been an unexpected error in its database.

You won’t be able to fix this error, however, you will be able to check ESPN’s status.

This can be done by making use of this link.

Why can’t I watch ESPN with ESPN+?

friends watching tv

ESPN+ is different from the standard ESPN app. Plus is a subscription-based streaming service, similar to Hulu or Amazon. ESPN+ does not include the cable channels that come with ESPN as it is only an ‘add on’ to the standard app. This will require either a TV provider, or a streaming account. An ESPN Plus membership will grant you access to original shows.

You will be able to access your account on a mobile, smart TV or tablet, as long as your device can connect to a good network.

If you only have an ESPN Plus subscription, you will need to register for ESPN in order to watch live games as well as be able to receive the latest sporting news.

How can I watch ESPN on my Roku without a TV provider?

group of friends watching sport

An active ESPN Plus membership will allow you to stream games without a TV provider, however, this will not include ESPN’s live channels. If you want to have access to the ESPN cable channels on your Roku, you will need to download the free ESPN app and input an active streaming service account.

From your Roku homepage screen, search for the ESPN app and download it. If you don’t already have an active account, you can sign up from the app on your Roku.

An alternative method is to get onto the ESPN website if you want your account to be separate from your Roku device.

Once you install the ESPN app on your device, and input an active provider, you will be able to have full access to its available channels.

You will now be able to add ESPN Plus if you’d like to.

How do I activate ESPN on Roku?

To activate your ESPN account on your Roku, you can follow these simple steps;

Step 1. Launch the ESPN app and click on ‘Settings’

Step 2. Choose ‘Subscriptions’ and select ‘ESPN+’

Step 3. Press ‘Login’

ESPN will send you a code that you will need to input to activate your account. Make note of what it is, and complete the process here.

Step 4. Log into your ESPN account, or create your account

Once this is complete, you will be able to link your ESPN profile to your Roku.


With this simple guide, we hope you now know why ESPN keeps asking for your provider, and that you had an active streaming service you can utilize if you do not have cable TV.

If, however, you have input your details and the app still keeps requesting you to add your provider information, there could be a problem with your account.

You can make use of ESPN’s Help Center where you will be able to search for a solution, or contact them directly. You will be able to either call, or, make use of the ESPN chat service.


  • Tauqeer Ahmed

    Tauqeer Ahmed is a technology expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He has a degree in Computer Science and specializes in network security and software troubleshooting. You can find out more about him at