UPDATE (8/28): ESPN+ is now offering a 30-day free trial (normally 7-day), which means you can watch all 3 months of C-USA football (36 games) on ESPN+ for just $9.98 total. Visit https://plus.espn.com/ to sign up. Offer ends September 2.
Gone are the days of buffering videoboard feeds on CUSA.tv, or trying to figure out how to tune your TV to channel 37.4. Conference USA plans to air every single game this season on either traditional linear television or via streaming and social media. Welcome to the future.
First things first, you’re going to need a streaming device to watch the majority of C-USA football games in 2018.
The easiest and most versatile device would be a computer with an HDMI port. Whether you want to buy a high-end media center PC, or you have an old laptop laying around, you can stream just about anything on your big screen just by hooking up an HDMI cable.
If you want a dedicated streaming device, my suggestion would be the Google Chromecast, which can be had for $35. You simply pull up any stream on your phone, tablet or PC and cast the video straight to your TV. If you have a YouTube TV subscription and a Google Home, all you have to do is say “Play the UTSA game on living room TV” and let the technology do its magic.
There are a ton of other options out there, like the Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick, which are great for people who prefer to have a physical remote control and a set of “channels” or “apps” to choose from, but not every streaming service works with every device, so do your research before locking yourself in to any one ecosystem.
Channels & services airing C-USA games
The first thing you’ll want to do to watch C-USA football is to get yourself an ESPN+ subscription. 36 games are scheduled for ESPN’s new standalone streaming service, which is available at the reasonable price of $4.99/mo or $49.99/yr (remember when CUSA.tv cost you twice that much for a fraction of the content?).
If you’re a fan of soccer or rugby, then you might as well save some money with an annual plan (trust me, you’ll use it), but if you’re in it just for the college football then you can get the whole season for $15-$20. They also offer a 7-day free trial if you’re a new subscriber.
Note that ESPN+ is NOT included with your cable/satellite subscription, and ESPN+ does NOT include other ESPN content (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPN3, etc). It is a completely standalone subscription.
- UTSA @ Southern Miss – Oct. 20
- All UTSA home games except for Baylor – Sept. 22, 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 10, 24
ESPN3 (and ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN)
The next service you’ll want access to is ESPN3 (again, it is NOT included with ESPN+), which is set to air at least 13 C-USA games this year. If you already have a cable/satellite subscription, then you can just log in to the ESPN app or the WatchESPN website with your credentials from your TV provider. You can also stream other ESPN network games on WatchESPN, or just watch them using your set-top box.
If you’ve already cut the cord, then you still have quite a few options to stream ESPN content. Subscription services including Sling, DirecTV Now, Youtube TV, Hulu, and PS Vue all include the traditional ESPN channels and give you access to WatchESPN.
Sling Orange would be your cheapest option at $25/mo, but all the other services at around $40/mo may cover enough additional networks to be worth the higher price. All of the above services offer free trials as well, which can be incredibly useful if you just want to stream one game and then cancel.
- UTSA @ Rice – Oct. 6 (ESPN3)
C-USA enters its third year with beIN Sports, which will broadcast 10 games this season. beIN is available through most cable/satellite providers, but you’ll probably have to pony up for the additional (and costly) sports package.
If you already have a $25/mo Sling Orange or Sling Blue subscription, you can add beIN through the “Sports” package or “Best of Spanish TV” package for an additional $5/mo. You can also get beIN included in a fuboTV subscription for $40-$45/mo, which will give you almost every sports-centric network, except for the ESPN family.
But your best bet is to sign up for either fubo Latino for $18/mo, or Sling Latino for $10/mo. Don’t worry, they both include both the Spanish and English versions of the channel. Or this could be another opportunity to sign up for a free trial for a weekend and then cancel.
CBS Sports Network
Long-time C-USA partner CBS Sports Network is set to broadcast 10 games this year, including the conference championship. As with beIN, you can find CBSSN on most cable/satellite services, and you can also use your login to stream via their website if you’re away from home.
Streamers have a few options to get CBSSN, including YouTube TV ($40/mo), Hulu ($40/mo), fuboTV ($45/mo), PS Vue (“Core” package, $50/mo), and DirecTV Now (“Go Big” package, $65/mo). If you don’t already have one of these subscriptions, you’re going to want to just get a free trial for a single game, or try to find one with other channels you’d also want to watch for a month.
- C-USA Championship Game – Dec. 1
No matter what device you’re using, you should be able to watch C-USA’s 8-game slate on Stadium for free. You can watch locally over-the-air, through WatchStadium.com, on Twitch, Twitter, PlutoTV, fuboTV, and the Stadium app on a bunch of platforms. Just click here to see all your different options.
Note that you do NOT need to pay for Stadium’s premium subscription unless of course, you’re a fan of the Patriot League, West Coast Conference, or Mountain West. But C-USA is 100% free, baby!
If this all wasn’t confusing enough, C-USA will have 10 games aired exclusively on Facebook, thanks to both CBSSN and Stadium reaching deals to produce the games exclusively for the social media platform.
It should be easy enough to watch the Facebook games on your personal devices (PC, phone, or tablet) or to cast them to a Chromecast. Other devices can be a bit trickier, but you can find the Facebook Watch app on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, XBOX One, and Nvidia Shield, along with Samsung and Sony smart TVs.
- UTSA vs. Baylor – Sept. 8 (CBSSN on Facebook)
- UTSA @ Marshall – Nov. 17 (Stadium on Facebook)
There are four other C-USA games not on the networks mentioned above, all out-of-conference road games, including two for the Roadrunners.
UTSA’s season opener at Arizona State will air on FS1, which you can find on any cable/satellite package, or any of the streaming services mentioned above (Sling Blue, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu Live, PS Vue, fuboTV).
Two weeks later, the Roadrunners face off against Kansas State on a FOX network to-be-determined. If it ends up on FS1 or FS2 (unlikely), then refer to the services above. More likely is that it will end up on Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW), which is available through all the services above, but in some cases requires a more expensive package.
FAU opens their season at Oklahoma on FOX. That’s big FOX, Homer Simpson FOX, the one you can get for free with an antenna. If you’ve made it this far, I have faith that you can figure out a way to watch this one.
WKU’s week 3 matchup at Louisville will be on the ACC Network’s regional affiliates, and I believe it will also be included on ESPN3. If not, you’ll have to check the ACC’s website to see which affiliates in your area will be showing it.
- UTSA @ Arizona State – Sept. 1 (FS1)
- UTSA @ Kansas State – Sept. 15 (Fox Sports network TBD)
The Bottom Line
If you’re a UTSA fan without any existing subscriptions, your best lineup would look like this:
- ESPN+ for 1 month for Southern Miss, or 3 months to include home games ($5-15)
- Sling Blue for 1 month for ASU & KSU ($25)
- Free trial of any streaming service, or 1 month of Sling Orange, for Rice ($0-25)
- Free trial of Sling or fuboTV, or pay for Sling Latino, for UAB ($0-10)
- Baylor and Marshall free on Facebook ($0)
- GRAND TOTAL: $30-75
That’s not too bad of a deal for all 12 UTSA games this year, and if you already have a cable/satellite service or any of the streaming services, then that price could come down below $20 pretty easily.
If you’re looking for the entire C-USA slate, then you’re probably going to want to piece together something like this:
- ESPN+ for 3 months ($15)
- Sling Latino for 3 months ($30)
- YouTube TV for 3 months ($120)
- GRAND TOTAL: $175
The YouTube TV piece is effectively replacing a traditional cable/satellite subscription for ESPN, CBSSN and FOX networks, so if you haven’t yet cut the cord or you have another existing streaming service then you could bring the total cost down to $45.
It sure is a complicated lineup for C-USA this year, but it’s great to have an array of options to access all of these networks and services so we aren’t all forced into a $100+ cable bill and debating whether or not it’s worth throwing $10 at CUSA.tv in the hopes that the game you want to watch will be halfway decent quality (spoiler alert: it won’t).
If you notice any mistakes in the above analysis or have any additional tips and tricks, please share them in the comments. Just try to refrain from posting links to any illegal streams or sites like /r/CFBStreams.