The coronavirus pandemic has caused tons of disruption to many industries across the globe, and major professional sports are no different. Public health is the number one priority right now, so the NBA, NHL, and MLB are all suspended for the time being while the US is undergoing a period of self-isolation and social distancing and the NFL is lucky to be in its off-season. This couldn’t come at a worse time for sports fans who are stuck at home with little to do, but thankfully the big four sports have made a bunch of classic content free to watch.
NBA League Pass
The basketball season was directly impacted when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11. The NBA acted fast, suspending the season until further notice, but even so, several more players have since been infected with the virus. Along with its partner Turner Sports, the league announced that it would offer a free preview of its League Pass until April 22.
You’ll be able to watch full replays and highlights of every game from the past two seasons, as well as 24/7 access to NBA TV Live for news, analysis, and trade information. There’s also a wealth of archive footage from classic NBA games at your disposal, so you can relive some of the great moments in basketball history. Check out Sekou Smith’s tips if you’re not sure what to watch first.
Sign up via the NBA website or through the app, available on Android (below) and pretty much every other major platform. You don’t have to use a credit card so you won’t need to cancel once the free period is up on April 22.
NFL Game Pass
The National Football League is the most-watched American sport — 100 million people in the US tuned into the Super Bowl last month as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers. The new season doesn’t start until September, so COVID-19 has yet to get in the way of any games, but the league still wants to help bored football fans out in their time of need. The NFL Game Pass is now free of charge until May 31 for users in the US, while users in Canada and other global regions get it free until July 31.
As you can see from the above image, the free pass includes access to full replays and highlights of games from the 2019 season, as well as live classic NFL Originals content such as Hard Knocks and A Football Life. International users will also get access to live NFL Network coverage so they can stay up-to-date with free agency news during the off-season.
To sign up, head to NFL.com/GamePass or download one of the below Android apps (location dependent). No credit card is required to sign up for the free tier, so you don’t have to worry about canceling anything later on.
MLB.TV Free Preview
Like the NBA, the Major League Baseball season is on hiatus until it’s safe to restart, so the league has done a similar thing in offering a free preview of MLB.TV for a limited time. Full or condensed games, as well as shorter highlights, are available for every single game from the 2018 and 2019 season archives.
Head over to the MLB.TV site to register an account and you can start watching content right away. You can also sign up and fire up games in one of the apps, including on Android. Once again, no payment details are necessary. Furthermore, the MLB Vault channel on YouTube has a host of classic games you can watch free of charge.
Ice hockey, the chilliest of the major sports leagues in the US, is also on hold right now, and the NHL announced a raft of measures it would implement to stay connected with fans during enforced break. That means more editorial and digital content on NHL.com and across social media, including access to full game replays from the 2019-20 season.
A special Pause Binge page has been set up with tons of archive game footage, cup films, documentaries and all sorts of other content, so there’s no reason for hockey nuts to get bored during isolation. From now until April 30, 2019-20 regular season games are free to watch via NHL.TV (or NHLLive.com in Canada) or in the app (below). Create your account and away you go — you won’t be asked for card details, don’t worry. Additionally, the NHL YouTube channel is getting in on the Pause Binge action, with curated content from the NHL back catalog being uploaded for your viewing pleasure on a daily basis.
If that’s not enough action to keep you going, take a look at Ringer’s excellent article featuring some of the most iconic sporting moments, all free to watch on YouTube. Soccer (or actual football, as I call it) fans may remember Zinedine Zidane’s imperious performance for France against Brazil at the 2006 World Cup (right before he threw it all away with that headbutt against Italy in the final), and who can forget when the Americans blew the French out of the water with that 4x100m freestyle relay comeback at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.