Cavs vs. Warriors: How to Watch the 2017 NBA Finals on Your Smartphone for Free — Without a Cable Subscription

How to Watch the 2017 NBA Finals on Your Smartphone for Free — Without a Cable Subscription

Who said sports need parity to be fun? For the third year in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers are facing off against the Golden State Warriors on the NBA's biggest stage, and basketball fans everywhere couldn't be more excited.

It's the most star-studded Finals in NBA history, featuring three MVPs and a whopping seven all-stars: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Kevin Love, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, and Klay Thompson. LeBron's chasing the GOAT title, KD's chasing a ring, the Cavs are looking to repeat, and the Warriors are hoping to get the sour taste of a blown 3-1 lead out of their mouths. SO MANY storylines.

The games will be televised nationally on ABC, so you only need a pair of rabbit ears to watch from your couch. But what about watching the Finals on mobile? Now that's a different story. With a tiny bit of effort, though, you can watch the whole series for free on Android or iOS — even if you don't have a cable subscription.

2017 NBA Finals Schedule

  • Game 1: Thursday, June 1, 6 p.m. PDT, ABC and WatchESPN
  • Game 2: Sunday, June 4, 5 p.m. PDT, ABC and WatchESPN
  • Game 3: Wednesday, June 7, 6 p.m. PDT, ABC and WatchESPN
  • Game 4: Friday, June 9, 6 p.m. PDT, ABC and WatchESPN
  • Game 5: Monday, June 12, 6 p.m. PDT, ABC and WatchESPN
  • Game 6: Thursday, June 15, 6 p.m. PDT, ABC and WatchESPN (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Sunday, June 18, 5 p.m. PDT, ABC and WatchESPN (if necessary)

Method 1: YouTube TV

Google just launched a new streaming cable service called YouTube TV, and it's got direct access to all of ABC's live Finals coverage. The best part of the deal is you can get a free trial that lasts an entire month, and you can even cancel right after signing up while still enjoying free access for the rest of the month.

The only downside is that YouTube TV is only available in select markets at the moment: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

But if you have an Android device, there's an easy way around this issue. Just fake your location using a GPS spoofing app, and you'll have full access to the local ABC feed from any of the official launch cities. To see how this is done, don't miss our full tutorial on the subject at the following link:

Method 2: WatchESPN (Via PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, or DirecTV Now)

YouTube TV is the easiest way to get access to ABC's broadcast of the Finals, but luckily, it's not the only way to watch the games. Because Disney owns both ABC and ESPN, the games will also be available on WatchESPN if you have a compatible subscription.

So here's what you do: Start up a free 7-day trial with PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, or DirecTV Now, and make sure to pick a tier that offers ESPN. For Sling TV, go with the "Orange" or "Orange + Blue" tier, as "Blue" doesn't come with ESPN. For PlayStation Vue or DirecTV Now, any tier will do.

Once you've sorted all of that out, grab the WatchESPN app for iOS or Android.

Next, head to the settings menu in WatchESPN, then tap "Choose Provider." After that, select your streaming service, then log in, and you'll be all set to watch the games.

Keep in mind that when your free trial ends, you'll lose access to WatchESPN if you cancel the service. But the Finals will only last 18 days, and you can take advantage of the free trial offers for all three of these services to get a combined 21 days' worth of access to WatchESPN. Just make sure to cancel the trials on time!

Method 3: Sling TV (Broadcast Extra)

If you'd rather watch the Finals through your local ABC affiliate, Sling TV is the only alternative to YouTube TV at the moment. The service comes with a live ABC feed in many areas, though you should check here first to see if the channel's available in your city.

If Sling TV offers an ABC feed in your area, you'll just need to consider the timing. If the series goes the full 7 games, the Finals would run from June 1 through June 18 — much longer than the 7-day trial affords you. Most experts have the series going 6 or 7 games, so keep that timing in mind when you start your free trial.

To get ABC, just open the app, create an account, then pick a plan that includes Sling TV's "Broadcast Extra" option — but don't worry about price, because the free 7-day trial applies to all service tiers. As such, we'd recommend going with the "Orange + Blue" plan, as it comes bundled with Broadcast Extra. Otherwise, you can pick the "Blue" plan, but you'll likely have to call Sling TV and get them to add the Broadcast Extra option.

From there, it's just a matter of adding your payment info, then you'll be all set to watch the games on your local ABC affiliate's live broadcast. But make sure to set a reminder for a week down the road, otherwise you'll automatically be billed for a month's service when the trial is over.

Method 4: NBA App

Our last official option isn't quite as palatable, but it'll work in a pinch. If you're an NBA League Pass subscriber, you can watch the Finals three hours after the games have aired using the official NBA app. Alternatively, you can live stream an audio feed, and no account is required.

Other Options

This guide is intended for people that don't have a cable subscription, but chances are, you know someone that has one. So if you have friends or family members who wouldn't mind sharing their cable login info, you've got two more options.

First, you can use WatchESPN by signing into any account that has access to ESPN through a cable subscription. To do that, use Method 3 above, but sign in with your friend or family member's account.

Second, you can get the official ABC app for Android or iOS, sign in with your friend or family member's cable account, then you'll be able to watch the games live.

Finally, there are unofficial streaming options, though we always recommend going through legitimate providers where possible, so we won't link to these. Nonetheless, if you're really hard up, there's a section on Reddit dedicated to NBA streams.

So which option did you go with? Do you have any other tips for watching the 2017 NBA Finals on your smartphone? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new emoji, enhanced security, podcast transcripts, Apple Cash virtual numbers, and other useful features. There are even new additions hidden within Safari. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.4 update.

Cover image via Michael Tipton/Flickr, screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

Be the First to Comment

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest