The 20 Best Sports YouTube Channels
Just about everything a sports fan wants these days is available for free online. From giant networks to superstar athletes to niche scouting services to everyday fans with hilarious opinions, sports-minded content creators abound—and YouTube is their Mecca. Here are the 20 best sports YouTube channels.
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You don’t have to be a media savant to have noticed that the way people consume sports is changing. Many sports fans have “cut their cords” and eliminated cable from their list of monthly expenses. In fact, it was estimated that more than 22 million people dumped cable in 2017, up 33 percent from 2016, and there’s no reason to believe the downward trend will curtail soon.
Consumers today can get just about everything they want for free online—many millennials don’t even own a TV. Even if you do, services like Sling offer à la carte packages for as little as $20 a month, so sports fans can snag all their favorite networks (like ESPN, TNT, and TBS) in an inexpensive bundle.
Those who don’t want to shell out even a Jackson a month can easily find shady streams of live events through sites like Reddit. But tapping into those streams is unreliable (your feed may go out at the most inopportune moment) and, of course, illegal.
If you’re willing to pay a little bit of cash, it is possible to abide by the law and view a high-quality broadcast on your computer or smartphone. The major sports leagues all offer streaming subscriptions; for example, NBA League Pass gives hoops fans the opportunity to stream all live games (and replay them after the fact) for $99 a year.
But rabid sports fans, of course, want more than just the games. They want highlights, analysis, interviews, talk shows, and more. That peripheral content has helped ESPN flourish for four decades.
Back in the day, you had to tune in to SportsCenter or watch talk shows throughout the day to stay up to date, but these days you can just navigate to YouTube. While ESPN will soon launch ESPN Plus, an over-the-top version of the network that will cost $4.99 a month, the company has found both a competitor and ally in YouTube’s free, publicly-sourced video platform.
YouTube is a digitally minded sports fan’s best friend. From giant networks like ESPN to superstar athletes to niche scouting services to everyday fans with hilarious takes, there are sports-minded content creators abound—and YouTube is their Mecca.
We’ve sifted through the litter and compiled our favorite YouTube accounts for sports fans. While we didn’t include ourselves, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t plug our own channel, which includes daily episodes of Out of Bounds featuring Gilbert Arenas.
Without further ado, here are the 20 best sports YouTube channels..
Honorable mention: JxmyHighroller, NFL Films, Frankie Vision, Nike Training, Ximo Pierto, TotalProSports, Overtimeathletes, TYT Sports, KTO, AthletesTraining, Red Bull, DMHIGHLIGHTS, FreeDawkins, and Delta Highlights.
Coach Daniel is exactly what his title implies: a coach. On his channel, he breaks down the X’s and O’s of the game of basketball. This isn’t the place to go for a basic highlight package or a compilation of dunks. Coach Daniel gets into the weeds on strategies like defending the pick and pop and how teams utilize their best shooters—but he conveys the information in an easily digestible manner.
Highlight Heaven is a go-to destination for rabid NFL fans. This channel exhausts every possible football-related list fans could hope for. You’ll find videos like the NFL’s best fights of the 2017 season, the funniest moments of the season, and the funniest player introductions. This isn’t necessarily a channel for hard-hitting, serious content; it’s aimed more toward entertainment.
With the help of superstars like Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, and Ronda Rousey, Dana White has the UFC growing rapidly. MMA is considered the world’s fastest-growing sport. OctagonNews is a helpful resource for new and old fans alike. The channel constantly uploads videos, churning out content that covers all things UFC. It also captures and shares many of the takes Joe Rogan espouses on his popular podcast.
The Highlight Factory is home to well-rounded highlight videos. You’ll see footage of NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL action. This channel also compiles career highlight vids for players like LeBron James, Patrick Kane, and Aaron Rodgers. With catchy, well-synced background music and crafty video editing, The Highlight Factory has aced the art of creating a viral sports video, as many of its uploads have amassed millions of views.
You read that subscriber count correctly. The smooth-voiced Cris Smoove has a massive following. He produces tons of basketball and video game-related content. His love of the two merged when he got the chance to take on Tony Parker in Need for Speed. Smoove also shares news and insight on the UFC.
This is another channel for real basketball nerds. If you aren’t a basketball diehard, you’ll want to skip this one. But if you are, you’ll love BBALLBREAKDOWN. The channel covers everything from the Ball brothers’ performance in Lithuania to incoming draft prospects to how to improve your own jump shot.
This selection is unconventional—seriously, Kevin Hart’s network on a sports list?—but it makes perfect sense if you’ve tuned into Cold as Balls, Hart’s sports talk show that involves one-on-one interviews in a cold tub. Hart is hilarious and his guest list has been star-studded: Blake Griffin, Draymond Green, LaVar Ball, Nerlens Noel, Candace Parker, and more. This channel allows you to see a different side of athletes.
You remember Grayson Boucher, AKA The Professor, right? The 5-foot-10 streetball legend was a fixture in the old AND1 Mixtape Tour videos. He was also featured in seven seasons of Streetball on ESPN. The Professor built a cult following because of his crazy handles. Nowadays he posts videos that show him schooling cats on the playground (while sometimes wearing a Spiderman costume) and his analysis of young players. He can still really hoop.
FNTSY is available on some cable networks across the United States, but you can stream all of its content with an online membership, and much of the best analysis makes it onto YouTube. This up-and-coming channel breaks down everything you need to know when building and managing your fantasy roster, and it covers just about every sport you could imagine. It also produces quite a bit of daily fantasy sports content.
Sometimes life gets in the way and you just don’t have time to watch a full game. If that’s the case, no worries—MLG Highlights has you covered. There are a bunch of good highlight channels, but MLG is our favorite, and it’s the place to go for NBA fans. Here you can catch full-game recaps, post-game interviews, analysis shows, and more.
You didn’t expect to read a list about sports YouTube accounts and avoid Dude Perfect, right? These guys embody the power of the platform. They’ve landed major TV endorsement deals and cameos from sports figures like Drew Brees and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The former high school buddies, now in their 20s, have built a digital empire thanks to their creative, humorous sports posts. My personal favorite is the video below, which has racked up 67 million views.
The Fumble is an all-encompassing sports channel that keeps viewers up to date on the latest news throughout the day. This is the place to go for quick hits. Unlike many of the channels on this list, The Fumble doesn’t limit itself to one sport; it covers everything from the Olympics to viral videos to the major pro leagues. This hodge-podge channel also includes lists, interviews, and analysis.
Hate Skip Bayless for his bad takes all you want—Lord knows he was dead wrong about Johnny Football—but this show is actually pretty fun. Shannon Sharpe has filled in nicely for Stephen A. Smith; Sharpe has come a long way in his broadcasting career. Watching the former star tight end and former Dallas Morning News journalist get all worked up while debating LeBron James’ greatness is sports-talk-show entertainment at its peak; their yin-and-yang chemistry makes for easy viewing—and YouTube is the perfect place for it, because you can only take so much Skip at one time.
Graham Bensinger burst onto the sports media scene at 19 years old, when he landed a one-hour interview with Terrell Owens. Bensinger, now 31, runs an independent show, In Depth With Graham Bensinger, which challenges the conventional sports talk-show model—he travels the globe for sit-down interviews. You can see the show’s best moments on YouTube. His guests have included Mike Tyson, Dana White, Steph Curry, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant, J.J. Watt, Russell Westbrook, and many more. Bensinger has a knack for creating real moments with big-name figures.
There’s no debating it: if you’re a hoops fan, you’ve got to follow Ballislife. This where you’ll learn about the next fleet of NBA stars; it’s where young guys like Zion Williamson, Mac McClung, and Shareef O’Neal are currently transforming into online celebrities. This account isn’t limited to high school basketball, though—it runs the gamut of all things basketball-related. Ballislife frequently shares highlights of celebrities getting buckets.
Derek Jeter’s The Players’ Tribune launched in 2014. It sought to give athletes an unfiltered voice—a way they could get their message out to fans without having to go through the media. Though athletes’ first-person articles remain its biggest eye-grabber, the outlet has built an impressive video presence. The videos include interviews and mini-documentaries with some of the biggest names in sports, who have been drawn to the unfiltered model.
It may seem a little premature to put JuJu this high on the list—he’s only played one season in the NFL—but the 21-year-old is committed to the digital space. He had a good year on the field and a great year on the internet. In addition to his active social media presence, Smith-Schuster has built a following on YouTube. He’s out here producing vlogs on the regular. This is a new generation of sports stars, and we’ll likely see many emerging athletes follow in Smith-Schuster’s footsteps.
KD is the first sports superstar to take advantage of the platform YouTube offers. While he’s emerged as one of the two or three best basketball players on the planet, he’s also shown himself to be a forward-thinking marketer. Athletes are always looking for a way to get their message out—that’s why outlets like The Players’ Tribune and Uninterrupted have emerged—and YouTube offers a perfect space for it. KD has produced 62 videos, including the series “JaVale McGee’s Parking Lot Chronicles.” But none of the videos are better than the revelatory, 35-minute Still KD documentary he and Nike Basketball produced last offseason.
Uninterrupted was founded by LeBron James and his business partner, Maverick Carter, in 2014. The outlet was fueled by the same motivations as The Players’ Tribune. “I came to [Maverick] one day, and I was like listen, I’m tired of my words being chopped and diced and put out,” LeBron recalled in 2017. “I talk for 20 minutes and they only show the headline.” The result is this incredible channel, which features series' like “Rolling With The Champion” and “Kneading Dough.”
We know it’s not exactly a surprising choice, but ESPN’s digital presence is easily the best out there. The Worldwide Leader may not have figured out how to best monetize the new online environment, but it still has more resources than any other sports media entity. This account covers everything and includes clips from The Jump, SportsCenter, First Take, and many of its other great programs. Instead of watching a full show, you can consume the best moments in a couple minutes. ESPN remains the one must-follow sports network for the committed sports fan—even if that means you follow on YouTube rather than TV.