Millions of fans across the country have already been watching the World Cup. With action in an intriguing round of 16 beginning Saturday, you can still stream the games — and you don't need an assist from traditional pay TV to watch along.
The growth in streaming services gives cord cutters multiple strategies for watching the every-four-year soccer contest wherever they are. Their mobile apps are aimed at what's expected to be a record number of watchers viewing the games on the go..
"We expect app usage to skyrocket around the games globally and in the U.S.," said Danielle Levitas, App Annie's senior vice president of research.
Low-tech: Watch with an antenna
If you want to watch on the big screen, you could get over-the air signals.
Fox, which paid more than $400 million for the 2018 and 2022 English-language rights, will broadcast a total of 38 matches on its Fox broadcast network, and another 26 on Fox Sports 1.
That means if you have an antenna to receive over-the-air TV signals, you could see more than half of the remaining matches including the semifinals and finals from your local Fox station.
Also available to some via antenna: matches on Telemundo. The NBC Universal-owned network wrested the Spanish-language rights from Univision for a reported $600 million. Telemundo plans to have even more on-site announcers in host country Russia than Fox and will air 56 matches with sister channel Universo getting eight.
Most major streaming services offer Fox and Fox Sports, while some have Telemundo and Universo, too. Meanwhile, some Net TV subscriptions let you stream games on the Fox Sports app on mobile and home devices, just as those with pay-TV subscriptions can. That could come in handy as the Fox Sports app will also have additional feeds for each match including a tactical overhead view.
Interest has been high in the event so far, with Wednesday's match between Sweden and Mexico drawing 1.02 million concurrent live streams on Telemundo, the highest non-Super Bowl traffic ever in NBC Sports' digital history.
Fox Sports' streaming app had 990,000 unique viewers for Tuesday's Argentina-Nigeria match — about 398,000 on average per minute — the third-most-streamed sports event ever for Fox, behind NFL broadcasts.
YouTube will have video highlights from broadcasters across the world, including from Fox and Telemundo in the U.S., and the BBC in the U.K. Twitter has teamed with Fox Sports for a daily live show and plans to tweet out every goal scored during the World Cup. And Snapchat will also deliver daily World Cup highlights and analysis coverage.
But if you want to see full games, here's some strategies to streaming World Cup competition over the next month:
•FuboTV. This streaming service, which originally focused only on soccer, has expanded with sports, entertainment and news channels (more than 75), including local stations from CBS, Fox and NBC, with Fox coverage in 91% of U.S. households including 50 of the top 50 and 136 markets total. FuboTV also has FS1, Telemundo and NBC Universo, which will broadcast games, too.
Interest in the World Cup likely led to the seven-fold (713%) increase in downloads of the fuboTV app, from 38,000 weekly to 309,000. The service says viewership of the matches has exceeded its all-time high of 60,000 concurrent streams during the Super Bowl in February.
New subscribers can get their first month of fuboTV free ($44.99 after that; there's also a seven-day free trial) with the purchase of a Roku streaming device. You can get the Fox Sports bonus feeds from inside fuboTV, too. You can use its cloud DVR to record games. That could come in handy because Moscow is seven hours ahead of the Eastern time zone, while some other host cities are eight or nine hours ahead.
•DirecTV Now. AT&T's service (one week free trial) has local Fox channels for more than 75% of the U.S., as well as Telemundo signals in 17 markets. You can check for local channel availability on directvnow.com. Also in that $35 monthly, you get FS1; opt for the $60 "Go Big" package and you can also get Universo among its 100-plus channels. With DirecTV Now, you can log into the Fox Sports app to watch and a cloud DVR lets you record 20 hours. That feature, already available on Apple, Amazon, Android and Google devices and browsers, just arrived for Roku devices, too.
•Hulu. Hulu's Live TV service ($39.99 monthly, free seven-day trial), which has live Fox channels for more than 96% of the U.S., also includes FS1 and Telemundo. Hulu has a DVR, too, and if the 50 hours included isn't enough, you can bump it up to 200 hours for $14.99 monthly. And you can use your Hulu credentials to watch the Fox Sports app, too.
•PlayStation Vue. Sony's streaming service (playstation.com/vue), viewable on lots of devices beyond PlayStation consoles, has Fox and FS1 in its $39.99 monthly Access package (5-day trial). PS Vue has a local Fox broadcast in 24 markets, while 34 get a national Fox feed with the live soccer games. You can add Universo for $4.99 monthly in the Español Pack. Other nice features? Vue comes with a cloud DVR for recording and, in addition to watching Vue on mobile, you can sign into the Fox Sports app, too. There's also a multiview feature, so you can watch three channels at the same time, so you can track more than one match or sport.
•Sling TV. Launched by Dish Network three years ago, Sling TV has Fox in 17 major markets — go to Sling.com to check availability — and Fox Sports 1 in its $25 monthly Sling Blue plan. You can also add Universo, which is part of Sling's Best of Spanish TV extra package for $5 monthly. Fox Sports' bonus feeds will be available inside the Sling TV app. Sling Blue subscribers can log into the Fox Sports app to watch, too. Sling also lets you add a cloud DVR for $5 monthly, available to subscribers on most devices.
•YouTube TV. Launched just more than a year ago, YouTube's subscription TV service ($40 monthly) has Fox local broadcasts in 84 of the 99 markets its available in and a national Fox feed in 14. YouTube TV also has FS1, Telemundo and Universo among its 60-plus channels. And you can use the cloud DVR feature to record matches you can’t catch live. You can have six separate accounts and three simultaneous streams, and log into the Fox Sports app.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.