Monday, August 26, 2013

How to watch the Premier League in Canada

Last year I decided that my having an expensive cable subscription was a waste of time as I never really used it, preferring to stream shows over the internet via services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer. I am an avid football (soccer) fan and try to watch as much Premier League as I can find time for. So without relenting and purchasing a cable subscription just to watch the premier league I decided to search for an online solution, of which I found there to be many. I tested various options for watching live/relive and highlights of the games for the first two weekends of this year's PL and decided to share my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of each option.

Firstly I tried Sportsnet World Online. I had this service last year and found it brilliant, especially when they released the iPhone/iPad/Android app that let me watch games from anywhere via my smartphone/tablet. You are able to watch games anytime after kickoff, so no need to wake for that 5am kickoff anymore, just so long as you avoid facebook or twitter until you've sat down to watch the game. Unlike some services you don't need to wait for the game to finish before you can start the relive broadcast, so sleeping in 15 minutes is no longer a problem.

Since last season Sportsnet have lost the rights to some matches to TSN which is disappointing and makes the cost of the service at $252.89 per year or $22.99 per month for all soccer, or $274.89 incl Rugby and cricket, a little harder to bear. To add to the disappointment they still do not offer highlights of games, only the full broadcast. Thankfully there is a solution to both of these problems. Firstly TSN will be streaming some matches they have the rights to online for free. It doesn't offer a relive service so you will need to wake up early for them. They also don't stream all their games (a list of ones they are streaming is available here). As for the highlights package, this season BBC are streaming Match of the Day on iPlayer from the following Monday onwards for a week. It's not immediate and there is no way you will be able to avoid the results until then but it's a welcome option for this season. You will need a VPN or Smart DNS package to view this though, (unblock-us, Overplay, UnoDNS etc).

The second option I looked at was Al Jazeera Sports online. This option requires a VPN or Smart DNS that has offers service for the Middle East., of which I found 2 good options: Overplay and UnoDNS. Once you have sorted that access will cost $135 for the season, or $19 per month. Al Jazeera have access to all 380 league matches as well as a host or other leagues, including La Liga and Serie A. The one downfall to this service is that is does not offer a relive/on demand service for the Premier League matches, meaning you will have to set your alarm for those early kickoffs. It does offer a catch up service which shows game highlights but they are not available the same day. For those wondering, the commentary is in English with analysis provided by the old Sky Sports chauvinists team of Andy Gray and Richard Keys.

The last option I looked at was Fox Sports in Australia. This option only offers 4 games a week (less than 50%) but offers highlights and is a mere $85 a season or $5 per week. They have so far shown the games that Sportsnet World have not so it could be an option to supplement your Sportsnet World subscription but they only announce which games they will show the week prior so the weekly subscription would seem the obvious choice for that.

I have tabulated the results below. Personally I have opted to stick with Sportsnet World for this season, with TSN and possibly Fox Sports Australia making up for the games that SNW don't have.


Service
Sportsnet World Online
TSN
BBC iPlayer
Al Jazeera
Fox Sports Australia
VPN/Smart DNS Required
no
no
yes
yes
yes
Games
Approx 80%
Approx 20%
MOTD -highlights only
380 (All PL)
4 games weekly
On Demand/Relive
yes
no
Yes, after the following Monday
Highlights only
Yes
Cost per season (CAN $)
252.89
Free
Free
135
85
Cost per month (CAN $)
22.99
Free
Free
19
5




1 comment:

Barry D'Arcy said...

Excellent help! thanks mate