In recent years, some of the larger broadcasters have jumped on the online football bandwagon. Football leagues and federations are now turning to a viable new source of revenue by auctioning off the football broadcasting rights to popular competitions for Internet / Broadband and mobile platforms. To effectively reach larger audiences and provide a quality experience, rights holders are looking for stable partners such as ESPN, SkySports, FOX, ITV and others to establish significant reach and brand presence in developed markets such as the US, UK, Australia and other regions. The following is a list of online football broadcasters who have acquired Internet football rights for specific competitions and matches by geographic regions:
ESPN3 (formerly ESPN360) offers an extensive live soccer schedule for some of the best football competitions. Online football coverage includes La Liga, Serie A, International Friendlies, Carling Cup, Bundesliga, Portuguese Super Liga, Eredivisie and even the 2010 World Cup online. ESPN3 offers a very good quality football stream with a slick and intuitive user interface. The live soccer streaming can be enlarged to full screen mode without much quality loss. You may opt to stream this feed to a flat screen TV for bigger impact.
ESPN3 offers a reliable and uninterrupted experience of quality live streaming football in the comfort of your home. You can also register with ESPN3 and access the streams away from home as well. It’s a very handy benefit when you have to visit the in-laws.
To access ESPN3 you need to subscribe to an eligible residential Internet service provider. To find out if you qualify, just visit ESPN3 and the site will detect your ISP eligibility. Once you pass this test, you can start watching live soccer matches online. The service also allows you to view football matches online and on-demand. If you miss the live soccer streams, you can watch them at a more convenient time through their archived football match listing.
The best part of the ESPN3 service is that it is totally free. ESPN wants your eyeballs and not your money, as a larger subscriber base is worth more to them for advertising potential. The service has been around since before Euro 2008 Tournament and has gone through several upgrades making it a very good alternative to watching live or on-demand TV football.
You’ll be pleased to know that ESPN3 will be covering every World Cup match live and all matches will be archived for your viewing convenience. For a detailed ESPN Soccer Schedule visit the ESPN3 channel page or visit your favorite football competitions to learn which football matches are available online.
ESPN3 is supported on both Mac and Windows computers. You can access ESPN3 on multiple browsers on both platforms. According to their FAQ, they have no limitations on which browser you may use. The soccer streaming video quality is approximately 1200 Kbps.
FoxSoccerTV is an online sports platform available with a paid subscription. The online soccer subscriptions range from $5 for a day-pass to $15 for a monthly subscription. FoxSoccerTV offers select live matches as well as on-demand, on-line soccer matches from the English Premier League, the FA Cup, Serie A, the MLS, the Argentine Primera Division, the Carling Cup, the Coca-Cola Championship, plus the Guinness Premiership, Heineken Cup and Magners League rugby. They’ve also partnered with UEFA to provide an online video platform for Champions League Soccer, which is offered as a separate package.
The English Premier League matches are available in a replay format on-demand for up to 7 days after their initial Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Channel Plus broadcasts. The archived football matches also include Champions League Soccer, Serie A, World Cup 2010 Qualifying and more.
Some matches may not be available locally due to blackouts, which may occur if your local broadcaster has the rights to the same match on TV. There will be no live coverage of the 2010 World Cup. Users can visit Fox Soccer’s website to get World Cup news updates and video highlights.
FoxSoccerTV uses the RayV video web player, which offers support for increased video quality as well as social media capabilities. FoxSoccerTV is supported on Mac and Windows platforms as well as IE, Firefox and Safari on Mac. The streaming quality will vary between 500 Mbps and 1.0 Mbps and is generally good when working.
The service has had significant problems when demand for big matches has exceeded peak capacity. Demand for the March 20th English Premier League Match with Manchester United vs. Liverpool was such that the site was down for the first half of the match. More recently FoxSoccerTV experienced an outage during the Champions League quarterfinal between Barcelona and Arsenal; the site was down for the first 50 minutes of that match. Other complaints are related to audio and video syncing and video buffering from time-to-time.
Univision has acquired the rights for the Internet Spanish Language Broadcasting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the USA. It will provide US users full coverage of the World Cup on its web channel at UnivisionFutbol. Univision will broadcast all 64 of the 2010 World Cup matches live, online for free in full Spanish-language programming. The site will also offer users real time game stats and live match commentary.
UnivisionFutbol will provide special World Cup features with player and coach interviews and Univision reports directly from South Africa. Univision will also offer the latest tournament news, including player profiles, World Cup history and more.
This service is new and may experience huge demand during the month long tournament. We’ll have to wait and see if it can provide a stable platform for Spanish language coverage of the FIFA 2010 World Cup on the Internet.
CBCSports.ca & Radio-Canada.ca
In Canada you can watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches online on both Radio-Canada and CBCSports in both live and on-demand formats for free. Access will be limited to users with Canadian IP´s. Both these CBC sites will offer world cup features segments, video highlights and daily reports from South Africa. In addition you can access rich content covering the history of the World cup with player profiles and classic FIFA World Cup moments.
CBCSports has extensive experience broadcasting live sporting events having recently broadcast the Olympics and hockey games involving Canada.
Fox Sports Net in Australia
In Australia you can catch watch live soccer streaming with Fox Sports Net. This Australian online football channel offers users with Australian IPs limited access to live and delayed Premier League football matches. This will run you approximately AUS $25 per month, or you can choose the annual pass for AUS $125 per year. You may choose to test this service out with a 4 match option for AUS $9.
This is FOX Sports Net's third year running the online broadband soccer channel. The broadband option has been packaged with Fox TV Soccer rights and should continue providing the Premier League for the 2010-11 season. In addition to the subscription service, Fox Sports Net also offers subscribers an on-demand service, which is limited to residential subscribers. The service is available for Windows and Mac users, with some limitations.
ESPN360 in Australia
ESPN3 is now available in Australia providing excellent sports coverage in a broadband platform. It is free to users who subscribe to a FOXTEL subscription household. ESPN describes it as "simple to use and satisfying to watch" and "the new Online Home to watch sports". We agree. ESPN has hit a home run with this platform in the USA and will likely experience similar success in Australia if additional broadband providers can subscribe to the service.
The ESPN3 online service is similar to the US version. It has a simple and easy user interface to navigate to the live and on-demand soccer matches. The video quality standard is very good for online devices such as your laptop or iPad. ESPN3 Australia offers UEFA Champions League and Europa League, MLS, Serie A and La Liga soccer online as well as newscasts, soccer magazine programs and other sports. Please note that additional broadband charges may apply if you exceed the data usage allowed by your Internet Service Provider.
The Sky Player is the UK's Sky TV broadband channel. You get to watch select live football matches and channels live, or if you prefer you can watch matches on demand at your convenience. With the Sky Player you are able to watch any of the Sky Sports TV channels live. In order to watch Sky Player videos on skysports.com you will need a Sky Player subscription. For more information on Sky Player, click here.
The Sky Player is available to Sky TV subscribers who may be able to watch the live and on-demand Sky Player service at a discounted subscription fee in addition to their existing subscription. Sky Player is supported on PC, Mac as well as Xbox 360
Sky Sports also offers live Champions League streaming service that covers all the matches broadcast by Sky including matches broadcast on Sky Sports Interactive (behind the red button). This service is only available to UK users with UK IPs. There will be a subscription fee. The Champions League matches are not supported on MAC because the Microsoft Digital Rights Management (DRM) license system is not fully supported on the Mac OS.
All games covered by the BBC will also be available live on the Internet. The coverage will be shared. The BBC has signed a deal with FIFA to broadcast the World Cup Finals free in 2010 and 2014. The agreement with FIFA is for the UK rights to all 64 matches at the two tournaments in South Africa and the subsequent World Cup in 2014 in Brazil. The deal includes live match rights and highlights for the tournaments. The 2010 finals will be the twelfth consecutive World Cup that ITV and BBC have broadcast in tandem.
Both channels will offer their respective matches on the Internet during the world cup. For a full list of each match schedule please visit the appropriate World Cup 2010 Section or the BBC and ITV channel pages.
Betting and sports go hand-in-hand, so the betting operators have in the past few years started acquiring the broadband rights for specific competitions in specific geographic regions. Two of our favorite betting operators offering extensive football coverage include bet365 and bwin.
Bet365 offers football fans access to free, live football streaming to all registered bet365 users. To watch live football on bet365, simply open an account with them by following the instructions on the bet365 channel page. Bet365 offers matches from the following leagues: Polish League, English Championship, La Liga, Liga Sagres, Mexican League, Copa Libertadores, Copa do Brasil, CONCACF Champions League, Russian League, J-League, the MLS, and much more. For a complete listing of bet365 matches please visit the bet365 Live Soccer on the Internet listing. Due to local betting and gaming restrictions, the service may not be available in certain geographic regions such as the USA.
Bwin offers an extensive listing of live sport video streams include free live football streaming on the Internet to all registered bwin users. You just have to open an account with them. There are no downloads required to watch on bwin; watch live soccer online directly in your browser. And it