Is the Kayo live sports streaming service any good? And how does the experience compare with existing services? Welcome to our Kayo review.
Australians love sport. Australians love live sport. So, any new service in this space is likely to receive a lot of attention. Kayo is a brand new live sports streaming service that has quickly become a major disruptor to the viewing habits of sports fans around the country.
We've now been using Kayo Sports (mistakenly called Kayosports and Kayo Sport on occasion) for over five months and have developed a thorough understanding of its unique features, platforms and its future roadmap. We're convinced that, already, Kayo Sports is the number one choice for fans of just about any sport in Australia. From a bird's eye view, the offer is compelling. The most amount of sports for the least amount of cost.
Current and future Kayo Sports platforms
Kayo first launched in beta at the start of November 2018 in browsers via PC and Mac, and on TV via ChromeCast. After successfully navigating that journey, it released on iOS and Android, and Apple TV still in beta on November 19. When the beta ended on November 26, the kayosports.com.au website indicated Telstra TV and Android TV support would come. Only a day later Telstra TV arrived, while Android TV support followed on February 27, 2019.
Given that Kayo has stuck true to its roadmap on these devices, we have no reason to second guess the roadmap for 2019. This includes native app releases on Smart TVs - with Kayo Sports on Samsung, LG and Sony Smart TVs most likely in our opinion – as well as on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. However, as of April 2019, no dates for these platforms have been released.
Across all the formats we've tested, the Kayo Sports experience has been comparable in its quality. We've definitely noticed a more intuitive and deeper interface on the Android devices over Apple's iOS. However, some older Android phone and OS combination do cause problems for a small number of users.
We've also found connecting Kayo Sports to your TV via ChromeCast a seamless experience. For those interesting in learning more about this process, we have a guide here.
The only other notable difference between the Kayo Sports platforms is SplitView. This awesome feature is something we'll go into more detail below, but effectively it allows you to watch up to four channels at the same time. On smaller screens, namely mobiles and mini-tablets, this feature is restricted to only two screens for obvious reasons.
However, Kayo smartly stacks these in such a way that it's actually quite nice just enjoying the two experiences at once. You just have to work out which Kayo sport you want to half watch.
If you'd like to get an idea of how Kayo Sports works, you can watch the video above. This was originally filmed live and documents the experience in a browser at the kayosports website.
Get to know Kayo with our guides
What channels are available on Kayo Sports?
Currently there are 14 channels available on Kayo Sports, but this is a number that will continue to grow. At launch it was announced a Red Bull TV channel would be coming, for example, however this has yet to occur. And Racing.com was only added in May 2019. So check back regularly to see if there is any more news on new content coming to this live sports streaming app. Here are the current channels available:
- FOX SPORTS 500
- FOX CRICKET 501
- FOX LEAGUE 502
- FOX SPORTS 503
- FOX FOOTY 504
- FOX SPORTS 505
- FOX SPORTS 506
- FOX SPORTS MORE 507
- beIN SPORTS 1
- beIN SPORTS 2
- beIN SPORTS 3
- ESPN 2
Which Kayo sport to choose? Over 50 on offer.
While Kayo may not bear the Fox Sports name, as a sister product, it retains all the same streaming rights. Therefore, if you can watch it on Foxtel, you can likely watch it on Kayo Sports. Well almost. There's all the Fox Sports channels, three beIN Sports channels, two ESPN channels and a Racing.com channel.
Missing from Kayo, but available through Foxtel, are the three premier league club channels (Liverpool TV, Chelsea TV and Manchester United TV), the three Sky Sports Racing channels (include Skyracing Live and Sky racing replays) and Eurosport.
The latter in particular is sorely missed, but we suspect that it was left on Foxtel to give that product some sort of competitive advantage (minor as it is). Still, in conducting your own Kayo review, you'd be wise to double check that your favourite sport isn't on Eurosport.
In total there are still over 50 sports, including the big-ticket items such as the live broadcasts of NRL, AFL, Cricket, V8 Supercars, Super Rugby, World Surf League and the F1.
It's not just live sports, with on-demand sport available of previous events (including legacy games). The original programming from Fox Sports (such as NRL 360, Fight Night and The Back Page) are also available on Kayo, too. While there is no confirmation yet on whether Kayo will produce any of its own unique content in the future, we did notice some Kayo specific highlights packages during our time on the service.
Stream Horse Racing live on Kayo Sports
As of May 6, 2019, a 14th channel launched on Kayo Sports, focused on horse racing. The channel came in partnership with Racing.com, who supplied all the programing for fans of equestrian race days. During the remainder of 2019 (and likely ongoing), Kayo Sports users will get access to selected Victorian and South Australian thoroughbred races live, and then on demand.
Some of the events on the horse racing calendar Kayo Sports have confirmed will be shown include; the South Australian Autumn Carnival and the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival. In addition to live horse racing, fans can stream supplementary Racing.com entertainment programing. This includes shows such as Get On, Sectional Stars, After The Last and That's Racing.
It's worth noting that Foxtel also went live with Racing.com on May 6. However, Foxtel's additional three Sky Racing channels dedicated to horse racing remain exclusive to Foxtel and do not appear on Kayo Sports.
Kayo sport hubs
If you want to dive deeper into some of the bigger sports here in Australia, or find out when the next big event you want to watch is on, you can check out our individual hub pages.
- Super Rugby
- 2019 Cricket World Cup
- V8 Supercars
- Formula 1
Kayo review of live sport features
One of the best attributes of the Kayo Sports app is the way the user interface and features directly tie into the needs of sports fans. Here are a list of features currently available and what they do:
- Picture-in-picture - This minimises the Kayo screen to a smaller size, but continues to run it over the top of other software. You can move it wherever you want and change its size, too. Meanwhile, the Kayosports website stays inactive in the background.
- SplitView - On small devices you can stream two programs or live sports at once, and on big devices four streams. There are a number of templates to choose from when splitting your content up. You just need to be mindful of the data cost.
- SplitView (Bonus): Starting with The Masters Tournament of golf, we've started to see Kayo Sports use SplitView in a new way. This includes providing multiple channels of a single event, each showing a different camera perspective. You can then use SplitView to watch each camera at the same time.
- Notifications - You can make sure that you are notified about a live sports event relevant to your interests or even if something dramatic happens during a live event.
- No Spoilers - This enables you to prevent a sporting event that has already been completed from being spoiled, so you can watch the replay on demand. When selected, scores are hidden from view.
- Key Moments - This places markers on the timeline of a sporting event whenever something notable has happened. You can jump straight to these moments to create your own highlights package. Highlights can be turned off so they don't spoil a live sport you've started streaming mid-way through. This feature isn't so great on small devices at present due to key moments stacking over each other and being hard to select.
- Match Centre - This is a hub of content generated around one sporting event. Here you'll find pre-game interviews with players, post-game analysis, highlights of previous matches, and more.
- RaceView - A feature added in time for the start of the V8 Supercars series in 2019, this feature allows you to select from multiple different camera angles. If you can't decide on one, you can actually have up to four cameras from the same sporting event running in SplitView. This is a new feature, however, so isn't available in may sports just yet.
- High-Definition - We wouldn't flag this as a feature if it wasn't the fact that competitive services, namely Foxtel IQ, charge an additional fee for HD. With Kayo it is included, but under network duress, it will scale back to standard definition.
Kayo's price is right
Perhaps the most significant positive for Kayo is its price point. At $25 per month for two simultaneous streams (as in two screens, not SplitView), or $35 for three simultaneous streams, it's great value. In a world where people are used to getting Netflix for as low as $9.99 per month and most major sports have their own dedicated live streaming apps, Kayo needed to adapt from the old-school Foxtel packages.
And it has.
To access the exact same content through Foxtel IQ/Foxtel GO or Foxtel Now will set you back $68 a month for the former, and $54 for the latter. As such, the value feels real here. Granted you don't get access to 4K content (as you do with Foxtel IQ4), you can't record anything, and you don't get access to any of the non-sport content (as you do with Foxtel's Entertainment pack), but is that essential to you?
For the average Australian sports fans, Kayo's price is just about right. Perhaps too high for those interested in a single sport, but for multi-sport aficionados, it's better than getting a number of standalone dedicated apps from each sporting organisation (like NBA League Pass or NFL Game Pass).
We're confident as well that the price of Kayo will not go up.
The pros and cons of Kayo
The Kayo user interface is not perfect, but it's 90% of the way there. It's comparable to what we've come to expect from the likes of Netflix, although it goes one step further. It highlights important live sports that are on right at that moment in bigger boxes and allows you to join the action live or watch from the start.
It also allows you to see all the programming around one singular sport and smartly pushes to the surface connected programming when you select a particular match to watch. For example, pre-game interviews, previous game highlights, press conferences or panel shows.
The promised "jump to key moments" feature is functioning, although we noticed a delay of a fair few minutes before a highlight (such as a wicket in cricket) registers on the feed. Plus, the timeline frequently gets so cluttered you can't access everything easily. Especially if someone hits a couple of sixes in one over on a timeline that is a full innings long.
We also spotted a "Kayo Mini" video. This is a feature Optus Sport introduced ahead of this year's Premier League season, whereby you could watch on-demand not just a full game or a brief highlights package, but something in the middle that just trims out all the fat and cuts to the good stuff.
It's handy when you've missed a game you're not overly dedicated to, but want to have seen enough of it to get a read on the performances of individuals or the team. This bespoke Kayo sport content isn't available on Foxtel, and we expect more of it to come in the future.
Also Read: How much data does Kayo use?
There were definitely some teething problems at first. In our initial version of this review I commented on the quality frequently dropping to SD and the screen even freezing. This was happening on a fast connection, too.
However, in the months since these issues have all but disappeared. Using the Kayo Sports app, or the Kayosports website, nearly every day since, I couldn't tell you the last time these issues happened. That includes use on my home Wi-Fi, in the office and on 4G while using public transport.
Also missing and very much needed is live stats or stats in general. I've been led to believe that is a feature coming in the future, but no release date confirmation has been forthcoming. I really wanted to be fed more info as I watched the game and had to head outside the website to find it.
Elsewhere the picture-in-picture feature is amazing. With the click of a button, you can suddenly have your desktop active and functional, while the sport streams over the top unaffected by your work. It's sure to be the bane of bosses everywhere and is a feature that will certainly be used a lot by this writer.
Also amazing is SplitView. We had no problems splitting the screen up four ways and streaming four live feeds at once. The UI here could be better. It's great how you can drag and drop screens into different areas and the way the active screen plays sound. However, getting feeds in and out of the four windows isn't intuitive. And once you have one feed going, the menu allowing you to select other feeds is limiting in its choice.
What is kayosports.com.au customer service like?
Systematically since Kayo Sports has gone live, we've gone to the Kayosports website and used the online chat system. For the most part it's been to get clarification on information for use in our articles, but other times it's just been to test out some feedback from a reader.
To date, we've had negligible wait time and our queries have been responded to satisfactorily on each occasion and from a friendly representative. We've also signed-up and cancelled accounts, which have happened in real-time and seamlessly. So we give the Kayosports website customer support a big thumbs up.
The future of Kayo review
The future for Kayo looks bright. Many more features are promised, as well as formats including native smart TV apps and video game consoles. We're also intrigued to see what happens with Telstra's mobile and home broadband plans. With Kayo consuming so much data, plans that offer unmetered use of the Kayo Sport service will be in high demand. Will we see bundles emerge that cater to this need? How much will these Kayo + Telstra broadband plans cost?
It's fair to say our expectations weren't very high flicking on the service for our first Kayo review. While the concept of a "Netflix for Sports" is great, the struggles of Foxtel Now and, more recently, Optus Sport, ensure Australians approach the word "streaming" with a trepidation born of bad experiences.
Yet Kayo is undoubtedly impressive. A number of Finder staff gathered around the laptop to gawk at the features and the HD live sport. It's easy to test for yourself, too, thanks to the 14-day free trial. If you thought you could never have too many sports, Kayo is set to test that theory.
What about Skyracing Live or Sky racing replays on Kayo?
We're sorry to say that neither Skyracing Live, nor any of the Sky racing replays, is available through Kayo Sports. While Foxtel Now and Foxtel IQ do feature Skyracing channels, they have not been carried across to the Kayo Sports service. It is possible they could be added in the future, but we've heard nothing to suggest this will be the case anytime soon. The only horse racing available on Kayo Sports, comes from the Racing.com channel, which does cover some of the notable Australian carnivals live.