The Internet isn't just kicking goals and slam dunking online streaming for movies and TV shows. It's also knocking sports streaming for six with many services now offering online streams for your favourite sports.
Australians have always had a passionate love affair with sport. We're also a nation of early adopters, catching new technology in our hands and running with it while the rest of the world catches up. While Foxtel is still the dominant force in sports broadcasting and anti-siphoning laws ensure that free-to-air TV gets its fair share of sporting matches, the Internet is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with in how Australians watch their favourite sport.
Depending on the sport you want to watch, there are a generally a few ways to watch your team play online. There's a growing trend towards dedicated apps, which promise not only live broadcasts but conveniently curated highlight reels, plus interview shows, on-demand replays and even multiple camera angles.
These apps are generally available for mobile and tablets on both iOS and Android platforms, but there are also Smart TV and streaming device apps that let you enjoy a dedicated big screen experience.
Because the Internet is global, there's also the ability to access global sporting competitions, with apps for US sports like the NBA and NFL all readily available, with an annual subscription pass offering access to the games.
We're still a long way away from streaming becoming the dominant way to watch your favourite sporting match, with big money spent on broadcast rights for all the major Australian sports. In many cases, the only way to watch certain sports online is via Foxtel Now, which retransmits the Fox Sports channels through the Internet.
But there are more sports being made available for digital streaming every year, so even if your sport of choice isn't currently available to stream, expect it to arrive sooner rather than later.
Streaming sports in Australia
While sports streaming is still in its relative infancy here in Australia, there's still a robust ecosystem of sporting competitions available to stream. Quite often they are available through a mobile provider who has acquired the digital rights in order to provide an incentive for new customers. These mobile providers can offer you access to the sport that won't count against your monthly data allowance.
Below we've listed out some of the major Australian and international sports competitions that you can stream in Australia.
What you need to stream sports in Australia
Thanks to broadcasting rights, sports streaming is generally limited to mobile or tablet devices, although there is no hard and fast rule for device support. You'll need to check device compatibility for whatever sport you want to watch.
Because streaming rights tend to be targeted to mobile devices, mobile phone carriers have been spending big to gain those rights. Some providers use the digital sports platform as a tool to entice customers. If you want to watch the EPL in Australia, for example, you need to be an Optus broadband or mobile customer. In other cases, such as Telstra's NRL and AFL apps, you can access the apps regardless of whether you're a Telstra customer or not, though Telstra users will get to watch without worrying about the impact on their data allowance.
Of course, there's nothing quite like watching the game on the big screen. Again though, from a streaming standpoint, you are at the mercy of the licensing deals. Some sports offer dedicated Smart TV apps, as well as apps for platforms like Apple TV. Others will let you beam a mobile connection to your TV via a Chromecast or Airplay connection. Others won't let you watch on a TV at all.
The one factor that is common to pretty much every sport streaming service is that you'll need to pay to access it. In some cases, the cost of streaming is included as an add-on to another service, like V8 Supercars access for OVO mobile customers. But as a rule, you'll have to pay to watch sports online.
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