Let’s be honest, very few Aussies spend much time overseas before we start asking, “how can I keep up with my favorite sports teams back home”? For many years, the best option was to scout the local Aussie bar and show up at an ungodly hour every week to catch the live games. Thankfully, in recent years, a number of cable and streaming options have emerged to provide more ways to get our overseas sports fix.
Whether you prefer a social setting or watching the games from the comfort of your couch, AWNY’s Rachelle Grierson has you covered with the latest and greatest options to catch some of your favorite sports from NYC.
AFL and NRL
- Cable TV:
If you have a cable television subscription, channels FS1 and FS2 will show a selection of games from each code every weekend (around 3-4 from each). The games are only shown live though so be sure to have your DVR prepared!
Most cable providers also offer the premium channel Fox Soccer Plus that also airs a number of NRL and AFL games both live and replayed during the week.
If you already have cable then this is definitely the most cost-efficient option. The only downfall for the diehard fan is that you may not be able to catch your team(s) week in week out; you will be dependent on the games they choose to broadcast.
Both AFL & NRL offer an international paid streaming service to watch all games live and on demand. It is offered to people outside of Australia only (so you won’t be able to access any time you head back home). WatchAFL and WatchNRL will require two separate subscriptions so great to get in on this with some mates! There are 3 different types of subscriptions you can purchase:
– Weekly for $20
– Monthly for $39
– Yearly for $182
Watching on demand has the added perk of all ads being removed, making it the most time efficient option. It is also great for the die hard fans, providing access to games from prior years and a number of pre-and post-match shows. The homepage is also set up so that you can turn off the scores meaning no spoilers! If only we could do the same with Instagram!
A few years ago, ESPN launched its affiliate streaming network ESPN+ to increase the network’s sports offering including widespread coverage of International Cricket.
Through ESPN+, you can watch most ICC events including the World Cup, Women’s cricket and T20 leagues. They also follow the Indian, West Indies and NZ national cricket games year-round.
ESPN+ costs $9.99 per month on its own, or you can bundle it with Hulu and Disney+ for $12.00 per month.
- Cable TV
A new addition to the cable network is Willow TV, a channel dedicated to cricket. It has become the official broadcaster of the ICC, the IPL and a number of national cricket teams including England, South Africa and most importantly…Australia!
ESPN+ also shows a number international rugby matches, mainly focused on the international and European leagues. To keep up with Rugby Union at all levels, your best bet is Flo Sports. This is a newer streaming platform that offers specific subscriptions to over 25 different sports, one of them being Rugby Union. Called Florugby, it provides live and on demand access to national and international rugby competitions from around the world
It costs $29.99 per month or you can subscribe annually for $150
Netball Australia has set up its own streaming service for overseas fans, NetballAustralia.TV. For $2.49 per week you can catch all matches from the Super Netball season live and on demand.
The NBL has a Youtube channel that allows fans in select regions (the US included) to watch games live. The channel also includes player interviews and match recaps every week.
Oh how I miss the days of The Australian bar in Midtown when we would keenly await their weekly schedule release to learn when they would replay matches from the weekend!
Though no bars currently in the city show the full lineup of Aussie matches every week, there are a few that will host an event for the finals series and the Grand Final. Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you can sweet talk them into putting on a specific match for you. Below are some of the bars in the city that will show Australian sports and worth reaching out to if there is a specific match you want to catch:
– The Hairy Lemon: this East Village bar is quickly becoming one of the hot spots for watching Aussie sports. It is generally a packed house for any major Australian sporting event and if the team has access to a specific game they are generally willing to put it on for you
– The Liberty: located in Midtown, this bar hosts parties for most major sporting events, including Australian sports. Though they don’t traditionally show Aussie matches every week it is definitely a spot worth checking out!
– 5th & Mad: This sports bar hosts one of the biggest Grand Final viewing parties. Set over 2 floors with dozens of screens it also makes some solid NYC-worthy cocktails.
Just keep in mind that these bars are also affiliated with American sports teams so make sure not to try and ask to watch an Aussie game any time their affiliated teams are playing (that will be a hard no).