Watching Sports Abroad
For four straights years I managed to be traveling abroad for most of the fall months, and in so doing missed watching my beloved Washington Redskins find a way to lose in all of those seasons. If you have ever met a sports nut, you’ve likely noticed that win or lose, they are pretty obsessed and seem to have a sixth sense for game time, no matter where in the world they are. Over the years I have found myself in some pretty interesting places while the big game has been – and it has never stopped me from catching a minute of the action! Some people love to travel the world and escape from everything they left behind and some people, like me, do the same but will never lose my love of sports! So if you are the later, here is our guide to watching sports abroad. (NOTE: Special thanks to Marina for putting up with all this nonsense over the years, no matter where we are)
First off, traveling with a laptop is a necessity. Luckily, now more than ever, wifi is available almost everywhere on Earth. Bringing a lap with you on the road is a must, but you probably already knew that so we’ll move on.
Second, all of the major sporting leagues have adapted to the online world and now offer streaming services for their particular sport. The NBA offers League Pass ($13 a month or $99 for the season), the NFL has Sunday Ticket ($59 a month or $299 for the season) and on an on. All of these services give you access to every single game of the season, for every single team and include streaming on any device, be it your television, laptop, tablet or smart phone. An OnDemand season pass is also available for the English Premier League among most other major sports leagues world wide.
“Living in Thailand, we are exactly 12 hours ahead of EST time in the US, and thus NFL games start promptly at midnight and 3:30am…”
If you are traveling outside of the USA, you will likely face the issue of broadcasting rights and streaming will not be available. This is a huge problem! However, there are some great solutions! If you have purchased Sunday Ticket or League pass and are traveling abroad you will need to have a VPN service. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to hide your location and bounce your IP address of servers anywhere on Earth. I’m not techie enough to explain it all, but the bottom line is, it will allow you to tell your computer you are in Denver even if you are in Timbuktu. Programs like Hide My Ass and VPN Reactor both cost about $9 a month, and work great for anywhere in the world. There are free VPN services available but don’t bother with them. Worth noting is that a VPN will also allow you to use sites like Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and other blocked sites internationally)
This is all well and good but wouldn’t it be nice if you could just watch all the games for free right on your television no matter where you find yourself? Well, you’re in luck! As the NFL is in full swing, I regularly watch all the games, for free, right on my home TV, heres how.
We currently live in Phuket, Thailand and moved into a house that already had a television, a newer model flatscreen which is a huge plus! We also brought an Apple TV with us, one of the best purchases you can make on the tech side of things! The Apple TV allows you to stream things such as Netflix, Hulu and your iTunes right to your TV, which is fantastic! Unfortunately, there is no way to turn a VPN on the Apple TV, but there is another way! With any newer model Apple computer, desktop or laptop, you can use Airplay Mirroring to show your computer screen right on your TV, including the audio. This allows you to login to your NBA, NFL or even Netflix account and then turn on the VPN and shoot it right to your TV screen. You can also configure your iPhone with a VPN and beam to the TV from your phone as well.
But we still haven’t discussed free though! There are many free streaming websites out there which allow you to stream any sporting event live. Many of these will only with the your VPN on, but some don’t require it. Worth noting is that when your VPN is on, you may notice a slowing down of your streaming speeds. That being said, they are pretty minor. Sites like Front Row Sports and VIP Box Sports give you various streams of each game, some better than others. There are usually many ads to click out of, but at the end of the day you can always find a decent quality live stream of whatever game you would like. I have found that VIP Box Sports works better as I do not need to use the VPN to stream games, thus speeding up the streaming. I hardly ever have a glitch in the stream.
Now for the only downside, the time change. If you are traveling abroad, there will always be a time change to deal with, some greater than others. Living in Thailand, we are exactly 12 hours ahead of EST time in the US, and thus NFL games start promptly at midnight and 3:30am. Of course this doesn’t stop me, just makes me very tired on Monday mornings. Marina on the other hand is delighted, she gets to sleep right through the madness. On the slightly brighter side, Sunday and Monday night football start bright and early Monday and Tuesday mornings, a great way to start the day!
So there you have it! Hopefully this will give you all the information you would ever need to keep up to the minute with all of your favorite teams so you’ll never have to miss another second of your favorite team, no matter where in the world you are.
Jeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to forget them all.
A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh.
Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll respond super fast!