Don’t miss a moment of your favorite team, regardless of whether their games are broadcast in your area. A variety of sites around the web can serve you (legally questionable) streams of every live match you can imagine. Stop Googling only to find dead ends, malware and sadness. Go to these sites first and find what you’re looking for quickly so you can watch live matches online, right now.
….is what I would say if I condoned piracy. I don’t. These links are here purely to make an academic point: it’s incredibly easy to watch live matches you want to, if you know where on the web to look. A large group of people work to make this possible, providing illegal streams to the web regardless of the legal consequences. Here’s how to find their streams. I leave it up to the reader to figure out whether watching such streams is legal in your jurisdiction.
I’ve shown you how to watch sports not broadcast in your country, but many of the services linked to there are no more. Consider this an updated list – and be sure to check the comments for even more links. Most streams work with Flash alone, but some will require certain software. Check the second section to learn where to find it.
Where To Watch Live Matches Online
The Wiziwig forum is a great place to start any search for a live stream. Browse the categories to find the sport you’re looking for, then check the latest post to find live streams. Streamers typically let the forum know which matches they’ll be broadcasting and where to find them.
If you’re looking for something a little more straight forward – though perhaps slightly lower in quality – check out FirstRow Sports. This site offers a schedule for the day that includes every game in a variety of sports. Click the game you want to watch and you’ll have multiple options for watching it.
SportLemon is a similar site with a schedule. Simple. AllSport-Live is a Russian site offering streams for many sports. You’ll see a schedule of all upcoming games. StreamHunter is another popular destination for finding streams. A variety of sports are covered; currently live games are highlighted on the main screen.
LiveSoccerTV specializes in one sport: rugby. Not really: this is a soccer site, with games from around the world.
Software You Might Need
As you explore these sites you’ll notice that most requires Adobe’s flash in order to work. Some don’t, however – they instead use different browser plugins altogether. It’s worth installing these plugins, because streams that use these services tend to be higher quality.
One such program is Sopcast. It’s a peer-to-peer protocol for streaming video, meaning that you’re offering the stream to others as you watch. This means there will be a delay while watching, but it also means the quality of the stream can be quite high without a lot of cost for the person offering the stream. There’s a browser plugin for Mac and Windows users, and third party Sopcast clients for Linux if you know where to look.
You may run across other programs, such as StreamTorrent or Veetle. Wiziwig offers a great outline of such software [No Longer Available], so check that out for links and explanations.
Oh, and while I’m talking about software, check out XBMC if you have the time. There’s a plugin for XBMC called Sports Devil, and it gives you a remote-friendly interface for browsing a variety of the sites mentioned above.
Of course, there are legal alternatives. If you live in the United States, and you have a cable subscription, you should check out ESPN 3 – it regularly features all sorts of sporting events from around the country.
We’ve outlined similar services in the past – showing you how to watch live college football for free or where to legally watch the Euro 2012 football championships for free, so stay tuned to MakeUseOf for more instructions like this as major events approach.
Finally, many leagues now let you pay for online access – especially if you live outside their usual jurisdiciton. I, for example, allow the Toronto Maple Leafs to continue abusing my emotions by paying for NHL Gamecenter. I can watch out-of-market games, live or delayed. Most major leagues offer equivalent services at this point, and while they’re not always cheap they are more affordable then their respective cable packages.
How will you watch live matches of the teams you love? Let me know in the comments below!