As there always seems to be someone asking for a link to watch a football match, I thought I’d create a guide for those less familiar with how sports live streaming works, or just those who are looking for more stable/higher quality links.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide and whether or not these methods will work for you can depend on your internet connection speed, your ISP (some will block certain sites/software) and the browser you’re using.
1. GENERAL NOTES
A) Before you think about streaming a match, you’ll need to know when it’s on and, if you’re looking for a specific language, sometimes it’s best to know beforehand what channel it will air on - though this isn’t strictly necessary. Live Soccer TV is a good resource for this; it lists what matches are airing each day, whether they’re repeats, and on what channel they’ll air. See the screenshot for Premier League matches below.
You can click on the match itself to see a larger list of broadcasters*, including those from different countries.
*note that this is not a full list of every single channel that will broadcast the match
B) As mentioned earlier, your internet connection speed will play a role in the quality of the stream you’ll be able to use. You can check your speed using Speedtest.net. If the download speed is less than 6Mbps, I would recommend sticking to the lower quality streams. You’re welcome to try the higher quality ones, but if your stream lags, is constantly buffering, or stops completely, this may be down to your connection rather than the stream itself.
C) Most of the websites that provide streaming links will only put these up about an hour or half an hour before the match is set to start, so don’t expect to be able to find a link hours before kickoff which you can bookmark to watch later.
2. TYPES OF STREAMS
There are various different types of streams that can be used to watch a match, but I’ll only cover the main ones here.
A) Flash/HTML5 (including Ustream)
This is probably the most-used type of stream as it requires no additional software to be installed on your computer. However, most websites that host such streams will be riddled with popup (or pop-under) adverts. And, in some cases, will try to download malicious files to your computer if you click on them. To ensure this doesn’t happen, always have your antivirus software up to date and activated, and consider using an adblocker. This won’t get rid of all the adverts, but will greatly reduce them. Once the stream starts to play, you’ll typically see a box blocking half of it stating “this advert will close in 30 seconds.” Patiently wait for it to countdown to zero, and then click the x to close the advert. Do this for any other adverts you see on the player. They shouldn’t appear again after this unless you move into fullscreen mode and then out again, or if you refresh the page.
TIP 1: Ghostery is an example of extension you can add to your browser which you can set to block advertising, widgets and trackers - see below.
TIP 2: If you want to use a flash stream, don’t use Internet Explorer as it’s much less secure, and struggles to deal with adverts.
TIP 3: Although Ustream links are higher quality than most other websites, they have a tendency to get taken down midway through a match.
B) XBMC (now known as Kodi 14)
XBMC is an open source media and entertainment centre which, with the installation of addons, can be used to stream various channels. To do this, you’ll need to download the software from the official website here. Once you’ve downloaded and installed this, you’ll need to install Navi-X. A tutorial on how to do this can be found here.
Once you’re all set up, open up XBMC, click on programs and then Navi-X. To find a stream, open up the Navi-Xtreme portal and click on “most used - 24 hours”. This should display many channels. What you should be looking for is any one labelled “sports”. You should get a list that looks like the following*, and you can click on whichever stream you desire:
*The above is just a snapshot of what is available on Navi-X. There are also streams from many different countries.
Alternatively, if you know which channel you’re looking for, you can search for it and Navi-X will show you a list of results which you can pick from.
In regards to quality, below is a screenshot of what you can expect to get from a SD stream:
C) Acestream or Sopcast
As above with XBMC, Acestream and Sopcast are both software that needs to be downloaded and installed onto your computer before you can start streaming.
I won’t cover Acestream here, as there is a known vulnerability issue. Use at your own risk.
Sopcast, however, is relatively safe to use and is very simple to navigate. It can be downloaded from the developer’s website here. There are two different ways to find a channel on Sopcast. One such way is to open it up, login, click on the live channels tab, and navigate to your desired channel. Another such way is to open it up using links found online (more on this later).
Once you have found a link and have opened up a channel, wait for the loading bar to go to 100% (or close to it). If it stays consistently above 90% (see below), then it means the stream is stable.
If, however, the number drops lower than 80, or the stream lags, it is most likely unstable or there is an issue with your internet connection/speed.
As Sopcast streams tend to be high quality (compare these screenshots at ~1500Kbps to Ustream at 3064Kbps, to a standard 300Kbps flash stream), it’s best to only use these if you know your internet connection can handle it (see general notes part b above)
3. WHERE TO FIND LINKS
So now you know all about the different ways you can stream a football match, but where do you find links? Well, there are tons of websites that provide links. So many, in fact, that it would take too long to list them all here.
Below are some which I’ve found to be generally reliable, with stable links most of the time.
The best of these are the first three listed, as they will tell you the bit rate of each stream (the higher the bit rate, the better the quality), the type of link (i.e. flash or Sopcast) and sometimes even the language the stream is in. See below for more information.
TIP 4: When using any of the above websites, do not click on Unibet TV or Bet365 links, as these will require you to sign up with a credit card first.
A) Wiziwig TV
This website will provide flash, Acestream and Sopcast links and these can be filtered using the drop down menu. Flash links will open up directly, whereas Sopcast links will ask for permission to launch the player.
Occasionally, it will also list the language of the stream in square brackets. If it doesn’t, it is usually easy to deduce the language anyway. For example, Sky Sports links will be in English, while Canal+ will be in Spanish and so on.
This is a Spanish website so most streams will be in that language. However, you can click on the tab to sort by language to pick the one you desire.
Rojadirecta usually has the most links available so it’s up to you to choose whichever you’d prefer. Any links with a 1000Kbps or above bit rate will be of good quality.
If you pick a Sopcast link, it will open in a new tab and ask you to use Internet Explorer. If you’d prefer to use Sopcast to watch, you can open up the link in IE and click on the button to open it up in Sopcast. You can then close IE and the stream will continue to play in Sopcast.
C) Live Football Video
As with the above two sites, Live Football Video has a large list of links you can use and these are generally sorted in order of highest bit rate to lowest. The icons on the left hand side indicate the type of stream (e.g. the red circle with the f inside is flash). The site will also provide download or streaming links several hours after the match has finished, in case you missed it.
The above should cover everything but if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a message off-anon and I will do my best to help.