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One of the perks of owning an Android device is being able to stream live sports in just about any location. Thanks to the latest mobile technology and new service offerings from television networks, sports leagues and streaming companies, fans now have unparalleled access to their favorite teams and championship events all over the world. Isn't it time you get in the game, too?
Here are the most frequently asked questions about live sports streaming and some tips for using your Android mobile device to tune in to all the big games -- whenever they're happening, from wherever you are.
How can I stream live sports on my Android device?
You have two main options to access live sports streaming on your Android device: using a dedicated app (such as from a sports network, league or streaming service) or watching an online broadcast on a mobile web browser.
Viewing sports using a network, league or streaming service app
Virtually every major sports provider -- whether it's a sponsoring league or conference (e.g., NFL, AFL, Formula 1) or a television network that's paid broadcast rights fees (e.g., Sky Sports, ESPN) -- now offers live streaming programming via paid subscription. Their advanced Android apps are available in the Google Play store and typically give access to special replays, archived games, and so on, in addition to live games.
Streaming-only services also offer sports programming via their apps. Broad-spectrum streaming content providers such as YouTube, Hulu, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue often carry the same sports networks you can watch via cable. There are also more sports-centric streaming options, including FuboTV and the new Australian service Kayo, that package multiple sports of varied interest for a single monthly fee.
For viewing sports at no additional cost, cable and satellite TV subscribers can sometimes use their provider's mobile app to view regular game broadcasts. It might require downloading the individual sports network's app, too, but entering your cable subscriber info can unlock games for viewing -- whether you're far from home or simply in another room in the house.
Viewing sports via online broadcast
Popular consumer and media services such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and YouTube have also entered the live sports broadcasting game, challenging the regular television networks for rights to stream live English Premier League and NFL soccer/football games, Major League Baseball contests, and more. And for the time being, many of these events are being offered free of charge or as part of the service's regular fee -- the companies simply want you to give you more reasons to visit and use their platforms!
While such online broadcasts are viewable using the services' dedicated apps, you can typically also watch them using a regular web browser like that on any Android device. In fact, this same ability to view via app or browser applies to most streaming sports options, including the more app-centric ones mentioned earlier. Just go to the network's or league's web site and log in like you would via an app.
What are the most popular apps for streaming live sports on my Android device?
It's impossible to list all the streaming sports options available to Android users today. Such a catalog would be out-of-date as soon as it's published. So, instead, we'll sort the primary options based on who's providing the stream.
League-based streaming sports options: Virtually every major sports league and conference in the world now offers its games via live stream. One advantage of a league-oriented stream is that you can generally watch every game played by your favorite teams, even if you live far from where such games are aired over regular channels.
Network-based streaming sports options: Sky Sports, TSN, ESPN, beIN Sports, NBCSN, Fox Sports, Golf Channel, Tennis Channel, and virtually every sports-oriented TV network offers its programming via online or app streaming. In many cases, if you get the channel on your paid cable or satellite TV subscription, you can view the networks' live streams, too.
Streaming sports from dedicated streaming services: As more people disconnect from regular cable and satellite services, dedicated sports streaming options are increasingly popular, allowing "cord cutters" to view content from multiple otherwise distinct sports networks and leagues. Streaming content aggregators such as Hulu and SlingTV offer lots of sports programming, and YouTube TV has an all-sports option. Newer streaming sports services such as Kayo in Australia promise wide line-ups of global-interest sports, with special split-views and other features they think will appeal to streamers.
How much do live sports streaming apps cost?
Every Android sports streaming app mentioned on this page is free of charge at the Google Play Store. The service providers sometimes offer free trials to watch their programming, after which you'll typically pay a subscription or per-event fee. Cable and satellite TV provider apps are different in that they often give you free access to the same channels (including sports) that you already pay to watch at home.
Remember that streaming live events -- which could last for hours -- will also consume a great volume of internet data throughput. If you're connected to free Wi-Fi, stream as much as you want. But if you're using your mobile data plan, be sure to keep an eye on how much of your allotment is being consumed.
Do I need Flash in order to watch games on my Android device?
Adobe Flash is no longer a requirement for most streaming video content, particularly when it's delivered via an Android app that's custom-built for the purpose. Flash might be required when viewing live events via a web browser, but even that is becoming less common, as YouTube and other providers switch to plugin-free video players based on HTML5.
Do I need a cable subscription for any of these streaming sports apps?
You don't absolutely need a cable subscription to access streaming sports content, but it can make doing so less expensive. As mentioned above, most games are available via live streams offered -- for a fee -- by the sponsoring leagues or the TV network with the programming rights. However, cable and satellite subscribers can often use their subscriptions to gain free streaming access to the networks and games carried on their respective plans (in other words, the channels and events they would normally be able to watch at home).
Which websites offer free live sports streaming?
It is increasingly difficult to find free live sports streaming, as programming providers and sports leagues get better at locking down and monetizing their streams. However, as mentioned, free sports streams are now available on a limited basis from non-traditional providers such as Facebook, and mainstream sports networks such as ESPN and Sky Sports will let you watch some events for free while keeping other, more popular contests behind their pay walls (browser or app). Other services and sites, such as Stream2Watch, Laola1, Bosscast, and others, promise extensive free sports streaming options, albeit with some limitations in programming and lots of visible advertising.
Can I stream sports through YouTube?
Yes, YouTube is now offering live sports streaming. Some events can be watched at no cost while others are available through the company's subscription-based YouTube TV offering.
Does streaming live sports drain my device's battery?
Streaming sports live does limit the life of your battery because it requires you to use your data connection plus the audio and video components of your Android device's hardware.
How can I extend my battery life to last the whole game?
To prolong the life of your battery, try dimming the screen and turning off any unnecessary features (e.g., Bluetooth). Make sure to have a power adapter on hand to juice up your battery when the need arises.
Can I do other things on my Android device while streaming a live game?
Depending on which app or website you choose, you may be able to use other capabilities, such as making or receiving a call or sending a text.
Why not take advantage of your Android device’s live sports streaming capabilities? To turn your Android into your own mini television screen and watch your hometown teams compete in real time, download one of the recommended Google Play apps, or visit one of the suggested websites.
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