Australia: The Place to Be to Watch the English Premier League

As football fans around the world will know, the English Premier League (EPL), sometimes also referred to as the Barclays Premier League (BPL) kicked off again a few weeks ago.

Last time I wrote about English Football on Australian Television was in 2009, so I am overdue an update. With the new season well underway, let’s do that now.

football safari

EPL in England and Australia

England is the spiritual home for football and obviously the home of the English Premier League. Before I talk about watching the EPL on Australian TV, here’s how it works on UK TV, as far as I understand it.

EPL on English TV

Match of the Day (MOTD)

MOTD is a highlight show on twice a week, MOTD is on Saturday evenings, and MOTD 2 is on Sundays. Each program shows highlights of all the days games, with studio experts chiming in between each game to offer their opinions.

It’s a great show, been running for 50 years now, and it’s on the BBC which is a free to view channel. The downside of the show is that the highlights are not very long, maybe 9 or 10 minutes per game.


The majority of EPL games kick off at 3 o’clock on a Saturday. Sky Sports are not allowed to show any of these games live at that time as it would affect the numbers actually turning up at the ground to watch their local teams playing live at the same time.

Live games

So Sky Sports can only show live games when they are not 3 o’clock kickoffs on a Saturday. 116 such games take place each season on Sky, kicking off at other times. For example 5:30 PM on Saturdays, 1 o’clock and 4 o’clock on Sundays and sometimes 8 o’clock in the evening on a Monday.

Full games

At 8 PM on a Saturday evening, Sky Sports shows Game of the Day, that’s when they show their selected match of the day in full.

game of the dayHighlights of games

Then at 10 PM each Saturday viewers can choose highlights of a game from anything up to 8 games by selecting it with the red button. They can then watch extended highlights of that selected game, I’m not absolutely certain, but I think 50 minutes worth of highlights.

Match ChoiceBT Sport

BT Sport have also purchased the rights to some games, 38 a year. So even if you purchase a Sky Sports package, you still won’t have access to all the live games available in the UK each season unless you also have a BT Sport package.

EPL on Australian TV

Update August 2016: Foxtel no longer have the rights to EPL, for more details visit:

Do be sure though to continue reading this post, if only to watch the video I have at the end; it’s well worth a watch.


In Australia you can only (officially) watch the English Premier League from one place, and that’s Foxtel, Australia’s equivalent of Sky.

Because Australia do not have the same restrictions about the 3 o’clock Saturday kickoffs, every single EPL game is broadcast live on the various Foxtel Sports channels, either directly or via red button selection.

Every single one.

On the downside, 3 o’clock on a Saturday in the UK translates as anything between 10 o’clock at night on Saturday to 2 o’clock in the morning on Sunday here in Australia, depending where you are and whether it’s summer or winter time.

But every game is repeated throughout the following days in 90 minute programs, so almost the full game, but not quite. Remember though, provided your game is NOT available only by a red button selection, you can record it when it goes out live and then watch it in full at a time that suits you.

Foxtel Sports also have highlight shows similar to MOTD, but without the studio experts chatter.

The benefits of this are obvious; here in Australia you can watch every single one of your favourite teams matches, that’s all 38 matches for the season, in full. You will miss nothing.

Costs: Sky versus Foxtel

Both companies operate in the same way, you can’t just buy the sports package, you have to buy the basic package first.


The Sky basic package is £20 per month.

sky originalIf you want to add the sports package, that is an additional £25.50 per month…

sky sportsSo £45.50 per month in all.


The Foxtel basic package is $25 per month.

Foxtel basicThe Foxtel sports package is also $25 per month.

Foxtel sportsSo $50 per month in all.

Other than that, both companies are offering the same kind of add-ons included in the deal. Both work on the ‘Go’ with apps available through iTunes and Google Play for iPads and Androids respectively.

Both prefer you to sign up for a minimum of 12 months, both give you the HD Box and both charge some kind of setup fee. I’m not sure if they do much in the UK, but Foxtel often have offers and as you can see from the above image regarding the packages, they are currently (at the time of writing) offering no setup costs and no lock-in contract.


Australia is definitely the place to be to watch the English Premier League. You can see every single game in full by staying up late to watch it live, or you can record the directly available games when they are live, or you can watch the very much extended highlights in the 90 minute show replays that take place throughout the following days.

Not only do you see more football, but you pay less. With the exchange rate around two Aussie dollars to the pound at the moment, Foxtel with the sports package is almost half the price of Sky with the Sky Sports package.

And here’s one final bonus. Here, in Australia, avoiding the score is not hard. I remember going shopping on Saturday afternoons in the UK, too scared to walk into an electrical shop because they would have TVs on with constant football updates.

Even walking through markets was dangerous, you might walk past the fruit and veg guy to hear him shout out to his pal “How’s West Ham doing ‘Arry?

Four nil down mate.”

And that could all happen before you had a chance to stick your fingers in your ears and start singing Jingle Bells.

Doesn’t happen here, no one talks about EPL, not on the news, not on TV, not on the radio. Watch the game when you’re ready, blissfully unaware of the score.

Let’s round this off with a video. This is David Webb in a mock advert bigging up the return of football on TV. Whether you love football or hate football, I’m sure you will find this sendup hilarious…

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Jeff Jones April 6, 2016, 11:23 am | Link

    I’m prepared to switch from Foxtel to Optus but we haven’t been told what the format is. I’m
    an Evertonian living in Melbourne and I usually record matches – not just Everton – and watch
    them next day. I’m looking for another subscription option similar to BeIN Sports, which I can
    watch on pay TV. ( I have BeIN on Foxtel, now). Is one available in Australia?

    • BobinOz April 6, 2016, 7:00 pm | Link

      I think quite a few of us football fans are waiting to see how Optus will deliver the EPL for the next three seasons, having secured the deal to take over from Foxtel. The latest news is that they will have a dedicated 24/7 EPL channel which can be accessed through Fetch TV, a PVR which, quite frankly, isn’t cheap.

      There are apparently also plans for a mini set top box, similar to Apple TV I think, no price on that yet but hopefully that would a cheaper option. They say they also have plans to release apps for iPhone and Android, so that might be the way to go for some of us. They are also promising to introduce Smart TV apps as well, which would be good. Of course, there will be a dedicated website as well.

      Whatever they do, every game will be covered live and also available on demand after the event. They haven’t mentioned how much subscriptions will be yet though. Optus will be the only authorised option of watching EPL in Australia.

      There is every chance they could actually offer a better service than Foxtel, after all, there won’t be any need to record anything, it will just be there. We all know how often recordings can go wrong on the IQ box. On the other hand, Optus may provide a worse service, we will just have to wait and see.

      I am optimistic.

  • Adrian March 17, 2016, 2:57 pm | Link

    Given im a Villa fan, ive long stopped staying up late watching us lose week after week. Writing off sunday sunshine for that dross is no longer worth it.

    But Australia definitely has the edge on the UK for the prem which is awesome. Any game on a saturday arvo UK time will be shown at the touch of the red button which is a dream. And hit the record button, i can get up early sunday and watch the game – obviously to continue with you avoidance of scores it is pretty hard to do so when you wake up to a flurry of texts and facebook wall posts about how bad your team is. But that said, Australia is fantastic to watch football. And back to a better time, before lock out laws and when villa were just poor, not pathetic, it was always a pleasure going out till the wee hours at Cheers bar, Sydney CBD to watch.

    • BobinOz March 17, 2016, 5:35 pm | Link

      I feel for you Adrian, Villa fans have had absolutely nothing to cheer all season, maybe they shouldn’t have been so quick to sack Tim Sherwood? Not sure it would have made much difference though.

      Not surprised you go to bed a little earlier at the weekends now.

      Yes, Australia is a good place to be to watch the English football, although we shall see what Optus do with it when they take over screening the rights next season. I hope they don’t screw up, because Foxtel have done a pretty good job of it over the years. We shall see.

      And yes, those stupid lockout laws…

      I suspect they have made watching late-night football in a sports bar a problem, I assume you are okay until 3 AM though as long as you’re in place at the bar before 1:30 AM?

      Or do they sometimes chuck you out halfway through a game?

  • Sara December 14, 2015, 1:54 am | Link

    This is brilliant news. We can keep up with the Cherries too. We have season tickets but this will be our final season here before moving.
    Thanks, Bob, for this website. It’s a big move and hearing about people who have made it and love it make this complicated process much easier!

    • BobinOz December 14, 2015, 7:37 pm | Link

      The Cherries have had a couple of fantastic results in the last two weeks, let’s hope they can keep it up. I always like to see the newcomers survive their first season in the Premier League.

      Good luck with your move, hope it goes well.

  • Raoul Duke September 2, 2015, 8:33 pm | Link

    You can also watch live champions league games whilst having your breakfast on a Wednesday and Thursday morning. Weird but true! However, nothing compares to watching my (now) beloved Brisbane Broncos. Getting to a State or Origin game at Suncorp is also a bucket list experience. Sport is just an Aussie way of life.

    • BobinOz September 3, 2015, 6:03 pm | Link

      Yes you can, but I much prefer to record them and watch it in the evening with a beer, I like to have a beer when watching football and beer for breakfast doesn’t work for me:-)

      State of Origin at the Suncorp, yes, I’d love to, but crikey it’s hard getting tickets.

  • djmcbell August 25, 2015, 5:42 pm | Link

    I must confess, I don’t really watch football at all – used to go to games with my dad at Bradford (who I believe somehow gave Chelsea a bit of an upset recently) but if there’s a game on, I may watch a bit from time to time.

    Kinda odd that Australia seems much better at showing Premier League football than the UK – the only problem is the time difference.

    My in-laws have Sky (we don’t, though you can get their channels through other services too like Virgin) and have had nothing but problems with it – if they could change to someone else they would instantly, but nobody else services their area.

    • BobinOz August 25, 2015, 7:18 pm | Link

      It’s the FA that make the rules, they are the ones that prevent 3 o’clock Saturday games being shown live on TV in the UK, but it’s okay them being live in Australia.

      I guess they realise that nobody living in Australia is likely to actually go to a live game in the UK 🙂

      Here, I should have mentioned, you can get Foxtel direct from Foxtel, or you can get Foxtel via Telstra, our major communication supplier. It’s the same service though, and prices are pretty much the same as well. I’ve never really had a problem with the Foxtel service from either and I have been with both.

      • djmcbell August 25, 2015, 7:32 pm | Link

        In my mind I do wonder if that would actually mean less people going to see live games – but then I guess the price isn’t too bad. Just had a look and you can get tickets for Man Utd games from £31 for an adult (that is the cheapest adult ticket for a single game though).

        • BobinOz August 26, 2015, 4:28 pm | Link

          Actually, I think their main concern is for the lower division clubs, the little teams in the third and fourth divisions or whatever they are called these days. As a football fan, would you still go and see Burton Albion play Macclesfield when you have the choice of watching Manchester United versus Chelsea live?

          That’s the problem.

          • djmcbell August 26, 2015, 6:04 pm | Link

            I would! If there’s the space in the ground you can get some excellent seats. Chances are it wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much (though as I said I didn’t find Man Utd tickets disagreeable, but those were the cheapest), and I always liked the atmosphere of going to smaller clubs anyway. Some of the smaller clubs can hold their own too, like Bradford (isn’t that right Chelsea fans?).

            Always used to enjoy going with my dad around Bradford city centre (before Westfield turned it into a giant hole – literally), then to the match, to the pub with a few friends and then out for a curry.

            • BobinOz August 28, 2015, 8:17 am | Link

              Haha, yes, just in case any of those Chelsea fans did forget.

  • Florian August 25, 2015, 4:48 pm | Link

    hey Bob, thanks for your tips and topics, I am from Spain I will soon get married and live over here in Brisbane, I have only been here for 4 weeks now, forst time ver in Aaussie land., do you happen to know the LA LIGA the soccer championship from Spain if is there any way, where I I could watch at least the most important games, somewhere on Aussie channels? Thank you very much! Much appreciated! I miss seeing Leo Messi…. 🙂

    • BobinOz August 25, 2015, 7:12 pm | Link

      Hi Florian

      It used to be on Setanta Sports, but they are no more, so I think it is now on beIN Sports Australia. If you Google it, I think you’ll find you can access it online for a monthly fee, or you can sign up for Foxtel and add it as an additional package.

      Hope that helps, Bob

  • Andy August 24, 2015, 11:05 pm | Link

    What a relief, call me sad, but my biggest fear about my impending move was not being able to follow my beloved Cherries. Now I can get excited.

    • BobinOz August 25, 2015, 6:36 pm | Link

      You won’t get called sad by me, I’m exactly the same, I wouldn’t want to be deprived of watching my team either. Bournemouth have got off to a good start in the Premier League, they were unlucky in their first two games, if I remember correctly Liverpool’s goal looked off-side and I think Bournemouth maybe had a goal disavowed that shouldn’t have? I seem to remember something like that happening.

      Anyway, it was good to see them get a great away victory against West Ham. Welcome to the top division Andy, I hope your team manages to stay in it.

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