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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Foxtel basic package is $25 per month.
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…