Is paying for sports streaming platforms worth it when you can watch games for free?

CARLEEN LONEY/ The Concordian @shloneys

No matter which sports you’re a fan of, chances are you’ve probably had to (at least once) find some sketchy website and stream a game there — whether it’s due to regional blackouts, the price of streaming subscriptions, or maybe you’re just a casual sketchy-website user.

Who even has cable nowadays? We all watch our favourite shows on Netflix, Disney+, etc. Now let’s add sports streaming services, especially if you watch more than one or two sports, and that can add up to over $100 per month just for the equivalent of watching TV.

Let’s be realistic, why would you pay for it if you can access it for free?

It kind of makes sense not to.

If you follow one sport, then getting a subscription might be worth it, especially considering how easy these platforms make it to find games and how good the quality usually is. But even then, there will always be inaccessible games because of blackouts, which makes resorting to non-legit streams the only way to watch certain games. Another well-known bypass is to use a VPN to access other markets’ broadcasts, but that means spending even more money.

Saturday 3 p.m. blackouts in the U.K. make it so there are no soccer games being broadcast live on TV from 2:45 to 5:15 p.m.

So how are soccer fans supposed to watch these games? Well, they can find a way to watch international broadcasts instead.

However, there is more to sports games than just watching people chase a ball (or puck) and score points.

The cultural aspect of sports plays a big part in the fan experience, and a part of that experience is felt through commentary during games. That can include the language the broadcast is in, the location, and the commentators’ knowledge about the teams’ history and traditions.

All that can easily be lost when you are watching an international (or national) broadcast with people who aren’t used to those teams, and it almost makes the game lose its charm.

At the end of the day, there is a reason why those illegitimate websites exist and are so popular, particularly when subscription options decrease and prices increase.

The only way for people to consider legit streaming platforms exclusively would be reasonable prices and guaranteed access to all games. However, I doubt we’re getting there anytime soon. So in the meantime, do what you will with what you have.

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