- By Service
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At the top level, Italian soccer is immensely popular. Serie A, the top Italian league, ranks eighth by revenue among sports leagues worldwide; and half of the leagues above it are playing American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey. The highest placed soccer league is the English Premier League, which comes fourth with revenues of more than €6 billion; after them is the Spanish La Liga (€4.1 billion), the German Bundesliga (nearly €4 billion) and then, eighth among world sporting leagues, comes Serie A at nearly €2.3 billion.
If you’re in Turin where champions Juventus and Torino play, you may be able to get a ticket to watch the match in person. The same applies if you’re in Milan, Naples, Verona or any of the other cities with a Serie A team. And, if you can’t get a ticket, or aren’t in one of those places, you can watch on Italian television. But what if you’re not in Italy at all? You’re in another country, but you still want to watch Serie A soccer. Is there anything you can do?
Of course, there is. You can use a VPN. If you’re not familiar with VPNs, we’ll explain them in a moment, but, first, a word of caution.
A VPN is a handy addition to your computer for all sorts of reasons. There are many valuable and worthwhile things you can do with a VPN. Companies use them so that their employees who work off-site can access company files without the risk of exposing them to spies and hackers. A VPN can provide a private individual with valuable protection against those same spies and hackers. But VPNs can also be used for illegal, malicious or even immoral purposes. Everything in this post should be taken as intended to help only those with a genuine wish to see content that, for whatever reason, is geo-blocked in the country they are in. Serie A sells the rights to broadcast matches in various countries around the world to local broadcasters, and we intend to help you log on to one of those broadcasters and watch legally. This means, among other things, paying a subscription, if a subscription is called for.
Suppose you are on business (or on holiday) in the UAE, the United Arab Emirates, which includes Abu Dhabi (the capital), Dubai, Sharjah and four other emirates. Emiratis are crazy about football. If you’re staying in a hotel, it’s incredibly likely that one or more of the channels on the television in your room will be broadcasting European football. They’ll show the Bundesliga, La Liga, the Premier League, Serie A and maybe some others, (though you probably should not expect to see matches from the Welsh FA while you’re over there). And you will be able to watch them on the big screen free of charge, so you don’t need a VPN (though, if you’re working out there, or exchanging emails within a business context, we strongly recommend that you use a VPN to protect your privacy). But, if you don’t have access to something like this, you need a VPN.
VPN stands for virtual private network, and what it lets you do, is to appear to be both someone else and somewhere else. Every time you log on to the internet, you have an IP address (IP stands for Internet Protocol). The address may be your permanent IP address, used only by you, but more often, it will be dynamically allocated to you at the moment you log on. No matter however you get it, you can’t send anything or receive anything without one, because the internet simply won’t know where you are. The problem with IP addresses is that everyone who wants to see yours and knows how can do so. You visit a website, and the site has your IP address. It knows who you are and where you are, and it logs that information. (If you’ve ever wondered why a site you have just logged onto tells you about something that’s happening just down the road from you when you haven’t said a word about where you are; now you know). What a VPN does, is to give you another IP address, so that people think you’re someone else and somewhere else. (You tell the VPN which server you want to connect to in what country, and you will have the same IP address as everyone else connected to that server, making it even more challenging (impossible, in fact) for anyone to identify you. So now you’re not in Sharjah or New Zealand, or wherever your physical body is; you’re in the country that houses the server you’re logged on to.
You should select your VPN according to several criteria, one of which is how many servers they have, in how many countries. You want to be sure that you are going to be able to connect to a server in a country which can give you what you want; in this case, access to Serie A matches on one of that country’s television networks. What you’re going to do is connect to one of those networks without a satellite or cable subscription. Note, though, that you should be paying a subscription to watch this match. You log on, and the network thinks you are in the right country because that’s where your IP address tells it you are. You give some details, and you pay your subscription. Then, it should open up, and you should be able to watch the match or matches of your choice.
There are lots of them. ESPN, NBC, or beIN Sports (if you’re not familiar with that one, it’s part of the beIN Media Group based in Qatar in the Arabian Gulf). You can get access to all of those through Sling TV, an American website. The excellent news about Sling is that they’ll give you a seven-day trial free of charge! They have a rule which says they are only available to subscribers in America, but that’s the whole point of a VPN. You’ve logged on to a server in America, and that’s where the television network thinks you are.
You can also use Eleven Sports in Belgium, BT Sport in the UK, Sky Sport in a great many countries, SonySix in India or, indeed, beIN Sport in the Gulf. The list does not stop there.
There are many VPN providers around the world. Some of them are very good indeed. Some aren’t. Here are some you can look at with confidence.
They are based in Panama, their servers are in more than sixty countries, their service is reliable and stable, and it’s also astonishingly fast. And that matters, because a soccer match takes a great deal of bandwidth, and if it’s at all slow in reaching you, you’re going to get that dreadful patchy, stop and start picture which will make you wish you’d gone out for a walk, instead of staying in to watch soccer. There’s no free trial, but there is a question-free thirty-day money-back guarantee.
It’s cheap, it’s good, and it’s fast. Is there a drawback? Well, yes, for certain purposes there is; it doesn’t have all the facilities which some other VPNs have. But that doesn’t matter, because you don’t need those facilities to stream soccer. It’s effortless to set up and use, so if you’ve never used a VPN before, this might be a perfect place to start.
It’s in Sweden, and the Swedes understand privacy and security, as well as anyone in the world. It’s swift, it has servers in all the right countries for watching European soccer, (and not just the Italian version), and it, too, has a thirty-day money-back guarantee.