How To Watch The 2011 Grand Finals From Anywhere

Can you watch the AFL Grand Final in HD? Can you catch the NRL Grand Final from overseas? From free-to-air to internet, here are the options (such as they are) for catching the sporting action this weekend.

Picture by Dale Gillard

Assuming you're not trying to fake conversation about the impending finals, chances are you'll be one of the several million Australians who watch one or both of the main matches this weekend. What are your options?

What most people will watch: TV broadcasts

In the eastern states, Ten begins its AFL grand final broadcast from 1330 on Saturday. That equates to 1300 in South Australia and 1130 in WA.

Nine kicks off its main NRL grand final broadcast from 1630 Sunday in the eastern states. That equates to 1530 in Queensland (because it doesn't have daylight saving, which kicks in on Sunday), 1600 in South Australia, and 1330 in Western Australia.

What you can't watch: live HD broadcasts

Both grand finals are on the anti-siphoning list, which means the networks are obliged to show them on their standard networks to ensure everyone can see them even if they don't have digital. There's no legislation stopping the networks from also showing them on their existing HD digital networks (Gem for Nine, ONE for Ten), but neither channel is doing so. Ten's reason is that it is showing MotoGP, which is contracted to appear on ONE; Nine apparently believes that more people will want to watch 1968 musical Funny Girl than an HD sports match. Yes, really. (For the record, Lifehacker's editor would prefer to watch Funny Girl, but I still think that's an amazingly short-sighted decision.)

There will be HD replays of both matches on FOX Sports for Fox HD subscribers (1800 AEST on Saturday for the AFL, and 1900 on Sunday for the NRL), plus a replay the AFL Grand Final on ONE at 2130 AEST on Saturday, but as far as live transmission goes? You're out of luck, and it's a fair guess the same thing will happen in 2012. (By 2013, when digital TV has rolled out nationwide, the rules will be somewhat different.)

International networks and options

The AFL had a list of its international broadcast partners on its site and a specific guide for the Grand Final, which should help you hunt down providers around the world. There's a similar list for the NRL as well.

Virtually all of these are pay TV providers. Presuming you don't have a subscription, the official AFL site has a overseas party finder to help you locate bars or other venues that will be showing the match.

Online options

Both the AFL and NRL offer an official live streaming service via the LiveAFL.TV and LiveNRL.TVsites, but you'll have to pay for it (either $US13.95 or $US14.95 a month, depending on where you live). Note the service is designed for expats and is only available overseas.

There's nothing official and free that we're aware of for viewing purposes. However, there are plenty of radio stations covering both matches, most of which have online streaming which isn't geoblocked, so listening should be easier. (You can find a list of the AFL's radio partners here and for the NRL here). There will undoubtedly be plenty of comments on Twitter if you want to track the progress of the game that way.

Know additional sources we haven't mentioned? Share them in the comments, and we'll update this post with useful finds.


Comments

    I'm SO disappointed about the lack of HD broadcast - the Channel 10 HD footy was some of the best quality HD broadcasts on TV for quite a while - until they stopped doing it. They should be torn a new one for using SD for such a major event - wasn't this the WHOLE POINT of One HD???!!!! HD sport?

      Which is what OneHD are doing, live HD MotoGP whist the AFL GF is on... personally rather watch get Casey on pole instead of the pies winning

        That's a bit of an embarrasing prediction now. =)

    What about pay options? I think I saw an add on foxtel for addless broadcasts, do they have HD as well?

      ...I hear reading the article helps.

    Do you know how you can watch the rugby world cup matches overseas? i'm going to miss the finals otherwise

      Hey Kyle, you can watch the Rugby World Cup streaming online at http://www.itv.com/rugbyworldcup/

      I'm not sure if you have to be in the UK though... It's all free and legit. Now why doesn't someone do this for the NRL?

    I had planned to stream PS3's PlayTV to my PSP remotely for the AFL GF. Dusted off the old handheld this week only to discover it was dead as a doorstop and refused to recharge. Absolutely devastated.

    im glad foxtel has every game next year. channel 7 and 10 have ruined AFL this year showing it in mostly SD. Whats the point of all these big tvs and digital channels when my old clunky crt would have been the same quality

    No HD is an absolute joke. The TV stations should be ashamed!!

    I can't wait until channel 9 lose their broadcast rights of the NRL. Lying scum!

      Considering NRL is still in the midst of renegotiating its broadcast deal, you'd have thought Gingell would have been all over trying to keep Gallop and co happy.

      Unfortunately though, with the way ratings are currently sit up, anti-siphoning dictates the game has to be shown on their first tier channel, and to simulcast on GEM would mean splitting the viewer rating (i.e. they're considered separate broadcasts).

      Unfortunately, the current rules and attitudes of network executives aren't really conducive for delivering a high standard of TV broadcast.

    Very sad I'll be at a wedding on grand final day :(

    Gus obviously can't put this in the article, but http://vurund.net usually has most NRL and AFL games available for streaming cost free - I can't imagine the grand finals wouldn't be included.

    That said, the quality is all over the shop, so opting for LiveAFL/NRL.TV is probably a better option if it's available.

      NRL grand final will be streamed here http://www.kiwisportz.eu/schedule.html in hd using the veetle codedc - hd quality, great stuff

    Send a strong message to Channel Ten that AFL fans want a live HD broadcast of the 2011 AFL Grand Final by liking this Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GiveMeAFLGFinHD

    Don't care. Hawthorn didn't win. The season is over.

    Goodnight.

    For anyone in New York, add to this foursquare list!

    https://foursquare.com/nickburton/list/afl-grand-final-in-nyc

    Unfortunately "anywhere" doesn't count being 11km up in the air, on a plane :-(.

    While I can handle it being SD, the NRL grand final looked atrocious. It looked like it was badly compressed for internet streaming. It was so bad the on field advertising was barely legible.

    If that's the best channel 9 can do, they need to lose their contract.

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