Friday, May 15, 2009

Watching American and Canadian Sports in Korea

Here's the question:


I'm an American and a big sports fan. I've been in Seoul for almost two months and haven't been able to see any MLB or NBA games. I'm okay with keeping track of those through ESPN, but I really can't miss football seasons! Go Bills!!! Where can I go? Itaewon?

Kacie


Really? The Bills? Being a Bengals fan, my gut reaction is to make fun of you, but then again, I'm a Bengals fan.

Watching American sports is always a challenge in Korea. If you're a soccer fan and happen to British, then you're in luck. If you're like every other Korean and love Park Ji-Sung and therefore Manchester United, then you're really in luck. Korea Beat sums it up pretty well with their weekly Most Read Naver Articles. However, like so many American and Canadian expats, soccer just doesn't cut it. Sadly, there are not a lot of options for you.

I remember my first year. I was totally gung-ho for watching American football and baseball, but I soon realized that watching them was quite a challenge and sometimes not worth the effort. As I'm sure you know by now, you can catch a few games on some of the sports channels that are featured on basic cable, but unless you're watching Hines Ward or UFC, it won't be live. I can't tell you which channel they might be on as it is differs between regions, but I can at least give you a quick breakdown of a few. Remember, unless a team is or sport has some connection to Korea, these channels will rarely play American sports and in most cases there is no pattern to what they'll show.

Aside from that small and disappointing lineup, you can always try to find some bars that play games. From my experience though, most expat-frequented bars will play big games or they'll go to their backup of old hockey games. If you're in Itaewon, then all you'd need to do is ask the owners if they show any games or if they have satellite. Oftentimes, if the bar features American sports they'll be advertising it along with some drink or food special. I know that RMT really tries to show American/Canadian sports as seen in it's online viewing schedule. You could also check out Gekko's, Hooters and Big Rock. Hooters tries to play big games and Big Rock, like RMT, focuses on hockey.

So, your choices for public viewing are limited. However, you always have the internet. That's the best way to insure that you don't miss any big games. I don't need to list online viewing sites since a simple Google search will suffice, but I will add that if you are an American college sports fan, most of those sites won't work. You will need to go to your team or school's sports website and purchase a membership of sort. You might have to wake up at 3am for the game, but to a true sports fan, that's no problem.

I'd say just keep your eyes open and ears to the ground while you're out and you'll most likely discover a few solid places around town to catch the game.

If anybody has any questions, just send me an email at asktheexpat@yahoo.com or leave a comment.

4 comments:

ROK Drop said...

For watching NFL games in Korea a great option I used to do was to buy a subscription to all the NFL games on Yahoo Sports. It coast $250 for the full season or $20 a week.

On the military bases the sports bars there play the sports games that are broadcast on AFN. So if you have friends in the military that is another option for live viewing.

The Expat said...

I didn't realize that it was that expensive! I guess it's not that bad since you get to watch all NFL games.

I miss the days when Korean cable carried AFN.

Open Micah said...

I always used www.myp2p.eu. It has the most varietous and comprehensive live sports channels I've ever seen, by far. You might have to download some software, but it's all free.

I would also check out www.justin.tv. (The Myp2p site actually links to Justin a lot.) It's a live streaming television site where people from back home stream their TVs straight to their computers. It's kind of a youtube, of sorts. In my experience, it had the best college football programming.

samedi said...

I second the recommendation for www.myp2p.eu. They offer a very extensive list of events; I used them to follow French soccer matches, the Asian Champion's League, and some of the Beijing Olympics.