Question re: watching Michigan football abroad

Submitted by Dan Man on March 18th, 2010 at 1:33 AM

I'm starting to plan my first ever trip to Europe - planning on going in September and spending time in London, Paris, Prague, and/or Madrid - and I'm concerned about missing a football game while I'm there. Can one find access to either the Big Ten Network or the major U.S. networks (for the Notre Dame game maybe) in Europe? Any suggestions as to how I can watch a game while there? Perhaps the internet will be my only option, but watching on TV would be preferable if possible.

Any advice is appreciated! I might not actually go if it would mean missing a game.

Go blue.

[EDIT: just checked back since I posted last night. Many thanks for all the advice!]

Comments

seattleblue

March 18th, 2010 at 2:37 AM ^

I would second the slingbox - if it is an option. If not, your best bet for college football in europe is North American Sports Network (NASN), but it's pretty bad. They typically will only televise 3-4 games/ week, so it's a bit of a crap shoot that they will show Michigan. That said, the two games you can usually rely on them showing are Notre Dame and Ohio State.

If you are in London, head to Sports Cafe (I don't recommend it under normal circumstances, but they show American sports) or Bodeans. If you are in Paris, Madrid, Prague - I would think your chances are doubtful.

HermosaBlue

March 18th, 2010 at 12:07 PM ^

I was living in London but scheduled to be in Seville, Spain the weekend of The Game. I called NASN to find out which games they were planning on broadcasting, to which they answered some ACC game (NASN has a deal with the ACC).

I proceeded to harangue my way up the chain of command until I spoke to the programming director, and explained that they really couldn't in good conscience call themselves the North American Sports Network if they weren't going to show the #1 vs #2 college football game. It took 2 weeks of phone calls from me and a small army of alumni friends in London, but we got them to pick up Michigan-OSU, which I watched in a sports bar in Seville with a few fellow alums.

It was their highest-rated college football broadcast ever.

Long story short: NASN has weak selection, but public pressure can sway their programming choices.

EDIT: I read below NASN is now ESPN America. Sounds like your chances are better. Also, as mentioned elsewhere, there are a host of sports bars in London that carry the games. Plus at least one in Seville.

metablue

March 18th, 2010 at 2:51 AM ^

If you are abroad, you can watch Big Ten Network games online. If I recall, it costs about $25 for a single game. The Quality is OK depending on your connection.

RioThaN

March 18th, 2010 at 3:11 AM ^

I've done this many times, there are options, you can try myp2pforum.eu but you have to install some software and the broadcast can be effy, you can pay justin.tv cheaper than b10network and you can see a lot more games, you can try ustream.tv there's a channel that broadcasted almost every game last year.

Wolverine In Exile

March 18th, 2010 at 8:15 AM ^

1) Slingbox. Set it up before you head over and you'll be able to watch whatever you want

2) The other Internet. Channelsurfing.net is the best compilation of links to watch games for free, but BTN games don't always make it on there, so just bite the bullet and pay the BTN overseas fee per game. Otherwise, you may want to just plan on listening to the free audio feed on mgoblue.com

Be aware, sports bars in Europe outside of touristy places in London have no concept of American football and will likely have shitloads of soccer on them without the possibility of changing the channel. Plus, there really aren't the team agnostic sports bars in Europe like there are in the States-- most bars that are "sports bars" are linked to a specific local soccer team and will be VERY partisan for that team. Since US college football games start at either at 6-7p or 9-10p in UK/Europe, you'll be competing with the end of soccer games in the local domestic league or the transition to full-out drinking / dancing.

My suggestion: pick your internet option above, and find a nice quiet neighborhood pub to sit down with your laptop in with headphones, or just plan on being in a hotel with free internet during the game as a rest period from touristy type actions.

MaizeandBlue14

March 18th, 2010 at 8:45 AM ^

I lived over in Asia for a year and never missed a game thanks to my slingbox. I hooked the box up at my mom's house in MI and woke up at ~3am to watch the games live. Also, if the slingbox is hooked up to a dvr you can record the games and watch at your convenience.

meechiganroses

March 18th, 2010 at 8:52 AM ^

Slingbox seems like the way to go. Just remember your IP address will be different. While in London and Paris, I was unable to watch any American websites online including ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN360. You could always try http://www.justin.tv/ and hope someone is streaming it.

Bama Wolverine

March 18th, 2010 at 8:56 AM ^

If you can get access to a military installation, AFN (Armed Forces Network carried alot of Michigan games during my various lenghty years of service in Europe. Have to deal also with time differences with games coming on alot during the weeeee hours of the morning or very late at night. BTW, bad time of year to travel, but you've gotta do what ya gotta do.

Blazefire

March 18th, 2010 at 9:13 AM ^

but only if I know you're willing to go far enough. This uh... endeavor will require more skill, more cunning, and more sacrifice than you have ever put forth.

I need to know, can you push a mother-to-be down 5 flights of stairs, just to delay your enemy a quarter second? Can you put a gun to a man's head, look into his pleading eyes, demand what you need and still pull the trigger? Can you will yourself to forget the names and faces of every one you've ever loved, just so they can't be used to manipulate you?

If not, then forget your dream, and forget you ever knew me. It will be better to suffer the lack of what you need than the hell that will rain down should you try to obtain it and fail.

If so, then we should discuss it some more. Come to the Dynasty Club on 8th at 9:04 PM exactly. Greet the guard on the left with a handshake, and the guard on the right with a bow. Say nothing. They will be waiting for you.

ChalmersE

March 18th, 2010 at 9:21 AM ^

I was in Prague for the opener last year and tried to find something other than a computer -- because I was on vacation and didn't want to drag it around -- and failed abysmally. I did follow the play-by-play on my Blackberry until half-time when a) I felt comfortable; and b) was very tired. (I had awakened at 5 that morning in Berlin -- remember Prague is 6 hours ahead of Ann Arbor, meaning that the game didn't start until 9:35 local time.)

LondonBlue

March 18th, 2010 at 11:13 AM ^

Your best bet is the internet through some combination of justin.tv, myp2p.eu, Veetle, SOPcast, ESPN 360 etc. Myp2p.eu has a reliable listing of locations close to game time.

ESPN America (the old NASN) broadcast 3 Michigan games last year - ND, Indiana and OSU. Eurosport had a Big Ten game of the week some weeks last year. They broadcast one Michigan game (MSU?). The game of the week is tape delayed by a few hours, edited to fit into 2 hours and has a moronic commentary dubbed over the live feed.

Through a combination of the above, I was able to watch all of the games though I had my fair share of frustrations with the feed being blocked, connection speeds, broadcaster switching channels etc.

You can rewatch games with torrents from MGoVideo or tenyardtorrents.

michelin

March 18th, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

I would not count on being able to find a TV with UM games.

Slingbox might be your best bet--I've never used it--but planning to view games on the internet may not be a slam dunk (or sling-dunk).

A few years ago, I tried to watch games on the net while I was in Berlin for a month (not too far from Prague). I had a terrible time connecting to wireless in my room, then had to go to the hotel lobby. Even then, I lost the connections at some critical times. The place I was staying was part of a well-known chain of luxury hotels in Germany, so I presume that the problem was not just neglect but that internet connection quality was not a big priority over there.

Maybe coverage is better now. My stay there was around the end of the time when ESPN was still providing UM coverage, but that coverage had been great at my home in the states.

Last year in Paris, the internet connections at my hotel seemed fine but I never tried to get a game there or in Madrid. I suspect that, depending on where you stay, you may find your digital expectations unmet, since many hotels still do not even have air conditioning.